By the time Sunset had reached a point in the conversation that she could described as 'finished' between her and Celestia, a large portion of the day had come and gone. Sunset had been fairly impressed with the fact that this Celestia had listened to her story and tried to make out the facts from it. There were a lot of times when she was skeptical about Sunset's story, but the more Sunset explained in detail, the more the only explanation seemed to be that she really had come from another world.
“Honestly Sunset, your entire story is going to take some time to really sink in.” Celestia explained, stirring a cup of fresh coffee that she had made herself as their conversation about Sunset's past neared an end. “I'm still not entirely certain if I believe all of it too, I feel like you're still hiding details about it.”
“I've told you everything you need to know though.” Sunset rolled her eyes again, “I'm stuck here in this world and the only things I came with are the clothes on my back and the backpack full of things I brought.” She explained pointing at the open bag on the floor near the couch. Once Sunset had shown Celestia the books and the bits she had brought over from Equestria, it had become even harder for the educator to deny her story.
Of course, Sunset had been neglecting to mention that she had been banished from the castle and might as well be banished from Equestria at that point, but she had explained enough that she was trapped here because of a magical portal and that was that.
“Regardless of the circumstances though, you've made it quite clear that you are going to be stuck here for quite some time. Years, in fact. And if you are going to be stuck here, then I feel it is my duty to help you have a normal life in this world, and get the education you deserve.” Celestia nodded before taking a sip of her coffee.
“Good, I'm glad we're at least on the same page here.” Sunset said with a grin. It had been surprisingly easy to get on this Celestia's good side. Princess Celestia always seemed to see through her smooth talking ways, but Principal Celestia seemed a bit more dense to her tactics. She was going to take advantage of that where she could.
Just then, the sound of garage door opening could be heard. Celestia looked surprised.
“Oh, that must be Luna. I completely lost track of time, she must've been blowing up my phone for a while now.” Celestia said, pulling out her cell phone and realizing she still had it in school mode, so no vibration or calls had caught her attention.
“Who is Luna and why would she be rigging something of yours to explode repeatedly?” Sunset asked a little confused, and now wary of whoever she was about to meet. She wasn't certain if she was ready to deal with a demolitions expert without her magic just yet.
"It's a figure of speech, I'll explain later.” Celestia sighed, putting her phone away as the garage door opened.
“Sister are you home?” A loud voice boomed out, making Sunset jump in her seat.
“Yup, she's definitely mad.” Celestia sighed, rubbing her forehead in exasperation.
Loud thumping footsteps came down the hall before a person walked into sight, Sunset instantly recognized the strange woman from the pictures around Celestia's house. The woman named Luna had her eyes first fall upon the Principal who had been home shirking her responsibilities at school. “There you are Celestia! I swear, is this where you've been this whole time? You could've given me more details than just “Something came up”, what are-”
Luna stopped walking once she finally noticed that Celestia wasn't alone on the couch. Her vision turned to the red and yellow haired child that joined her on the couch. Sunset awkwardly smiled and waved to the stranger.
“Good god 'Tia, don't tell me I need to call Chris Hayson on you.” Luna stepped back, looking repulsed at the fellow adult.
“Oh don't be sick Lulu.” Celestia yelled, standing up and stamping her foot down. “You know better than anyone that I take my job as an educator far too seriously to even find humor like that funny.”
Lulu? Tia? Cute nicknames? Sunset had no idea what she just heard, no one had ever referred to Princess Celestia in such a manner. Tartarus, she doubted there really would be anyone in either world that would refer to a Principal in such a manner either.
Sunset's eyes shot wide open as she looked at Luna's huffed face before looking back to Celestia's more genuine anger, but subdued as if she was angry at a...
Oh sweet Celestia, Luna was Celestia's lover in this world wasn't she. The thought put a blush on Sunset's face and she had to look away. She'd heard rumors of her fellow classmates having a crush on the Princess for her beauty, colt and filly alike, but she had never even thought of her mentor in anyway like that. Seeing her with someone in a romantic sense just felt so wrong on so many levels!
“Well then, tell me sister, if it's not what it looks like, tell me why you skipped an entire day of school to spend the day with a student!” Luna pointed to Sunset.
...Sister? Sunset's face returned to a neutral stare as she felt incredibly silly for the way she was thinking just a moment ago. She was glad she hadn't made it awkward by blurting out one of those ideas out loud. Though... Wait.
Celestia has a sister?!
“I found her sleeping on school grounds this morning.” Celestia explained exasperated, crossing her arms in frustration. “When I asked her what she was doing there, she didn't give me a clear answer before explaining to me she wanted to enroll at CHS. I took her to my office so she could explain what was going on. She then told me she had no home, no family, no place to live, no history what-so-ever, and hadn't eaten in possibly 24 hours. Trying to get her to tell me everything, I went to get her some breakfast, but well...” Celestia looked at Sunset, before sighing again, “She's told me a pretty incredible story and it's honestly hard to believe, but I get the feeling she isn't lying to me about it. So I brought her home to give her a properly home cooked meal and so she could be comfortable telling me everything.”
“Ugh... Tia...” Luna groaned, bringing her hand up to face and rubbing her eyes, “Why didn't you just call CPS and have them take care of this? If they catch you taking care of an abandoned, abused child, you know what kind of hell that could cause for you and your job.”
“At this moment in time, CPS isn't the right answer for the situation Lulu. You should know that better than anyone.” Celestia shook her head, understanding where Luna was coming from. “You know how seriously I take my job as an educator and protector of my students. If I felt CPS was the right solution for this situation I would've called them already. But... Maybe you should talk with her, see what I mean.” Celestia advised, waving Luna towards Sunset.
Luna let out a defeated sigh and walked past Celestia, kneeling down next to the couch to look Sunset in the eyes. Sunset recoiled a little, unsettled with the way Luna was staring at her like that. Celestia definitely got the motherly mannerisms end of the stick between the two sisters, Luna felt almost cold in her approach.
“Tell me first, what is your name.” Luna demanded first.
“It's Sunset Shimmer.” Sunset replied. She felt like she was being interrogated now, it was a completely different feeling than the one Celestia had given off while they talked.
“Very well Sunset Shimmer, you seem to have my sister convinced that handing you over to the proper authorities is not the right solution. However, you might find me not so agreeable. Tell me in your own words why I shouldn't do that right now.” Luna demanded, cutting straight to the point.
“Geeze, don't beat around the bush much...” Sunset grumbled, closing her eyes and taking a quicky breathe, before looking into Luna's eyes and staring down the beast. “It's as Celestia said. I have no home, I have no family, I have no previous life here. If you tried to look up documents for me, you wouldn't find them. I wasn't born in this world, so no matter where I went here I wouldn't be welcomed there. Canterlot High is the place closest to where I was born, and the place I need to be if I ever stand a chance of going back home.” Sunset's gaze turned more into a glare, “Is that enough for you or do I need to prove what I'm telling you is the truth.”
Luna just glared back, not liking the child's attitude with her. Though she couldn't help but get the nagging feeling that if what Sunset said was true, that it would only be a bigger headache for everyone involved to get CPS involved in this.
“Do you see what I mean Luna?” Celestia asked with a sigh, shaking her head. “You remember what you went through don't you? Sometimes getting help is the right answer, sometimes it's not. It may be a risk, but I want to help Sunset find a place to call her own here, in any way I can help.”
Luna stood up, sighing herself. “I do not like it Tia. Something doesn't feel right about this girl.”
“Wow, I'm right here.” Sunset grumbled under her breathe, if Luna heard her she didn't react to it.
“Regardless of if her story is true or not, this is a big responsibility you are taking on that could come at great personal risk to yourself.” Luna placed a hand to her chest, looking mournful. “I have not forgotten what I ended up putting you through, and that guilt is also why I don't want to see you get hurt for having such a generous heart. Not everyone is worth saving.”
“Not everyone may be, but I like to think I can tell when someone is worth saving.” Celestia smiled, placing a comforting hand on Luna's shoulder. Luna turned to her and smiled back.
Sunset was definitely missing a larger story here.
“Very well. For the time being I will allow this, and I shall help in anyway that I can.” Luna said, nodding her head and turning to Sunset Shimmer. “However, do keep in mind Sunset, that should you cause any trouble for my sister, it will be your head on the line for it.”
“Threats?” Sunset scoffed, “Yeah, okay. I don't think you should worry though. The last thing I'm interested in is getting into the kind of trouble that'll get me locked away. I'm not a monster.” Besides, manipulating people into giving you what you want wasn't a crime, even back in Equestria. She only needed to stay here long enough to amass her power anyway, then she could go back to Equestria and forget all about this stupid world.
“Hmph.” Was all Luna had to say in response. She sharply turned around and stormed off deeper into the house until both Sunset and Celestia winced at hearing a door slam shut.
“That certainly went better than I expected.” Celestia said with a bit of relief, “It was probably for the best that you didn't mention the unicorn pony thing to her.”
“She was giving me that look like, 'Give me an excuse to toss you out'. She probably would've thrown me into a mental hospital for saying that.” Sunset rolled her eyes as she leaned back into the couch.
“Luna can be a very strong willed at times, but she's honestly a very sweet and caring person once you get to know her. She's aggressive because she's protective of me, and doesn't want to see me hurt.” Celestia explained, sitting back down on the couch.
“Yeah, what was up with that?” Sunset asked, looking back towards the hallway Luna had stormed down, “What exactly did she do before that warranted that reaction?”
“I won't give you all the details, I don't like remembering those days, but I'll give you the summary.” Celestia explained, shaking her head, “Luna used to be a delinquent. She didn't pick the best of 'friends' to hang out with, and got into a lot of serious trouble for a while. It got to the point where I couldn't stand to see her like that anymore, and I ended up confronting her about it myself. I told her that if things didn't change I was going to get the authorities involved.” Celestia's tone was sorrowful as she recalled the painful memory from her past.
“She resented me for that, but she didn't break communication with me. Instead, she ended up telling her 'friends' about what I had said to her. So when I was ready to stop my sister's self-destructive behavior by getting someone else involved, her 'friends' ended up attacking me and severely injuring me.” Celestia's hand reflexively moved to her abdomen, clutching it in memory. “Luna may have resented me, but she never wanted me killed. In the end, she went to the authorities herself and managed to sign a plea agreement that no criminal charges would be filed on her, in exchange for getting all of her 'friends' taken down instead.”
“Luna still beats herself about it to this day. I'd appreciate it if you didn't bring it up to her. Though, chances are if you did she wouldn't hesitate to kick you out.” Celestia tried to chuckle that last bit off as a joke, though the intent failed miserably.
Sunset pursed her lips at the information. Black mail on Luna was likely out of the question, Celestia was right on that part, she was not a woman to be trifled with. However, if she truly had such a past, then it was possible that she could still be useful for getting some things that perhaps even Celestia couldn't get. There were merits to having ties to the darker side of society, even if you didn't pull those strings often.
Still, something was bugging Sunset about all this. While it was true that Principal Celestia and Luna were the only two humans she had met so far, if Celestia was any indication, then duplicate versions of ponies from Equestria lived in this world as well. And if that was true, who exactly was Luna to Celestia?
They called each other sisters, but Princess Celestia had no direct family in Equestria. She certainly had far distant relatives, but they were so far removed from her actual bloodline that they were merely relatives by title. It made no sense to her.
“But, enough about sad topics from everyone for today.” Celestia said, standing up from the couch with a smile, breaking Sunset out of her thoughts. “We only had a light lunch and it's almost dinner time, so I'll get to work on that. But first, you should get settled into your room.”
“...My room?” Sunset asked with an eyebrow raised.
“We have a guest room set up in case relatives wish to visit. It doesn't happen often, but we like to be prepared. For the current moment in time though, you are our guest while we get this all sorted out. Follow me.” Celestia waved, walking down the hallway Luna had just moments ago stormed down. Hoping not to encounter the other adult until she'd at least calmed down, Sunset grabbed her backpack and carefully followed behind Celestia.
The hallway split two ways with the bathroom in the middle. One side had a door closed shut, the way Sunset assumed Luna had went, and the other with a slightly open door that clearly hosted a guest bedroom.
“As long as you're here, feel free to make yourself at home.” Celestia smiled, opening the door up so Sunset could walk in. It was a quaint little room, certainly nothing spectacular. There was a single bed, all made up with blue sheet, a bookshelf filled with what she could only guess as this world's generic reading material, a desk with a lamp and chair and some writing utensils with notebooks, a closet that for the moment contained no clothes, and a hamper for dirty clothes.
“Cozy.” Sunset commented, placing her backpack down near the bed and sitting down on it to test it's suitability. It gave way and had a light spring to it, but it was certainly no royal bed of Canterlot Castle like she was used to.
“You can get settled in here, or you can watch TV in the living room. The bathroom is right there, and if you need anything I'll be within ear shot.” Celestia smiled as she explained, “And I'll make something vegetarian for dinner tonight for you.” With that, Celestia turned and headed back into the kitchen, leaving Sunset alone in the room.
Even though she had been given verbal confirmation that this was her place to stay for the moment, the room felt more alien than anything else she'd felt while in this world so far. She figured that would probably be the case if she had to spend the night in any guest room, but there was something genuinely discomforting about this.
The room felt like a prison, not a bedroom. She felt afraid to wrinkle the bed sheets, let alone sleep under them. She could sit at the desk, but the notebooks were clearly not placed there for her. This was just a generic bedroom that was meant for anyone. And as a result, meant it was for no-one.
Shaking her head and scowling at herself for being such a coward, she reached into her bag for her books to give her some sort of comfort zone to build up in this room.
With her hand inside, she felt something buzz, something she hadn't felt in a while. Gripping her hand around the brown book, she pulled out her journal and looked at it curiously.
“This thing still works on this side?” She mumbled to herself, staring at the only connection she had left to Princess Celestia. If it was buzzing, that meant Celestia had written something inside for her to read. The idea made Sunset want to both laugh and rage. She had been the one to ostracize her in the first place, but now she had the gall to write to her?
Curiosity got the better of her in the end, and she flipped the book open to where she had left off to read whatever patronizing message Celestia had just written her.
“Sunset, the guards have informed me that your journal was packed with your belongings. I do not know if this message will reach you from that side of the mirror, but should you ever need to, you can contact me at any time. -Your Mentor, Princess Celestia.”
Sunset had heard a lot of sick jokes that day, at least one of them having made her actually vomit already. But none of them drilled a hammer into her nerves like those two sentences in the book did.
She slammed the journal shut and slammed it back into her backpack.
Princess Celestia had been the one to toss her out. Princess Celestia had been the one to banish her. Princess Celestia had been the one that did this to her. Everything that was happening to her right now was Celestia's fault. And she had the nerve, neigh, the outright insult to even dare suggest that everything could be fine between them.
Princess Celestia could die for all she cared. The Princess had never cared about her, she had never truly given her the proper time of day, nothing about what they had done together meant anything anymore. The Princess had never seen her as anything more than some colossal joke.
There was a time when Sunset thought she could have even looked up to the Princess as more than just a mentor, that perhaps their bond had been deeper than some stupid title like Princess and Protege. But if yesterday, a day that felt so much farther away than it actually was, was proof of anything, she had been the naive one to think the Princess cared about her as anything more than a joke.
She was nobodies fool.
Sunset buried her head into the bed's pillow and screamed as the tears streamed down her face.
She had trusted Princess Celestia with everything. She had no family to go to in Canterlot, she had no friends back in Equestria, there was nothing for her outside of Canterlot Castle.
And Celestia had been the one who broke that bond. Not her. Not Sunset Shimmer, the unicorn who worked harder and strived to be better than everyone else.
And even that was gone from her now.
She laid there sobbing, unaware of the blue woman who quietly watched her from the doorway.