by Muramasa

The One and Only Sunset Shimmer

The first visit was going to be the hardest, I knew. However, with Twilight sleeping for entire days on end, I had absolutely no other present engagements in Equestria, so if I was going to do it, well, it'd be now. And so I did; I had stepped into the portal, and I had returned to that old establishment called Canterlot High.

It was interesting to see it again, knowing that I wouldn't be staying. School was still in session at the moment, but it would be over very soon, I knew. For now, there weren't many people walking out of the place, except for those who were leaving a period early for virtual classes; despite being completely out in the open after many days away from the school, not one of those students came to talk to me. I didn't particularly care, of course, but it was an interesting phenomenon. At the moment, I was sitting on a bench by the school, idly swinging my legs in wait for the bell; the longer I stared at them, the more an unpleasant thought came back to me.

These boots aren't tacky...are they? I thought as I continued to swing them. It was funny, actually; out all the things Discord had talked about, the one comment about my human boots being tacky may have been the one to bother me the most. While the boots may have been tacky (I still really didn't think they were), my sunglasses were able to go through the portal, meaning that I was now wearing a wicked pair of shades that would inevitably cancel out the boots. I chuckled at the thought, and as soon as my laughter died down, the bell rang. With glee, I hopped up from the bench and entered the school, ready for the traffic of teenagers coming out.

There were a few passing comments as I made my way back into the school, bustling through the crowd. Nothing huge though, mostly consisting of "Sunset?" and "Hey, I thought you graduated!" and stuff of the like. I didn't answer any of them, though, knowing that I wouldn't be around tomorrow, so I kept walking towards a very specific destination; the band room.

It was their hangout destination after school, and it always had been. Back when I was in the band, we would usually play for about an hour and a half, although we occasionally didn't feel like it and did something else. I knew for a fact that they still hung out there after school, and I specifically told them that whenever I came back, that would be where I'd meet them. I was very excited for the surprise, more than anything, and as I got to the band room door, I was already smiling.

I heard some instruments inside, clearly hearing Applejack warming up on the bass. She was easily the most talented player out of the whole group, being very good at the guitar and banjo as well, and she knew it, too; I had gotten into many arguments with her regarding how loud she turned herself up, because she wanted to be heard more than was practical for the sound of the band, subconsciously trying to show off. Of course, when I opened the door, I made sure to remind her of it once again.

"You're still too loud, AJ," I said as I entered the room. Everyone stopped dead upon seeing me, and I held out my arms to signal for the group hug; I was not disappointed.

"SUNSET!" they all screamed as they rushed towards me. They did, indeed, pounce upon me, and we stayed in the group hug for a considerable amount of time before breaking. I had heard that the Rainbooms once again became a six-piece, with this world's Twilight Sparkle (dubbed "Sci-Twi", apparently; it's a badass nickname, that was for sure) joining the band. As a result, all six of them were at practice, which meant that all of them were ready to talk all at once, at a rapid fire pace.

"How is home? Is it good to be back?" asked Pinkie.

"Did my pony counterpart get awesomer when you came back?" asked Rainbow.

"You said I was a fashion designer, right? Who are my clients?" asked Rarity.

"I am not too loud!" Applejack said angrily, though there was a smile on her face.

"Umm...hi," said Fluttershy.

"So, how's the super important Princess me?" asked Twilight. I held up my hands, signaling that it was just a bit too much, and I began to systematically answer all of the questions I had heard in the last five seconds.

"Home is fantastic, and I'm beyond glad to live in Equestria again, Pinkie. I haven't really talked to Rainbow, but from my understanding, yes, she's still pretty awesome. Yes, Applejack, you are still too loud; you need to lower the volume by one, I'm telling you, especially because those Fender Amps are pretty loud. Hi, Fluttershy! Rarity, you've got a professional athlete who plays the equivalent to football back in that world; her name is Jennet Galloway. Twilight--" I was quickly interrupted by Rainbow.

"Wait wait wait, Jennet is a professional football player? No way! She'd get a real kick outta that," Rainbow said. I recoiled in surprise.

"You know Jennet?" I asked. To my further surprise, everyone in the room nodded.

"The whole school knows who she is! She just made a bet with the captain of the football team, Steel Heart, that she'd make the team at tryouts tomorrow. Nopony believes her, but I actually think she could get on as a backup; our receiving core is terrible," said Rainbow. At those words, I shook my head.

"If she's anything like her Equestrian counterpart, she'll start." I turned to the human Twilight.

"So I hear they're calling you "Sci-Twi" now?" I asked her. She rolled her eyes and gave a long sigh, which conveyed to me that she wasn't too big of a fan.

"Yes, that is what they're calling me. I hate it, but I have a vague feeling I'm not gonna be able to do anything about it, so I've given up on being mad at it. So anyways, how's Twilight? The other one, I mean," she said. I dropped the smile, which also took away the light-hearted atmosphere from the room completely, much faster than I had anticipated.

"Twilight had a little accident, but she's recovering from it now, so she couldn't make it, unfortunately. I'll talk to you later about that, Sci-Twi, but for right now, I have a ton of human money left over and nothing to do with it, so who wants to go out to eat? Obviously, I'll buy," I said. The group's universal beaming smiled returned to their faces, and they eagerly nodded. I motioned them to turn off the amps and hang up the instruments. I made my way towards the door, but before I opened it, I turned back to the group.

"Oh, and who's car are we taking? Because I no longer own one."

* * * * * *

I, much like the Twilight from my world, was not a particularly fancy eater. No, like the Twilight from my world, I liked the old fashioned burger joints despite the fact that I didn't eat meat, and so the restaurant I had chosen for the reunion with my human friends was none other than the very diner where I had first told my Twilight that I wanted to come home; a very simple 50's style diner called the 4th Street Grill, as it could be found, coincidentally, on 4th Street.

The scene laid out before me was eerily reminiscent of Applejack's party just a few days prior, but it obviously didn't have as many people at the table. Our food had already arrived, and so everyone was just beginning to dig in to their meals, which generally consisted of a cheeseburger and French Fries; I, the vegetarian of the group, was the only one that didn't order one.

I had arranged it so the there were six on each side of the table with a seat at the head of it, which I had gladly taken. I had Sci-Twi to my left and Applejack to my right; Pinkie and Rainbow completed AJ's side, while Rarity and Fluttershy completed Sci-Twi's.

"So, what is it about the Twilight in Equestria? You said you wanted to elaborate on it," said Sci-Twi as she took another bite of her burger. I nodded.

"She used up her magical pool, and wasn't getting enough sleep to regenerate it. She'll be fine. I just thought you might like to know because Equestria interests you so much, and well, she is your counterpart. By the way, if there's anything else you like to know about Equestria, I'm open to answering anything you may ask me," I said. That certainly got Sci-Twi's attention; she must have been expecting the question, because she fired it off immediately.

"Are you the only sentient race in Equestria?" she asked. I was impressed; that was a fantastic first question.

"Not in the slightest. Let me tell you about a different race we have back home; the griffons. Yes, they're very much like the mythological creatures of Ancient Greece, but like ponies, they are sentient. They're a very proud race, and they differ from us in many ways; they are typically more aggressive, much like humans, and they are rather untrustworthy. Not xenophobic, mind you, but untrustworthy. if they make a deal or a promise to a particular individual, they will only honor that promise with that particular individual, and not anyone else; it is their custom. They're like us, being a monarchy, but they have a king or queen ruling by themselves; there is never a king and a queen at the same time. The husband or wife of the current monarch is referred to as the socius, or partner. Where as Equestrian is equivalent to the English here, Griffonian is equivalent to Latin," I explained. Sci-Twi was absolutely fascinated, and, to my surprise, so was Applejack.

"Do they have a queen or a king now?" Applejack asked me.

"A King. Sanguis Talon the I. He's very much loved by the griffonians, but although Equestrians would never admit it, he makes us nervous. He's the son of the previous ruler, Amicus, and he was the Excubitor of Griffonia, their military leader, before becoming king upon the death of Amicus. He's got a pretty frightening appearance, too; he's massive, with a long scar running across his left eye. I'm just finding all this stuff out, by the way, so I'm not exactly the best source," I explained. Sci-Twi raised her eyebrows.

"So his name is Blood Talon? He sounds like a corny villain in a really cheesy fantasy movie," she said, which made me chuckle.

"Yep, and that's another reason he kinda scares us, because I assure you, his parents didn't name him "blood"; they named him "Aurora", or Dawn. He took that name during his coronation ceremony. Sounds like a pleasant dude, huh?" I asked; this time, the girls were the ones laughing.

"It's crazy! It's like some sort of fantasy book come to life! I'd love to see it one day..." she said. My smile grew even bigger.

"Well, when is spring break? I'd love to take you. Plus, if I do it without telling Twilight, there's plenty of opportunities to mess around with her, which means we'll both be happy," I explained. Sci-Twi's eyes lit up at the thought, and I knew immediately that she'd be on the other side of the portal soon.

"That...that would be amazing! Spring break is in two weeks; will you visit then?" she asked. I chuckled a little as I nodded my head.

"Yes, I will. I'll take anyone that wants to come, too, though I'm not going to bring all six of you at once; wouldn't want the Equestrian Inquirer to flip their shit about another set of elements, would we?" I asked, which garnered more laughs from the two girls.

"I'd be pleased as punch, sugercube, but maybe next year; I got a lotta stuff goin' on durin' spring break. It is funny to think that we'd look exactly like the ponies there, though, ain't it? Imagine two pinkie's running around!" joked Applejack.

Try fifty, I thought, remembering an old story Twilight had told me only a week ago. That, however, wasn't important, because there was another point about the portal I saw I needed to educated the girls on.

"That isn't necessarily true," I began. "For instance, you ever notice that your hairstyle was different from Twilight's when you saw her? When you hop through the portal, you'll have a different mane style, so you'll look a little different. Also, you wear glasses here, and your vision isn't going to be repaired by going through the portal. That's gonna happen to a few of you, but there are some of you who will transfer over exactly the same. Rainbow and Pinkie come to mind, along with you, AJ. Rarity and Flutters are toss ups, though," I explained. Twilight and AJ nodded in understanding.

"We'll let the girls know. How long are you staying here, exactly? Are you going to leave tonight?" They asked. I shrugged.

"That was the plan, but I think I'll stay one more night; I'd very much like to see Jennet absolutely embarrass the football team." Pinkie, who had been talking to Rainbow and Rarity, overheard that particular sentence; she immediately stopped and quickly turned her head towards me, her mouth agape.

"You're staying! YAY! PARTY AT MY HOUSE, EVERYONE! With a special guest; the one and only Sunset Shimmer!" she shouted. That was met with large amounts of cheers, and I couldn't help but laugh. I was so glad I had found my place in Equestria, but even I didn't realize how much I needed this visit. I gave a sigh of relief as the conversations moved away from me. As I took a sip of my drink, I took a look down to my boots once again.

Celestia, they are tacky, I thought.