The banner outside read “Congratulations Princess Sunset,” the red-gold letters fluttering over an abandoned street, a dusting of matching confetti continuing to fall since early that morning.
Sunset Shimmer sat quietly in her booth, a slowly cooling double hayburger with fries sitting in front of her, accompanied by an empty packet of mayo and a small vanilla shake. She heaved a sigh and leaned in to take a sip, the scratching of the straw through the lid almost echoing through the silent diner. With a clatter, the askew crown upon her head slid off onto the table. She stared at it for a moment, then finished her sip and leaned back.
Across the room, the only other occupant of the diner glanced at her briefly before averting her eyes. She, her nametag said Deep Fry, was a deep midnight indigo that clashed harshly with her brown orange Hayburger paper hat. For a moment, Sunset considered asking her for a set of napkins, if only to alleviate the silence. But then she remembered she was an alicorn here, and simply grabbed a few with her magic, the rustling of the paper almost painfully loud.
“Do you have to stay here?” Sunset asked, making Deep Fry glance up.
“Company policy,” she said.
“Ah.” Sunset went back to staring at her burger.
“So you’re like... a princess?” Deep Fry asked.
“Yeeeeep,” Sunset said, glancing at the crown still upended on the table.
“So, like,” Deep Fry tilted her head. “Could you order me home or something?”
Sunset rolled her eyes. “I princess Sunset, hereby do order Deep Fry homeward forthwith by all the powers vested in me by divine right of ascension.”
“With full pay?” Deep fry said.
“With full pay.” Sunset said, conjuring a scroll stating such and tossing it to her.
“Wooo!” Like a bolt, she was out the back door, leaving Sunset alone.
“Princess Sunset,” Sunset said. “Servant of the people.”
There was the jingling of the door bell, followed by the click of hooves, and the scent of smouldering mane. Twilight Sparkle slowly trotted up to the seat opposite Sunset, and slid in, her feathers letting out an odd crinkling as the burnt tips crumbled against the contact. Without a word, she lit her horn and grabbed Sunset’s burger, stuffing it in her mouth whole. She then did the same to her shake and a generous mouthful of fries.
“That bad, huh?” Sunset asked.
Twilight held up a hoof and swallowed, letting out a long suffering sigh as she finished. “Yeah, it is.”
“Rainbow?” Sunset asked.
“Probably over Saddle Ar--” She didn’t even finish before a dull boom echoed in the distance, followed by the sympathetic clatter of every loose piece of metal in the building. “No, it seems they’re picking up speed.”
“Huh,” Sunset said. “Who do you think will win?”
“I don’t even know. My Rainbow’s always been a pegasus, but yours has had to work out without the benefit of pegasus magic.” She shrugged. “So maybe she’s more fit?”
“I think she’s just angrier she doesn’t get to have wings all the time.” Sunset scooped a share of fries for herself.
“Probably,” Twilight agreed.
There was silence but for the crunch of fries.
“What about… Fluttershy?” Sunset finally managed, averting her eyes towards the window. Outside, most of Ponyville looked like it had undergone a full scale party artillery barrage, confetti still raining down like a blizzard.
“Yeah, she… I… I think they’re fine.” Twilight’s eyes darted away as well, her cheeks turning a ketchup red. Though some of that was definitely just ketchup.
“You saw it too, huh?” Sunset muttered, a soft blush rising to her own cheeks.
“In retrospect, introducing her to a pony she’d be totally comfortable with…” Twilight paused. “Might have been a bad idea.”
“Hindsight, huh?” Sunset said.
Sunset leaned in to take a sip from her shake, before seeing the ketchup smeared straw, and pushing it over to Twilight. “Here, I’ll just order a new one.”
“I… thanks.” Twilight resumed sipping from the shake as Sunset got up to order herself another double hayburger with fries. She then remembered she’d sent the only employee home.
“Horesapples.” She stared at the fryers, still hot, and sighed, trotting over and beginning to work them herself. “Figures my first act as Princess is working at Hayburger.”
“Where’s the staff?” Twilight asked.
“Sent them home,” Sunset said. “Didn’t want them to get confetti’d in.”
“That was nice of you.” Twilight glanced at her empty tray. “Could you maybe make me another burger while you’re back there?”
Sunset shot her a quick glare, before her expression melted into a smirk. “You want fries with that?”
“Yes please!” Twilight clapped her hooves together with foalish glee, making Sunset snort.
“Of all the lessons I picked up on the other side of the mirror, who would have guessed ‘deep fryer operation’ would be the first one I’d use?” She scooped out a batch of fries and made her way over to the grill.
“Where’d you learn to use a deep fryer?” Twilight asked.
“Basically here?” She shrugged. “Except they didn’t serve hay.”
“Oh, right.” Twilight paused. “What’s it like?”
“Soft, not as much texture. Really… savory. Way too greasy, at least I thought so at first, but apparently you get a better gallbladder over there to go with the hands.” She trotted back with two fresh meals in tow, setting one before Twilight and one before herself. “Bacon’s better though. Texture’s a lot more crisp. Doesn’t… feel as weird.”
“Hmmmm.” Twilight stared long and hard at her burger, as though imagining its otherworld counterpart. She took a chomp of the patty and hummed, ketchup on her face. “I think I’ll stick to hay for now.”
“Is this place usually this dead?” Sunset asked, taking a sip from her new shake.
“Just during states of emergency. Figured I should just declare one the way things have been going.” Twilight glanced outside again. “I’m glad I ordered those new snowplows.”
“That was good thinking.” Sunset nodded. “How often do you…?”
“Wayyyyy too often,” Twilight sighed.
“Have you considered, you know?” Sunset raised an eyebrow. “Moving?”
“Briefly,” she snorted. “You ever try selling a crystal castle on the real estate market?”
“Not really, no,” Sunset answered.
“Don’t,” was all Twilight said.
“Duly noted.” She sipped her shake again.
The two sat for a while, watching the confetti begin to form drifts on the sides of the streets, the few ponies unwise enough not to leave struggling to wade through them.
“AJ?” Sunset asked.
“Arguing.” Twilight answered.
Sunset just nodded.
Twilight took a hayfry and swept it around her ketchup, mopping up the last dregs.
“How’d you stop Midnight Sparkle?” Sunset asked at last.
“Books.” Twilight answered simply. “And I left an atlas on the front desk with a few other libraries marked. We’re good for a week. Two if she actually needs these.” She pulled a pair of glasses out of her wings, before tucking them back inside.
“I’m kind of jealous.” Sunset said, before glancing at Twilight’s confused expression. “Your evil side is cooler.”
“Oh!” Twilight blushed a little before waving it off. “Nah, I mean, she comes with built in glasses. Yours is a classic, and… maybe a little hotter. No pun intended.”
“You’re into that, huh?” Sunset smirked as Twilight blushed, before taking the last slurp of her shake. “Good to know.”
“So, what now?” Twilight asked, changing the subject.
“Well, I guess they technically did put the crown on bef--” Again she was cut short as another boom echoed in the distance, nearly rattling her tray off the table. “They’re still getting faster?”
“Somehow,” Twilight sighed. “I think we’re going to be digging them out of a crater when they finally crash.”
“I just hope they don’t hit anything important.” Sunset bundled up her meal, and pitched it into the garbage. “Well, I suppose we should…” She turned her eyes to the windows, letting out a heavy sigh.
“Yeah.” Twilight picked herself up, glancing at the table before picking up Sunset’s crown. “Don’t forget this.”
“Oh, yeah.” Sunset held it for a moment, then glanced out the window again, before looking to Twilight. “You wanna just take off?”
“Huh?” Twilight blinked.
“Yeah, like… to a beach or something.” Sunset glanced at her crown. “Maybe it’s just the faux high schooler in me, but… I mean they’re all going to wear themselves out on their own.” She shrugged. “And you said yourself Midnight’s not going anywhere for a while.”
“I…” Twilight turned outside, where a pair of Rarities had emerged, screaming bloody murder at the endless storm of party decorations that was slowly burying the town’s entire aesthetic alive. Behind them, two Spikes hurried along, evidently able to tell which Rarity was *theirs*. “I know a place. You ever been to the Maribbean?”
“Nope,” Sunset chirped, finally beginning to smile in earnest. “Shall we?”
“I think we shall.” Twilight balled up her own meal and pitched it in after Sunset’s.
“You could use some sun anyway,” Sunset quipped as Twilight came up beside her.
Twilight glared at her. “And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“You know exactly what it’s supposed to mean,” Sunset answered, sticking out her tongue.
Twilight hmphed, and a moment later, the two disappeared in flashes of cyan and violet.
Empty, the only sound in the diner was the quiet crinkle of the colored paper falling outside, and the sizzle of the forgotten deep fryers.
The resulting fire was seen all the way from Manehatten.
The Maribbean, however, remained blissfully unawares.