A Shimmering New Year

by EchoWing

Chapter Two - ...And In With The New

The morning proceeded with little issue for Sunset, her homeroom passing with no incidents beyond the norm. Some students still gave her the odd dirty look, but she was long used to such things, and doubted that they’d go away anytime soon. Still, they appeared to have lessened, and a few faces in particular actually looked guilty.

Maybe the Crusaders coming forward had actually done her some good.

“Hey Sunset!” She turned as she made her way through the hall to her next class to find Rainbow Dash approaching her. “You’re looking alright. Had a good time during break?”

“Hey Dash. And yeah, mostly.” As much as she wanted to talk about what she had with Twilight, now wasn’t really the time and place. “Sorry I missed out on seeing you all this morning at Sugar Cube Corner.”

The athlete waved a dismissive hand. “No big. Twilight needed you for something, we get it.” She then toned her voice down and asked, “So what did she need you for?”

“Some research project of hers, nothing to do with the Chest. I get the feeling she might be stonewalled on it.” A sigh. “Not the first time that’s come up.”

A comforting hand rested on her shoulder. “Hey, they haven’t forgotten about your cousin. They found those letters, right? They’ll find her too.”

Sunset looked to her friend, and saw that familiar encouraging grin on her face. It was a welcome sight, especially after their recent troubles, and despite some lingering resentment, she smiled back. “Thanks Dash.” She then noticed a familiar mass of well-groomed dark gray hair approaching them from another hall and called out in greeting. “Hi Octavia!”

“Sunset Shimmer, Rainbow Dash.” Octavia’s expression was neutral as she strode past them and into the classroom.

Rainbow Dash shook her head and offered a sympathetic grin. “Don’t take that too personally, Sunset. You and I both know what Octavia’s like.”

“All too well.” The two stepped into class and made their way to their seats, but Sunset stopped just as Rainbow reached hers and noticed something amiss. “Hey, where’s Mister Neigh?”

A shrug. “Maybe he’s in the bathroom or something. Teachers gotta pee sometime, right?”

That seemed as good an explanation as any, and Sunset continued onto her seat. Her physics class was mercifully small, twenty students arranged in four rows of five, with her being the last one in the row closest to the door thanks to seating arrangements. The teacher had arranged them in alphabetical order, and there wasn’t anyone in the class with a name further down the alphabet than her. She’d never complained; if anything, it had proven advantageous to her at the start of the year, thanks to the fact that her two flunkies were taking this same class.

Said former flunkies gave her a small wave as she walked past them, and she offered a smile in return. As uneasy as she’d been with her newfound friends since the previous month, she had no such issues with Snips and Snails. She slid into her seat and readied her book, notebook and pencil for class, and hoped that Mister Neigh wouldn’t take this chance to rearrange everything. Or that she wouldn’t overhear something unpleasant, as usual.

“So did you hear?”

So much for that, she mused, as the two girls to her right were chatting about something.

“Yeah, Velvet told me! I can’t wait to see him!”

…wait, him?

The bell rang, and the students settled into their seats as a new face came in and greeted them, “Morning, class!” He was tall and lean, dressed in a brown pinstripe suit, complete with dress shirt and tie and wearing scruffy tennis shoes on his feet. His face gave him a certain youthful charm, and his brown hair was styled so that it stuck up slightly, giving it a spiky look. The thing that caught Sunset’s attention about him most was his accent; it instantly reminded her of that of ponies from the Griffish Isles back in Equestria, or the odd English actor she’d seen or heard when watching a movie. He set a briefcase down near the teacher’s desk, and then turned to address everyone. “Are we seated comfortably?”

The class generally murmured in agreement.

The new teacher grinned and enthusiastically declared, “Brilliant!” He then retrieved some chalk and began quickly writing up his name on the chalkboard. “Now then, I’m Doctor Turner, and I’ll be your physics teacher for the remainder of the school year.” He then turned about and asked, “Any questions?” A hand shot up in front of Sunset, and the teacher moved to the desk and the seating chart as he answered, “Yes, Mister…Snipsy-Snap?” He briefly looked disgusted at the name, and then recovered. “Sorry, that was rude of me. Your question?”

Snips didn’t take any offense and asked, “What happened to Mister Neigh?”

“Ah! Excellent question, may as well get it out of the way.” Dr. Turner smiled and explained, “He won the lottery. He’s off on a trip around the world. Don’t worry though, you’ll all see him again start of next semester. Anymore questions?” No one raised their hands, and he set aside the chalk and continued. “Alright then, let’s get started! Physics!” He rubbed his hands together and surveyed the students before him before declaring, “Good news and bad news. Bad news; I’m giving a pop quiz.” The class groaned in unison, but he interrupted them. “Ah, but hang on, good news still! I’m just giving it so that I can get an idea of where you all are. More good news is that this pop quiz is purely verbal. I’ll ask a question, one of you answers, and if everyone here can answer one question, then you all pass.” This met with mixed approval, and he moved on from there. “Alright then, first question! Name me one of Newton’s Three Laws of Motion!” A hand shot up from each student, and he called out, “Mister Snipsy-Snap again!”

“An object in motion will stay in motion unless it’s acted upon by an outside force!”

“Correctamundo! One down, nineteen to go! And another, Mister…Snailsquirm!” He made an expression that made obvious his disbelief at Snails’ name, then gestured for him to answer.

“An object at rest will keep on resting until something comes and moves it.”

“Eh, close enough. And let’s have us a hat trick from Miss…Rainbow Dash!” He smiled and noted, “Ooh, I like that name. Rolls right off the tongue.”

The athlete beamed, then stated, “Every action’s got an equal and opposite reaction.”

“Perfect. Now, the value given for an object’s acceleration imparted by the Earth due to gravity Miss…Octavia Melody!”

This continued for several minutes, students being ticked off one by one until the final question came down to Sunset Shimmer. “Tell me the difference between reflection and refraction, Miss Sunset Shimmer.”

Sunset smiled and calmly answered, “With reflection, a wavefront bounces off a surface and returns from where it originated, like light going from a light source and bouncing off a mirror. With refraction, a wavefront is shifted as it goes from one medium to another; partially submerge a pencil in a bowl of water at a slant, and it’ll look bent because the light rays are bent by the water.”

“Perfect! Well done!” Dr. Turner clapped in appreciation and offered, “Now then, who’s up for some extra credit?” He grinned deviously and posed his question, “Take two identical strips of nylon. Charge them with static electricity and then hang them from a string so that they swing freely. What happens if they’re brought near one another?” No one raised a hand, prompting him to ask, “No guesses?” One finally went up after a shrug, and he asked, “Miss Shimmer?”

“They’d both have the same charge, so they’d repel one another.”

“On the nose, well done. Next question; I coil up a thin piece of microwire, put it in a glass of water, and then turn on the electricity to see if the temperature’s been affected. How do I measure the electrical power going into the coil?” Sunset again raised her hand, and he asked, “Anyone else? Alright then Miss Shimmer, off you go.”

“Use an ammeter to measure the current and a voltmeter for the potential difference.”

The teacher nodded. “Well done. Another for you, true or false; the greater the dampening of the system, the faster it loses energy to its surroundings.”


“What is non-coding DNA?”

“DNA that doesn’t code for a protein and off-topic for a physics class.”

That prompted a laugh from the other students, but Turner took it in stride and asked another question. “Sixty-five thousand five hundred and eighty-three times five?” Sunset quickly grabbed some paper and wrote out the question. “Miss Shimmer?”

“Just making sure I show my work.” She quickly worked out the answer and declared, “Three hundred and twenty-nine thousand, nine hundred and fifteen.”

“How do you travel faster than light?”

Heads turned to Sunset, a few students thinking that she’d either BS an answer and get in trouble or, through some fluke, actually give one that made sense. She opted to look upon the teacher with a raised eyebrow and note, “That’s a trick question. Superluminal travel’s currently beyond human science.”

Heads turned back to Doctor Turner, who reached into his jacket pocket and produced what looked like a pair of 3-D glasses. He then donned them and examined the teenager before him before noting, “So it is. Very good, catching that, well done.” He then took off the glasses and amended, “Everyone, do as well as you did today, and you’ll all ace this semester. And if you need any help, I understand both Miss Melody and Miss Shimmer are excellent tutors.” He then put on a different pair of glasses, this one a normal pair, and prompted, “Now then, let’s pick up from where you left off last semester, eh?”


“3-D glasses, really?” Pinkie giggled and declared, “I like this new teacher, he sounds silly!”

Sunset rolled her eyes, not at all surprised by that reaction. A couple class periods had gone by since Physics and her introduction to Dr. Turner, and this had been the first chance she’d had to talk about the odd experience with any of the girls beyond Rainbow Dash.

“Honestly darling, this could be a problem given Sunset’s situation.” Rarity looked to the former unicorn and asked, “Did it feel as though he was taking any sort of excessive interest in you?”

“No. Aside from that bit with the glasses and what he said about Snips and Snails’ full names, he was perfectly professional. And he apologized about his remarks immediately.”

The fashionista nodded and idly tapped her desk with her pen. “Another question then; was he handsome?”

An arched eyebrow from Sunset. “Seriously?”

A blush. “Well, one does wonder about these things.”

Another eye roll. “Tall, slender, slightly spikey brown hair, blue eyes, English accent, wears a suit. I’ll let you decide.”

“Ooh. One does like a man with a good English accent.”

“Ah-hem.” The three looked up to find the stern face of their social studies teacher. “Should I assume that the three of you are already finished with this week’s group assignment, given your gossiping?”

Pinkie smiled apologetically. “Sorry Miss Harshwhinny. Sunset was just telling us about the new physics teacher.”

The teacher arched an eyebrow at the red-and-yellow-haired girl. “I gathered that. And while I appreciate an educator who acts with professionalism, I’d rather determine that for myself than go on the word of a student.” Her gaze turned towards Rarity as she amended, “Especially one who is easily swayed by her fondness for a handsome face.” She looked them all over and concluded, “In any case, you are here to learn. Please refrain from gossip until lunch or your free period.”

“Yes ma’am.” Harshwhinny went back to the front of the class, and the girls went back to their assignment. Rarity looked the two over and asked, “Now then girls, I don’t suppose either of you have found some interesting bit of trivia regarding the presidents of the United States?”

“All of them can claim William the Conqueror as an ancestor, and all but one of them can claim King John of England as an ancestor.”

The fashionista looked at Pinkie in shock, then to Sunset as she checked over her books. “Pinkie’s right. Martin Van Buren was of Dutch ancestry on both sides of his family.”

“Well that’s something one could potentially use in an episode of ‘Jeopardy’.” Notes were quickly taken before the bell rang, signaling the end of class. “Now then Sunset, can we all expect to see you at our usual free period hang-out in the library?”

“Sorry Rarity, but Vice Principal Luna’s asked me to show a couple new students around.” A hopeful smile crossed her face. “Hopefully, they’ll get to know the new me before they find out about the old me.”

The three finished collecting their things and rose from their seats. “One could hope, dear. And if nothing else, it will be nice to have some new faces around here.”

“Maybe they can even join us for lunch!” Pinkie suggested. “First though, you gotta tell me everything you can about them! That way, we can have a ‘Welcome to Canterlot High’ party, and I can get all the snacks that they like!”

“I’ll try to keep that in mind.” Sunset waved and turned away as Vice Principal Luna’s voice sounded over the PA system.

The three exited the classroom, and while Sunset attended to her summons, Rarity and Pinkie went on to their next destination. “Pinkie, did Sunset seem distant to you?”

“Kinda.” Her tone became less excited as she asked, “Do you think she’s still feeling kinda sore about what happened before break?”

“Perhaps.” Rarity sighed. “I only hope that after today, we can put it behind us once and for all. For now, let’s check in with the others…” She stopped as she felt a tap on her shoulder, then turned to find a familiar girl with blue and opal hair standing nearby. “Yes Vinyl?” The girl wordlessly smiled and presented her with a flier. “Oh. Thank you, dear.” Vinyl then saluted and went on her way, leaving Rarity to examine it. “Hmm. I’m surprised she’s allowed to do this.”

Pinkie examined the flier. “Huh. Big sale at the music store she works at in the mall.” She smiled and added, “Nice of her to tell us.”


:“Sunset Shimmer, please report to the main foyer.”:

Vice Principal Luna’s beckoning call over the PA system momentarily shook Sweetie Belle out of her thoughts as she went on her way, but she quickly found them again as she caught sight of her friends. She smiled anxiously. “Hi girls.”

“Howdy Sweetie Belle.” Apple Bloom looked as glum as she felt, but gave an encouraging smile. “Ah guess we all managed to come in today, didn’t we?”

“Like you two would be able to get away with it, with your sisters and all.” Scootaloo sighed. “Of course, Rainbow Dash would’ve had my hide if I hadn’t.” Her shoulders slumped. “Not like I didn’t deserve it.” A disgusted snort caught her attention, and she looked to find Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon as they strode past and glared at them from the corner of their eyes. Once the two were out of earshot, she added, “As if they didn’t give us trouble already.”

“Well this time, we kinda got it comin’.” The young farmgirl sighed. “Ah still think it’s a miracle Sunset forgave us, let alone was willin’ to talk with us. Ah mean, she almost…”

“Yeah. And it would’ve been my fault.”

Our fault, Sweetie Belle. Not yours.”

“Still, I…” The pale girl hugged herself tight and did her best to hold back tears. “I hated her! I hated what she did to Rarity, what she put her through! I mean, I know that she hurt Applejack and Rainbow Dash too, but…!”

“But what she did to Rarity went too far.” Sweetie Belle found herself in her friend’s embrace, and Apple Bloom assured her, “Ah know. Don’t justify what we did, even after the Fall Formal, but still.”

“Yeah, about that.” The two looked to Scootaloo as she asked, “Did either of you think about what would’ve happened if what we did hadn’t worked? Or if it hadn’t worked as well as it did?”

A shrug. “Not much difference, ah guess. We still put up stuff after Sunset got shunned.” One could almost swear that her bow was drooping at that realization. “Dang. Still hurts thinkin’ we went that far. Why didn’t one ‘a us stop an’ think about what we were doin’?”

“Probably for the same reason Sunset never stopped and thought about what she was doing.” A sniffle from Sweetie Belle as she admitted, “We didn’t care.”

Scootaloo bowed her head and admitted, “I kinda did.” Her friends looked at her as she explained, “It didn’t feel right putting up Rainbow Dash’s paper like that. I still did it, but I thought it was one of those necessary evil things, y’know?” She then looked to Sweetie Belle and admitted, “Plus, the way you were acting, I was kinda scared that, well…”

“…That we’d put something up about you?”

“Well, kinda, but more that you’d yell and scream at me.” She nodded towards Apple Bloom and clarified, “More you than Apple Bloom though. No offense, AB, but Sweetie Belle is scary when she’s mad.”

“None taken.” She smiled nervously as she looked to Sweetie Belle and admitted, “You are kinda scary sometimes.”

Those words hung in the air, and silence held until a light snort came out of the pale girl’s mouth. The snort was followed by a laugh, and she wiped away the few tears that had formed. “Me. Scary.” She recovered and admitted, “I was scary, wasn’t I?” She sighed and wondered aloud, “Do you think Sunset feels like this?”

“Probably.” The three finally reached the library as Apple Bloom turned her volume down and admitted, “We probably should’ve considered that before we went and did it, though.”

“Yeah, no kidding.” Scootaloo looked about and wondered aloud, “So, where’s Miss Cheerilee?”

“Girls?” The three turned to find the young teacher approaching them from the library’s office. “Ah, there you are. I was worried the three of you might not be in today.”

Sweetie Belle stood up and admitted, “Well, we did the crime. We’d have to do the time sooner or later.”

They saw what they hoped was a proud smile on Cheerilee’s face before she gestured for them to follow her. “Better sooner than later.” She led them up to the second floor of the library and to a secluded corner, where they found the work awaiting them. “Now then girls, do you know what this is?”

“It’s the bed made out of books that Twilight slept in her first night here!” Sweetie Belle sheepishly calmed down and added, “Rarity offered her our guest room her second night.”

“Well that was very good of her.” Cheerilee gestured to the book-bed and explained, “Unfortunately, I’ve been too busy to get this cleaned up and get the books back where they’re supposed to be. Which is where the three of you come in.”

Apple Bloom shrugged. “Well that won’t be too hard. We just havta look up the numbers in the library computers and…”

“Except that you won’t be using the computers.” She gestured to the stairs and added, “The old card catalog is down on the first floor. You’ll be using it to figure out where all of these books go.”

“But don’t they all probably come from somewhere around here?”

“Yes, but I want them put away properly. And the only way that will happen is if you use the card catalog, Scootaloo. Otherwise you might end up spending more than just your detention in here.” She grinned as she turned away and left them to their work. “Might.”

As the young librarian went out of earshot, Scootaloo asked, “Can she really do that?”

“Ah don’t know, but Ah don’t wanna find out.” Apple Bloom then went to the book-bed and picked up four of the books from its ‘head’. “So you had Twilight and Sunset at yer house, one after the other.”

“Yeah, but I was a better host to Twilight than I was to Sunset.” Sweetie Belle picked up her own pile of books and added, “A lot of things about that night make a lot more sense now, though. Twilight having trouble with her bra, for one thing.”

Apple Bloom laughed despite herself. “Considerin’ ponies don’t normally wear clothin’, that makes a lotta sense.”

“And they wouldn’t need ‘em anyway. It’s not like ponies have breasts.”

“Actually, ponies bein’ mammals, they do have ‘em. They just ain’t noticeable unless the mare’s done had themselves a foal recent enough fer the youngin’ to still be nursin’. Us humans are th’ exception, and there’s plenty ‘a argument ‘bout why.” Her friends looked at her in surprise, and Apple Bloom shrugged. “Ah live on a farm. We raise horses ‘n other critters. Ah’ve asked.”

Sweetie Belle hmmed thoughtfully as they made their way down a staircase. “So, do you think Flash Sentry knows about all of this? Twilight and Sunset really being ponies and stuff?”

Scootaloo shrugged. “Be kinda awkward either way.”


Elsewhere in the school, two girls stood in the foyer to CHS. Both idly looked about the area around them, neither betraying much through their body language. One, however, was clearly more anxious than the other, as her companion quickly noticed. “Nervous?”

“A little.” The pale yellow teen took a deep breath, but it did little to steady her nerves. She looked at her reflection, as well as that of her friend, in the glass of the school trophy case. As weak as it was, she could see her concern in the image of her pale green eyes. “What if we mess this up?”

“You should’ve thought of that before you came along.” Her friend chuckled and gently clasped one pale magenta hand around hers. “There’s all sorts of ways that things could go wrong, I know. But we’ll get through this. Brave heart, huh?”

She turned to her friend and managed a nervous smile. “Brave heart.”

Approaching footsteps were their first warning that they weren’t alone, followed very shortly by a voice calling out “Hello!” They turned to find themselves addressed by a girl about their age, the same as was in two of the portraits near the trophy case but looking much friendlier. She gave them a genial smile and asked, “I guess the two of you are the new girls I’m supposed to show around.”

“You see anyone else standing around?” A grin. “Sorry, that came out a little snarky. First day jitters, I guess. You’re Sunset Shimmer, right?” The flame-haired girl nodded, and she gestured to her friend. “This is Roseluck. Don’t mind her too much if she seems skittish, that’s normal for her.” She then offered a hand. “And I’m Amethyst Star. Call me Sparkler.”

Sunset accepted the offered hand. “Nice to meet you.” She then turned to Roseluck and asked, “Any nicknames you prefer?”

A shrug. “I’m okay if you want to call me ‘Rose’.”

“Okay, Rose. Anyway, welcome to Canterlot High.” She gestured about and added, “Don’t let the size of this place get to you, this is a great school.” She nodded her head towards the third portrait on a nearby wall and added, “A little better after recent events, but still, a great school. Now how about we get started?”

“Sure.” Sparkler gestured to the same wall and asked, “So, are these the recent prom queens?”

Sunset suddenly looked as if she wanted to facepalm, but was desperately resisting the urge. “No, but pretty close.” She took a breath and explained, “The middle picture is of last year’s Spring Fling Princess. The one on the left is from the preceding Fall Formal, and the one on the right is from the following Fall Formal.” She tried her best to assume a friendly grin and asked, “Not very flattering pictures, are they?”

“Not really. You look kinda like a cartoon supervillain.”

“No kidding.” A shrug, and she added, “Still, it lets me do this.” She stood up straight and said, “Hello, my name is Sunset Shimmer, and I’m a recovering Alpha Bitch.” That prompted laughter from the other two girls, and Sunset relaxed. “Wow, that actually worked.”

“Well, it was funny.” Sparkler recovered but maintained her smile. “I guess getting dethroned snapped you out of that?”

“In so many ways.” Sunset shook her head. “Anyway, you aren’t here to listen to me gab about me. Come on, let’s get this tour started.” She led them out of the foyer and into the school proper. “So, are the two of you sisters?”

Rose gave a nervous smile. “Kinda. I’m a foster kid. Sparkler’s family’s taken me in.”

“Oh? Good for them.” Sunset gave her an encouraging look. “If it helps, I can relate.” At the green-eyed girl’s curious look, she explained, “Long story, I’ll tell you later. Come on, lots to see.”

Sunset led the two on, and suddenly found herself optimistic. Things were starting off on a good note, and maybe, if things went well, she’d have some new friends out of this. It took everything she had not to smile even wider than she was already over how good she felt; they knew about her, she’d admitted to it, and they were okay with it. Granted, they didn’t know the whole truth, and Sunset doubted this would be the case with others, but still, this bode well.

And she quietly hoped that she wouldn’t do anything to screw it up.