Sunset stood alone in the gym on the night of the Fall Formal. Everything had been decorated perfectly and the smell of food permeated the air. However, there was no one else around her. There was no band, no party goers. And most frightening of all: no friends.
“Hello? Is there anyone here?” Sunset called out, glancing around the room.
“Oh, there’s someone here alright.”
The voice froze Sunset in her place. She attempted to run, but found that her limbs refused to obey her commands. No matter how hard she tried to move or act, she found herself paralyzed. In a puff of smoke, Midnight Sparkle appeared in front of her eyes, sending her heart into a frenzy. “No! This— this is all a dream!”
“Oh I assure you it’s not.” Midnight Sparkle floated around Sunset, who struggled to move against the force that was holding her in place.
“I’m not scared of you!” Sunset screamed, attempting to convince herself.
“Not even if I say I know your deepest fear?” Midnight laughed. The words sent a chilling terror into Sunset’s heart, silencing her. “You should give it up! As long as you have these powers, you know they will come true! It’s just a matter of time... Sunset Shimmer!”
Sunset shot out of her bed screaming. Sweat had dampened her pillow and her heart felt like it was in her throat. She looked around her room frantically, calming down slightly once she realized it had just been a nightmare. However, something about the dream felt tangible and so much as thinking about the nightmare filled Sunset with the same fear she had felt yesterday. Sunset shot her hand up to her necklace and held it tightly in her grip. Only a matter of time. She stared out the window, hoping the sight of the sparkling stars would give her some calm...
Sunset sat on the bed in Rarity’s bedroom, though her thoughts were far from the present. Can I finally control it? The same words had plagued her mind ever since the nightmare, keeping her awake until three in the morning. When she finally did get to sleep, the alarm rang a mere four hours later, signalling to her that it was the day of the Fall Formal.
“Sunset Shimmer!” Pinkie’s high-pitched call drew Sunset’s attention back to the group.
“Honestly, Sunset. One would think that the Fall Formal coming up in a few hours would be enough to keep your attention!” Rarity stood beside the vanity board, tapping her foot. Her friends had their eyes glued onto her, waiting for a response.
“Sorry, Rarity. I just didn’t get good sleep last night,” Sunset admitted.
“Well, I suppose that does make sense. How could the Fall Formal Queen sleep when her biggest day is about to arrive!” Rarity squealed, opening her closet.
Sunset felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to see Twilight, staring at her with concern. “Nightmares?”
Sunset shook her head. “I’ll tell you later, okay Twilight?”
“Alright, who shall be first up to try their dresses on?” Rarity stared at Applejack, who sighed and stood up.
“Might as well get this over with.” Applejack took a step forward, resigning herself to her fate. Rarity swiftly handed her a dress before shoving her into the bathroom and shutting the door. “Now, don’t take too long! I need to do your makeup, and your hair and—”
“Honestly, Rarity. You don’t need to do all that for us,” Twilight said.
“Nonsense! I—” Rarity attempted to continue, but her friends soon interrupted her.
“Want to do it, because I enjoy making all of you look fabulous!” Her friends, excluding Twilight, spoke in unison, even Applejack, whose voice came inside the washroom. After they finished, they all broke into loud laughter. Rarity only scowled at them angrily, darting her head away with an audible ‘hmph!’
After a few minutes, Applejack opened the door to the bathroom, letting everyone see her dress. It draped stunningly over her form, trailing behind her in a stunning bright red. Her shoulders, waist and collar were lined with orange accents, the same color and shade as Applejack’s hair. The others stared in awe as the gown flowed with every step Applejack took, almost as if it had a mind of its own.
“Have to admit, Rarity. You outdid yourself, again.” Applejack nodded, casting a glance at herself in the mirror.
“You say it like you weren’t expecting me to make you the perfect gown! And it shall be even better when your hair is done up! Now, Twilight!” Rarity reached into her closet, gesturing her over.
Twilight shuffled to Rarity with a blush. She grabbed the hidden dress and entered the bathroom, closing the door behind her. Sunset sat at the edge of the bed, her gloved hands grasped tightly together. Wonder what my dress will be like. Knowing Rarity it’s going to be amazing. But more amazing than the one at the Camp Everfree Crystal Ball? She visualized the gown in her mind, and found it hard to imagine one even better than that. Though if there would be one person in the world she trusted to make it happen, it was Rarity.
She kept her eyes locked onto the bathroom door as the others ran to admire Applejack’s dress. After what felt like an eternity, the door ‘clicked’ and swung open. Upon seeing Twilight, Sunset’s jaw dropped.
Twilight was wearing a long, purple dress covered in a beautiful white lining across the top. The radiant silk seemed to drop effortlessly down her body and past her waist to her feet. However, what truly made the gown special was the subtle way it shimmered when struck by light, mimicking that of a galaxy in the night sky, with Twilight in the middle.
As Twilight strolled forth, Sunset spotted the way the gown flowed effortlessly, much like Applejack’s. She knew it had been fitted perfectly for Twilight and no one else. Sunset stood up and shut her jaw, walking towards Twilight.
“How do I look?” Twilight asked Sunset, who shook her head.
“P-pretty good.” Sunset stammered out. “I hope I look half as good as you do.”
Twilight blushed at the compliment, starting to pull her hair softly. She opened her mouth to speak, but Rarity's voice came first. “Sunset Shimmer! Come on!”
Sunset felt anxious just from hearing her name being called. Her mind was consumed with thoughts of what the dress might look like or how it might look on her. “Go on!” Twilight coaxed her, helping her move to Rarity to receive the covered garment. Sunset grabbed the hanger and stepped into the bathroom. As she closed the door, she felt her hands grow numb. She smiled with nervous energy.
Let’s hope it’s good. She shook her head. She knew it was going to be good, but she hoped that it would be amazing. She reached a hand over, grabbing the cloth that covered her Fall Formal gown. One...Two...Three!
In one swift motion, she tugged the cloth away. And what she saw made her freeze where she stood, her eyes growing wide with disbelief. Her mouth opened, but only one word exited her lips.
Night had fallen over CHS, but the gym was alive with activity. Music was blasting over the speakers as students begun to enter. All the girls were dressed in various stunning gowns while the guys were in their best looking suits. Flash and his band had begun performing, their music blasting through the large speakers that had been set on stage. Several students gathered around the buffet table, laughing and chatting as they ate, while others had taken to the dance floor.
Sunset pushed the door open, walking into the gym. Upon laying eyes on her, Flash stopped playing, cutting off the music without warning, entranced by the girl that had just arrived.
She stood amidst the lights in Rarity’s handmade gown, a form so beautiful and bright, it seemed to shadow all the others in the room. The teal fabric seemed like it had been sewn from strands of sunlight, glowing in the darkness of the gym. However, it did not shine like a torch, instead, it glimmered softly, like the last rays of light before the day ended. Sunset took several steps inside, and even the ones that were chatting silenced themselves to look at her. Her hair had been tied up into a low ponytail and fell across her shoulders in swirls. Much like the soft waves of the night sea, it was controlled in its chaos. The necklace that hung around her neck glimmered, not in competition, but serving to complement the gown that she wore.
Rarity had told Sunset that she would stop the room cold when she exited the bathroom hours ago, though she never quite expected her saying to be quite this literal. With each step she took, the dressed matched it in turn. Even though she was simply taking steps, it resembled more of a dance. One that had its audience captivated with each movement.
Sunset waved to the crowd, before retreating to the table nearest to the main doors. Flash quickly realized the silence that had enveloped the room, and continued playing with his band. The party soon picked back up, returning the atmosphere to the status quo.
Her friends entered a few moments later, all of them rushing forth to surround her. “So? What was it like?” Rainbow asked, dressed in a sky-blue gown of her own.
“Was it fun?” Pinkie spun around in her pink dress.
“It was... something alright.” That was the only word Sunset found in her vocabulary to describe what she had just experienced. Twilight took a seat beside her, smiling wide. Her purple locks had been fashioned into a braid and fell loosely on her back.
“Oh right! I completely forgot to pass you these before you entered.” Rarity reached into her handbag, pulling out a pair of green evening gloves. Sunset grabbed them in shock, having forgotten about them as well. “Well, you relax here. I’m going to mingle at the buffet table!”
“I wonder if they have those tiny little cherry tomatoes!” Fluttershy beamed, wearing a dress of pink and white. The others soon scattered as well, leaving Twilight and Sunset alone at the table.
Sunset held the silk gloves loosely, staring at the way they fell limply over her fingers.
Twilight smiled at her friend, speaking, “I won’t stop you if you choose to wear the gloves,” she placed a hand on Sunset’s wrist. “But I don’t think you need them.”
Sunset turned to her friend with a frown. “I’m sorry, Twilight. I can’t let another incident happen with my powers. Not today.” She pulled the gloves up her hands to her elbow, drawing a disappointed sigh from Twilight.
“Let’s go get drinks.” Twilight stood up, prompting Sunset to do the same.
Once they had gotten their punch and sat back down at the table, Flash Sentry’s voice came through over the speakers. “We hope you enjoyed our songs and that you have fun the rest of the evening! DJ PON-3 will be taking over the music! Thanks for all your support!” The crowd in front of the stage applauded as Flash and his band descended the steps.
“So Flash had sorta a thing for the other Twilight, huh?” Twilight took a sip from her cup.
“Any details you’re willing to share?”
“Why don’t you ask him yourself?” Sunset pointed to Flash, who was strolling to their table.
“Hey Sunset! Hey non-pony Twilight!” Flash caught what he had just said and quickly raised his hands in defense. “N-not that the other Twilight was a pony here at CHS! I mean you aren’t too but—”
Sunset slapped the palm of her hand into her face and shook her head. Twilight gave a nervous chuckle before standing up. “Oh look! All out of punch! I better go and… get some more!” She rambled before rushing off.
Flash took a seat at the table and covered his face with his hands. “I’ll be surprised if she and I can even be friends if I keep doing that.”
Sunset gave Flash a soft pat on his back. “Well, I see your band is back together. No name yet?”
“Nah. We’re holding off on that. We agreed to just play the Fall Formal as three friends instead of bickering about something that silly.” Flash dusted his suit off.
“That’s great, Flash. I’m glad I could help.” Sunset smiled, but upon spotting a familiar yellow-haired girl across the room, it faded quickly. “There she is.”
Flash glanced over at where Sunset was looking. “Tangerine? Is she honestly still bothering you two?”
“Well, no. But the fact she dared to bully Twilight at all.” Sunset scowled, keeping her eyes locked onto her.
“You know, she isn't bullying Twilight just because she’s just an evil filled girl right?”
“What’re you saying? That she should be allowed to-”
“No! No of course not!” Flash quickly interjected. “What she’s doing is inexcusable. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason behind it.”
Just then, Sunset spotted Tangerine walking towards the buffet table, and towards Twilight. She felt the blood in her boil and pushed herself to her feet, but Flash quickly tugged her back down.
“Calm down, Sunset.” Flash placed his hands on the table.
“If Tangerine lays one finger on Twilight I’m going to—”
“Sunset, deep breaths.” Flash opened his palm towards Sunset. “Here. Grab it. I wanna show you something.”
Sunset remained still, turning away. “I’d rather not.”
“Trust me. Nothing bad’s going to happen,” Flash said with a smile.
Sunset thought for a moment and reached for her glove, but as she did, a loud voice in her mind froze her in place. Go ahead. I’d love to see you prove me right.
“I really shouldn’t.” Sunset lowered her arms, but they were just as quickly picked back up by Flash. She shot her head up and met his confident gaze.
“I trust you,” Flash spoke with a nod. The words caught Sunset off guard. As he reached for the glove, every instinct told her to pull away. Yet, she sat perfectly still. Before she knew it, the garment had come off and Flash grasped Sunset’s hand tightly, drowning out the Fall Formal in a flash of white light.
“Tangerine!” Flash’s voice echoed down the empty hallway, catching the attention of the girl that stood at the end.
“Ugh, what do you want?” Tangerine rolled her eyes as she spoke.
“You know what I want. I want you to stop bullying Twilight!” Flash crossed his arms, scowling.
A frown grew on Tangerine’s face. “This again? I told you, I have no idea what you’re talking about.” She turned around, preparing to walk away, but Flash swiftly darted in front of her.
“Yes you do. What’s wrong with you? Did Twilight do something to offend you?” Flash’s words were harsher now. Louder.
Tangerine glanced at Flash with a poisonous scowl, speaking through clenched teeth. “She’s not from Canterlot High.”
“What?” Flash shook his head in confusion.
“She’s not one of us!” Tangerine stomped her foot as she shouted. “What gives her the right to just walk into CHS and have everyone notice her, huh!? Why does she get that special pendent? What makes her so special?”
Flash didn’t say a word, locking his gaze onto Tangerine.
“I had to earn the popularity with the students when I first transferred here. I had to suffer for months! Why is Twilight allowed to walk in and earn everyone’s good will just like that?” Tangerine snapped her fingers, screaming.
“And bullying her is your way to make it ‘even’?” Flash’s voice was no longer filled with anger, but instead genuine curiosity.
“I had to endure bullying too, Flash! And no one stood up for me! Twilight needs to know what I felt! What it’s like being the ‘new kid’!” Tears had started to stream from Tangerine’s eyes.
Flash sighed. “Tangerine, all you’re doing is hurting Twilight. I’m sorry you had to go through a rough time when you first came to CHS. But putting someone else through the same misery you felt isn’t going to fix what already happened. You’re gaining nothing from this.”
“Wrong. I’m enjoying her suffering immensely,” Tangerine gave a sadistic smirk.
“Are you really?” Flash words caused the confident expression on Tangerine to shatter. She darted her head away, allowing silence to fall between both of them. He heard a sob, before seeing Tangerine speed down the hallway, disappearing behind a corner.
“She needs help.”
This time, Flash was seated in Principal Celestia’s office. Celestia shook her head, placing her pen down on the desk.
“I… I had no idea these things were happening. I always try to make sure my students are safe but-”
“It's hard, and you’re keeping track of so much. I understand Principal Celestia. But please, this is bad not just for Twilight, but for Tangerine as well.”
“I understand.” Celestia stood from her seat, a stern look in her eyes. “I shall talk to Tangerine as soon as I can.”
“Principal Celestia, I know she needs to be disciplined. But she’s been through a lot as well. Do you think you could-”
“I won’t be too harsh on her. This is my fault too. I should’ve known. I should have stopped these sorts of acts in my own school.” Celestia gave a heavy sigh. “Thank you, Flash Sentry, for raising this to me.”
“You’re welcome, Principal Celestia.”
Sunset lifted her arm slowly from Flash’s, a cocktail of emotions swirling inside her. She remained silent for several seconds, attempting to process what she had just saw.
“I know, that was my reaction too.”
“Wh-Why did you want to show me that?” Sunset stammered, anger and confusion surfacing within her.
“Just thought it’d be good for you to understand why Tangerine acts the way she does. And show you that those powers of yours can be controlled.” Flash gestured upwards towards Tangerine, watching her speak with Twilight. After a minute of talking, Twilight merely nodded and Tangerine parted ways with her.
Sunset grabbed her glove from the table, preparing to slip it on when Flash spoke, “leave them be. You look much more beautiful without those.”
Sunset stared at the garment in her palm and sighed softly. “I can’t, Flash. I need them.”
“Is... is all of this because of what I said on Monday? Because you know I didn’t mean it, right? I’m sorry. You don’t need to be scared.”
Sunset shook her head. “It’s not about what happened on Monday, and I’m not scared,” she lied.
“Sunset, do I need to keep reminding you that we dated? I know when you’re lying. The only thing I can’t figure out is what you’re scared of,” Flash stated. “It can’t be your friends, seeing as how you came to the Fall Formal with them. And you already helped me overcome my problem. So what’s frightening you, Sunset?”
Sunset darted her eyes up to Twilight, watching her converse with Octavia beside the buffet table. I’m just making sure my biggest fear has no way of coming true. Suddenly, Sunset heard a loud cackle invade her mind and a flash of dark purple cross her eyes She quickly shook her head, feeling a drop of sweat trail down the side of her face.
“Sunset, you really need to tell me what’s going on,” Flash pleaded, leaning forward to Sunset.
“Nothing, Flash. You’re reading too much into this. I just want to wear these because I like to,” Sunset lied once more, staring at Twilight as she moved back to the table. Seizing the opportunity to change the subject, Sunset quickly continued, “I saw Tangerine talk to you, Twilight. What did she say?”
“Huh? Oh! She... actually apologized,” Twilight said in disbelief, sitting down beside Sunset.
“What? Really?” Sunset matched Twilight’s surprise.
“Yeah but it didn’t seem like she wanted to.”
“Must’ve been forced by Principal Celestia to do it,” Flash spoke, drinking the last bit of punch from his cup. Sunset turned, spotting Flash giving her a small wink.
Twilight nodded slightly. “Whatever the reason, I don’t think Tangerine will be bothering us anymore. And I think I’m just going to keep my distance from her. The less we interact, the better.”
“That’s a good idea. Well, I better go enjoy the party. I can’t wait for the Rainbooms to perform after the Fall Formal Queen and King have been announced.” Flash stood up, swiping his cup from the table. Staring at Sunset, he gestured to her hands and smiled before heading off to join the crowd.
“Bye Flash!” Twilight waved lightly, but Sunset remained silent, placing her arms on the table. Once he was out of earshot, Twilight turned to her, confused. “What was that about?”
“Nothing,” Sunset swiftly replied. “Just Flash being Flash. So, what songs should the Rainbooms perform?”
Twilight shrugged. “I don’t know. Whatever Rainbow wants us to perform sounds good to me.”
The night continued to pass without any issues. Sunset and Twilight had spent almost an hour talking and laughing at their table. They soon spotted Rainbow, Pinkie and Applejack running towards the dance floor. Meanwhile, Rarity had chosen to mingle with the other fashion gurus, occasionally gesturing at Sunset and Twilight with a smile. Fluttershy was enjoying her time at the buffet table, taking bowl after bowl of salad as she bobbed her head in time with DJ Pon3’s songs. They had also been given a voting slip, asking the name of the person they would like to be Fall Formal Queen and King. Twilight and Sunset quickly cast their votes before returning to their seats.
Sunset rubbed her hands uncomfortably together, causing Twilight to start speaking. “Sunset, those gloves look really uncomfortable. You should think about taking them off.”
Sunset continued to run one hand over the other. Her palms were starting to get extremely warm and had started to itch slightly. What’s more, Flash’s vision of Tangerine replayed constantly in her mind, fragmenting her thoughts. She reached to pull off the gloves, but the memory of what had happened with Twilight and Midnight Sparkle forced her fingers back down.
“Sunset…” Twilight called to her friend, but Sunset quickly stood up.
“I’m going to get more drinks.” Sunset grabbed both of their cups and moved to the buffet table. Twilight stood and attempted to keep up.
“Sunset, please listen. You can handle your powers, I know you can. You made such quick progress yesterday in the band room, you should have nothing to be afraid of!”
Sunset placed the empty cups beside the punch bowl, trying to shake the memories from her mind. “There’s a lot of things I should be afraid of. And in case you forgot, we didn’t make much progress on the ‘controlling’ part of the lesson.”
“Okay, yes, we didn’t perfect it. But I know you can decide where to memory jump! So we both know you can control it! I just don’t know what’s holding you back, because you won’t tell me!” Twilight shouted, though much to her relief, the loud music drowned out her words to everyone other than the girl in front of her.
At the same time, Sunset grabbed two fresh cups and attempted to fill them with the ladle. However, her hand shook with such force, most of it fell back into the bowl instead. Twilight stared in confusion and attempted to recall what had happened over the course of the week. However, her mind always came back to one incident. And she soon realized it was the only possible reason for Sunset’s fear. “Sunset,” she spoke in a grim tone. “You never got over her did you? Y-you lied to me. You… you don’t have it under control.”
The thought of Midnight Sparkle’s words filled Sunset with crippling despair. I am in control! I know what you’re truly afraid of. And it’s only a matter of time before your fears come true! Sunset felt her breath get stolen from her throat. The air around her grew thin, threatening to suffocate her. She could no longer hear the music from the speakers. All she could hear was Midnight Sparkle’s booming voice shouting her words at her. All she could think of was the memories of the past week. The incident with Flash, Fluttershy and—
“It’s Midnight, isn’t it?” Twilight spoke with a somber frown. Sunset had wanted to deny it, to lie to her friend. However, she could not find her voice amidst the frightful memory. She managed to find one second of clarity amidst the chaos and tore through the air towards the door, exiting with a forceful push. Twilight gave chase, stopping Sunset just outside the entrance to the gym.
Sunset felt her composure weaken at the mere mention of Midnight’s name. The very memory of that incident shook her to the core. “Midnight Sparkle was what happened the last time I tried not to use my powers, Twilight. Not just at the band room either. At the gym, in my dreams… every single time I try not to memory jump, there she is!”
“Wait, at the gym? When did you—” Twilight’s eyes opened wide in realization. “After Rarity set up the chandelier. That look you had… you did accidentally use your powers.”
“I don’t want to feel that fear anymore!” She rubbed her hands together, feeling the gloves that covered them. “I can’t let it happen again! I’m not sure I can take it, Twilight! Midnight was right! I will never control this! I will never control her!”
Twilight shook her head. “Yes you will! I know what it’s like to have Midnight control you, and I can help!”
“I almost lost my friends because of this!” Sunset gripped the pendent in her palm. “I almost lost—” Sunset fell silent as a voice echoed from inside the gym, blasting through the speakers and into the hallway they were in.
“Hello everyone! I hope you are all enjoying the Fall Formal!” Principal Celestia’s words were followed by a loud series of applause.
“I thought I could start anew at this Fall Formal, but it’s all going wrong again!” Sunset cried.
“Sunset, you can’t let Midnight Sparkle scare you! She feeds off that fear! You have to be stronger than she is!” Twilight took a step forward, placing both hands on Sunset’s shoulders.
“Now!” Celestia’s voice echoed through the halls. “We’re here to announce the winners of the Fall Formal Queen and King!”
“All I’ve done is hurt the people I love!” Sunset’s words quivered violently as she spoke.
“But you’ve helped them too! And you could only do that because of your powers! So what’s making you feel so afraid?” Twilight questioned.
“We counted the votes and our two winners won by a landslide! Our Fall Formal King is... Flash Sentry!”
Sunset shook her head, sealing her lips shut as tears flowed from her eyes. She forced her arms into tight fists and pressed them up against her chest. The memory of the incident with Flash, Fluttershy and Rainbow replayed endlessly in her mind. She had lost so much in that one day that the very thought of it frightened her to the core. However, one other incident scared her even more, and the words she heard from that moment still terrified her. “I trusted you, Sunset!”
“Sunset, let me help you, please. What were you so scared of?”
“Fluttershy and Flash hating me!” Sunset lied.
Twilight considered what Sunset had said, but she soon shook her head. “When you saw Midnight for the first time, you already helped Fluttershy, Flash and Rainbow. They no longer hated you so I know that’s not what you were afraid of, Sunset.” She peeked inside the gym, watching Flash ascend the stage. Turning back to Sunset, Twilight pleaded, “please, I’m begging you, tell me what’s gotten you so petrified!"
Sunset knew the answer, but she refused to say it. It wasn’t just being called a freak, or being insulted. Instead, it was something much more personal. It was her worse nightmare come true, and it was what crossed her mind before she saw Midnight Sparkle.
It was the thing she had almost lost with Fluttershy, Flash and Rainbow.
And it was something she could not afford to let slip away because of her powers. Because of one mistake. Her mistake. Once more, she heard the voice of that frightful memory speak in her head. “Please… don’t do this.”
“And the Fall Formal Queen…”
“Sunset!” Twilight shouted to Sunset and shook her lightly, hoping to shock her friend into speaking.
Sunset stared at Twilight tearfully as she spoke,
“I was afraid of losing you.”
The next few moments passed by in utter silence. The students inside anxiously awaited the results, while Twilight stood, speechless.
“Sunset Shimmer!” The cheer that erupted from the gym was deafening, every student looked around, hoping to spot the Fall Formal Queen walking up to the stage.
“Sunset,” Twilight pulled her friend into a hug. “You’re never going to lose me as your friend. Ever. Not after what you’ve done for me.” Twilight felt Sunset sob into her dress as she hugged Twilight back. “You saved me, showed me who I really am and stood by me in my darkest moments. You never stopped believing in me.” She broke the hug, holding Sunset at arm’s length. Using her thumbs, she wiped the tears from Sunset’s face.
“Sunset Shimmer?” Celestia called out once more, but again, she was nowhere to be seen.
“So I need you to believe me when I say I know you can control this.” Twilight slowly pulled off one of Sunset’s gloves and grasped her hands tightly. Sunset shut her eyes in fear, already hearing Midnight Sparkle enter her mind. Soon, Twilight started to sing.
“So you had magic
And it’s not that great
But when it found you
You know it was fate.”
Twilight’s calm voice started to drown out the visions of Midnight Sparkle in Sunset’s mind. Slowly, the fear and doubt that had plagued her heart started to wither away.
“And it might seem scary now
But it can be wonderful too
So how about we embrace the magic?
And make the magic part of you.”
As Twilight sang the last few words, Sunset mustered as much courage as she could and opened her eyes. She grasped Twilight’s palm tightly, smiling back at her with complete confidence. All of a sudden, she felt as if the weights that were holding her down had vanished, and her heart felt so light Sunset swore she could fly. Sunset took a breath to gather her composure, wiping the remaining tears away.
“I believe you. I know I can control this.” Sunset released her grip and grabbed the edge of the remaining evening glove before tugging it off in one forceful pull. She tossed them harshly to the ground, giving Sunset a feeling of catharsis. She smiled with determination to Twilight, who smiled back in kind. “Thank you, Twilight.”
“Sunset Shimmer! Are you here?” Celestia called out once more.
Twilight entered the room, shouting in reply. “She’s here, Principal Celestia!” Sunset followed closely behind, her eyes sparkling with renewed vigor. Her steps were light, yet filled with purpose, and the grin on her face was one she could not hide, even if she wanted to.
An uproar of cheers and applause was Sunset’s theme as she ascended the steps of the stage, joining Flash under the spotlight.
“You sure took your time,” Flash said with a smirk. “And no gloves?”
Sunset shook her head, smiling to the crowd in front of her. “I took them off.” She glanced in the distance, spotting Twilight waving to her with a large smile drawn across her face. “I don’t need them. Not anymore.”
Principal Celestia picked up a silver tiara embedded with various sparkling jewels and placed it softly on Sunset’s head. “Your Fall Formal King and Queen!” The crowd cheers doubled in volume. Sunset spotted Applejack and the rest of her friends gathered in the middle, yelling and whistling.
Fall Formal... Queen.
“You know, I don’t think the fact that I won has sunken in yet.” Sunset turned to Flash, only to see him offer his hand. She paused for a moment, but quickly placed hers softly upon his. The crowd parted automatically as they made their way down the steps towards the dance floor. “Just making it clear that we’re only just friends, right?”
Flash nodded slowly. “Still not pulling any punches?”
Sunset shrugged with a smirk. “Not my style.”
A slow waltz echoed through the hall and Sunset begun to circle Flash. Her steps were light as a feather, allowing her to glide effortlessly through the air. All attention in the room was on the Fall Formal Royalty as they moved in time with the music, weaving an almost hypnotic dance with each other.
Twilight sat at her table, watching the two from afar. She rested her head on her palm, smiling wide as she swayed along to the music.
“Not going closer, Twilight?” Applejack took a seat and one by one, her friends all gathered around her.
“Sunset’s had a rough week, I think she deserves her time in the spotlight.” Twilight pushed her glasses against her face. “Oh! And Rarity?” She lifted the two dirtied and crumpled evening gloves, returning them to their creator. “Sorry.”
Rarity took the gloves but just as quickly tossed them aside. “It took five minutes to sew those and am I glad Sunset threw these away! It clashed completely with her outfit and it’s out of style! I simply could not stand the sight of them.”
Soft giggles filled the air around the table. “Well, Sunset sure looks happy!” Pinkie sang at the top of her lungs. “Probably the happiest I’ve seen her yet!”
The others agreed quickly, giving a chorus of ‘mmhms’ as they stared at Sunset’s expression. The smile she wore was brighter than any dress in the room, even her own. It lit up the gym with the glow of a morning sun, giving off a light that Twilight had missed dearly. It was one unique to Sunset, and one that could never be replicated.
“Yeah.” Twilight agreed with Pinkie’s comment. As Sunset twirled under the light, she shimmered like a star that had fallen from the night sky. “It’s sort of like… well, like…”
“Magic?” Rarity spoke.
“Yeah.” Twilight watched as Sunset moved across the floor. There was no hesitation, no nervousness and, most importantly, no more fear in her steps. In fact, the amount of grace that she displayed struck Twilight with awe. As the tiara and the dress sparkled under the light, Twilight could only find two words to describe the scene in front of her, and she said them with a warm smile.