• Published 30th Jul 2014
  • 5,590 Views, 318 Comments

Seven Days in Sunny June, Book II - BlueBastard

Sunset Shimmer's return to Equestria has her seeking to stop whatever it is causing her foster sister nightmares across the boundaries of two realities. But the challenges she faces will test her ability to handle the consequences of her past

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Monday, AM: As we Lie Here

Author's Note:

While it's not required, I would highly recommend that readers do not read 7DSJ Book 2 before they read A Hairy Problem and its sequel Rise of the Furball. This is not so much because not reading them will make it impossible to follow this story, but those stories will provide the full context of certain character details and mentioned past events that will occur in 7DSJ, along with obviously being very spoilerific for those two stories. Reading 7DSJ Book 1 is required, of course, but you probably figured that part out if you haven't read it already.

2/23/15, 8:37 EST - The great Book 2 Revision begins!

Monday, AM: As We Lie Here

The first thing Sunset realized upon regaining consciousness was that the place she was now in had an atmosphere of…stillness. For the past half-decade, it seemed, she’d gotten used to the noise of something always going, always doing, always moving: the HVAC in the house she’d been living in for the last few months or so – it felt like forever now, even if she’d spent just a fourth of the time there as she had in that shithole of a warehouse – the occasional sound of a car driving somewhere, even the easily identifiable noise from a jetliner cruising many miles overhead, there was always something making noise such that “quiet” never quite meant its full meaning anymore.

But here, quiet reigned. Sure, there was the occasional tweeting of birdsong, the rustling of leaves in the light breeze, things that silently screamed “Nature!” Those weren’t constant noises, though, as for the most part there simply was nothing - a peaceful nothing.

Sunset was unnerved and yet calmed by the sound of silence. Anybody would easily be at ease with such pure, natural surroundings, but what unnerved her was twofold. First, she felt the raw power of abundant magical ley lines in the air, a feeling she hadn’t felt at all in a year, and not in this kind of strength since she left Equestria. It didn’t take a genius to figure out the mirror had in fact been another link between the worlds of ponykind and humanity. Second, she was in some really, really old castle ruins, the likes of which she had a good guess of its identity despite never having visited before: Castle Everfree.

Of course, as Sunset started to lift herself up from the ground, she barely even registered having to compensate her sudden change of height and perspective, or her skeletal structure having forced her to return to quadrupedal stance. It was almost as if such changes in her body were becoming second nature, that if either world allowed her to assume the form not normal to them, she would have no problem going back and forth between the two. The implications did frighten her, though, as it left her questioning which world she belonged to...if she belonged to either species in either world anymore.

Then she got an even bigger shock as she turned to look at her reflection in the mirror. The fact the mirror was lined with silver instead of gold was unnoticed, the mare’s eyes too focused on what that lining held. As expected, the Equestrian side of the mirror was a reversed version of the gem placements on the human side, with Celestia and Faust’s marks on the left and the two moon crescents-in-clouds on the right. But that’s where the comforting similarities stopped and the true nature of the mirror’s origin became clear.

The innocent looking gems on the human side corresponded to outright colored crystal caricatures of the alicorns they represented, the presence of two near-identical blue alicorns seemingly at odds with the recognizable shapes of Princess Celestia (though oddly only pink haired) and Queen Faust. Sunset didn’t know who the blue alicorns were, the idea one of them might have been a Princess counterpart to Vice Principal Luna posed itself, but Shimmer quickly dashed it. Celestia had never mentioned having a sister, so it was just as possible Luna didn’t even exist as a pony, much less a princess.

But that didn’t change the fact the quartet of alicorns were all seemingly miserable, their legs and necks shockingly chained with the carved iron lengths running up along the edge of the mirror towards the top, where the most unclear shape of the gems became the clearest of the ponies on the mirror. While Sunset didn’t know who it actually was, she knew it was not Star Swirl the Bearded, leaving the question of the black unicorn’s identity a mystery. His motives, however, were quite clear as he held all the chains in his tightly gripped hooves. Even without a voice his evil laughter seemed to ring in her ears, delighting in the misery of his four captives.

What a great way to be welcomed back, thought Sunset, hoping the mirror’s fearsome true side was not indicative of how her visit back to the world of ponies would go. Turning away from the mirror, she also made a mental note to remember how to get back to it when she had to go home. If I survive, that is. No way Celestia won’t eventually learn of my return, and if she’s angry enough to incinerate every last atom of my body…well, I’d be lucky.

As it turned out, Sunset noted that the room she and the mirror were in had only one doorway leading out of it. Of course, being a thousand-year-old ruin, said doorway had long since collapsed and prevented any possible way of entering the room conventionally. But as Sunset only knew too well from her self-inflicted downfall, she tended to do things unconventionally out of habit. So, without any thought put into whether or not she was even capable of magic – the more powerful, couldn’t-do-as-a-human kind - she quickly spied what looked like a stable platform in another part of the castle and teleported there.

The instant she reappeared, Sunset clutched her head and gave an agonized groan. Was teleportation always this hard? Sure, she was out of practice, but now that she was back in her own world, Sunset figured her magic would have come a little more naturally. Her teleportation now had almost been as hard as when she had teleported to save Twily from being hit by that...

Sunset’s heart started to quicken as her mind’s eye was suddenly filled with images of her foster sister’s mangled body sprawled out on the road. Oh God, Twily. Please hold on! Sunset wasted no more time, running through the ruined castle as fast as her legs could carry her, searching desperately for a way out. She had to find whatever was hurting her sister as soon as possible. It wasn’t long before she stumbled into what had been Castle Everfree’s throne room. It looked to be in rather good condition, given the forces of nature thrown around through that hole between the two thro-

Wait. Two thrones? I know Celestia said Castle Everfree had once been the seat of power in Equestria, but why would there be another throne? Sunset couldn’t recall her former mentor ever mentioning having shared power, nor did Celestia ever say having been on a throne alongside Queen Faust. In fact, Sunset didn’t know a whole lot of anything about Castle Everfree, save that it was where Nightmare Moon was born and the first battle between her and Celestia had torn the castle asunder. Everyo-no, Everypony was familiar with that story, it was sort of the backstory to why ponies celebrated Hallowee-

Nightmare Night. Wow, I’ve been in the human world so long, I’m having trouble remembering the versions of their holidays I used to enjoy as a filly. Sunset thought. I’m wasting time, though; I gotta get going.

Sunset picked up her resolve and continued on her way. Though if this was the Cradle of Nightmares, it was yet another reminder to Sunny of the evil that resulted from power abuse. In fact, as she left the mysterious room of dual thrones, she felt the lingering signs of dark magic itself. It was tantalizing, almost literally whispering in her ears the promises of unlimited power and wealth if she was to just try and tap into it. The power to save Twily.

“N-NO!” she screamed. Having been both out of touch with that kind of raw power and befallen those false promises before, Sunset’s immediate reaction was to hurry the hell out of there. Sunset found an overlooking window space and let the overpriced cafeteria food from the museum find its way hurtling down at nine-point-eight meters-per-second squared.

Trying to get the taste of magically-induced vomit out of her mouth, Sunset cried, “I’m not that Sunset Shimmer anymore! I’m different! I won’t fall for those lies anymore!

She briefly needed to sit on her haunches and catch her breath, a few tears trickling from her eyes. Not even an hour back and already she had felt the temptations. Unless it’s the work of whatever the fuck is hurting Twily through those nightmares. Sunset gritted her teeth in anger; if that’s what this evil wanted - to turn Sunset back to the dark side - then it was going to regret ever messing with her sister.

Sunset took a moment to get her bearings, taking advantage of the spectacular view from the rampart she’d ended up on. The sky was crystal clear, save for the birds still flying off in fear of an angry ex-princess-to-be. Sunset could see all around for miles, the sheer natural beauty making her push the darkness out of her head.

And then she saw it.

In the first year she’d been trapped in the human world, Sunset had noted just how the landscape of Equestria seemed to be taken from the fanciful illustrations in human fairy tales. Now that she finally saw Equestria again through appreciative eyes and not on industrially-printed paper, it truly was like a fairy tale in how just in the distance, beyond the edges of the Everfree, sat a small hamlet of civilization. It was almost comical in that while the majority of it looked like a piece of humanity’s Tudor-era style cottage design in housing, there was a stereotypical farm in the background complete with a big, red barn.

A cloud over the town seemed to be producing rainbow-colored waterfalls out of nothing, the cloud itself serving as the foundation for some house. Probably a well-to-do pegasus who worked for the town as mayor or something. In the middle, though, was the key landmark: a giant treehouse. Not a large, blocky structure built in the leaves of a tree, but an actual structure built from a tree. Then, on the side of the town farthest from Sunset, the peaks of what looked like tents could be seen. They reminded her of some renaissance fair that Flash Sentry had taken her to on a date some time back.

Sunset decided that the best course of action was to find Princess Twilight. Even if that’s not the town Twilight’s in, considered Sunset, then at least I can find out where to go. And with that, the unicorn merely teleported down to the ground before galloping down what seemed to be an open path through the Everfree that would take her right to the town. And Celestia help any mangy beast that tried to stop this mare on a mission.

About an hour later, Sunset emerged from the depths of the Everfree, finding herself at the sharp cut where the forest ended and civilization began, gasping for breath. She had made excellent time through the Everfree. Mental images of Twily lying on the bathroom floor in a puddle of her own blood saw to that.

Sunset looked at the various ponies milling about the streets a fair distance away. The first thing she noticed was how blissfully carefree they all looked, smiling and nodding to each other as they passed. A stark contrast to how Sunset was feeling at the moment. The maize coated mare looked down at a nearby pond and observed her reflection. The pony looking back was run ragged, lines of worry and fear etched across her face. Every instinct in Sunset’s body told her to just run into town and find the source of Twily’s nightmares as quick as possible. Her reflection told her otherwise. It wouldn’t do her foster sister any good if everypony in town thought she was a raving lunatic.

So, with some reluctance, Sunset practiced putting on a friendly smile. It took her a few tries before she finally came up with something that looked convincing. Something that didn’t look like she was crying inside. Taking in a lungful of air, Sunset strode into town, keeping up a natural smile.

But what didn’t feel natural in the least was how she was able to just trot into the town with nothing but a smile…and nothing happened. Here she was: Sunset Shimmer, an extremely powerful and dangerous unicorn, walking into what looked like a sleepy little village, and nobo-pony reacted. Back at Canterlot High, the past year had seen her become accepted as just another regular student, despite what she had done. Here, though? None of the ponies seemed to think she was any different, even though they were far more likely to recognize her for her worst crimes. Just smile and nod, Sunset. Smile and nod. Or at least that’s what she thought, until her distraction caused her to accidentally bump into another pony.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” apologized Sunset. Her heart was racing, hoping that the pony she’d just made contact with wouldn’t immediately run to alert the guard.

“Nah, no big deal,” said the pony, turning around to face Sunset. To Sunset’s total surprise, she immediately recognized who this pony was, without ever having met this pony. Well, she had met this pony before...sorta.

“P-Pinkie Pie?!” she asked, double checking just to be sure.

“Huh? How do you know my-“ asked Pinkie, confused before suddenly coming to a horrifying realization, gasping dramatically. “Oh no! You know who I am, but I don’t know who you are! But…but I know everypony here in Ponyville! Unless…unless you’re a new pony in town!”

“Uh, yes?” cringed Sunset. She did not like where this was going, especially when Pinkie’s muzzle stretched into a wide, crazed grin before the pink pony dashed off to who knew where. Sunset prayed it wasn’t to alert the authorities to her presence, but at the same time, the fact it had been Pinkie Pie – or, at least a pony extremely similar to her – somehow eased Sunset’s tensions. It wasn’t as comforting as knowing what Pinkie was actually doing, but Sunset didn’t need the stress to freak her out any more than she’d been earlier. In fact, if that had been Pinkie…

Then are the others around this place as ponies, too? She wondered, resuming her leisurely trot to the tree in the center of town. She didn’t know what the tree was in terms of being just a house or public services building, but as the centerpiece around which the town was apparently built it would serve as a start to getting her bearings. Though given Pinkie Pie was here, Sunset was positive that meant the others were here as well. Sunset wondered if that meant Princess Twilight also lived in this village. Heck, she didn’t even know which town this was outside of not being Canterlot. Maybe this was the Equestriani version of San Palomino or something?

But then she walked past the edge of one building, making the turn to head straight towards the tree, and her heart skipped a beat when she saw the sign indicating the tree building’s name: Golden Oaks Public Library. As silly as it seemed for somebody like Princess Twilight to live in such a common-looking dwelling, much less the public library, the name being the same as that of the street upon which her family lived couldn’t have been mere coincidence. Only one way to find out, thought Shimmer as she boldly made for the door and knocked three times.

“Just a second!” called a voice from inside, too muffled for Sunset to recognize if it was a voice she was familiar with. But then suddenly, the door swung inside the tree, revealing none other than Princess Twilight Sparkle herself. Her gentle and warm smile dissolved into shock as she recognized the pony at her doorstep, “Su-Sunset Shimmer?!”

“Princess Twilight!” exclaimed the unannounced guest, throwing herself into a bearhug on the flustered princess. Her wings flaring up in shock, they produced enough power to unbalance their owner, subsequently causing both unicorn and alicorn to topple to the ground. Sunset didn’t seem to notice, her joy overwhelming. “Oh, thank goodness you’re alright, and that I found you in time!”

“It’s, uh, good to see you too, Sunset?” said the princess cautiously, gently pushing the now-clingy ex-archnemesis off of her so they could both stand up. “To be honest, I’m really, really surprised to see you, given that, well, the last time I saw you was in that other world of, uh…”

“Humans,” said Sunset. “The creatures native there, the ones we turn into with the hands and small noses? They’re called humans.”

“Ah, okay, so the ‘human’ world. Got it. But still, even if the portal was open – which it can’t be and thus your presence here is impossible – how are you here? Wait, how do you know where I live?”

“Would you believe finding you was nothing but total luck?” asked Sunset, a big smile on her face in an attempt to lighten the circumstances of how Twilight seemed to think the boundaries of space and time were torn somewhere. When Twilight’s skeptical look didn’t vanish after a few seconds, Sunset’s smile dropped instead. “Seriously, I don’t even know what town we’re in right now. After coming through the mirror, this was the first settlement I saw and-“

“Lying to me is not a good idea, Shimmer,” Twilight interrupted, her face now a mask of distrust. “We both know the mirror between worlds isn’t open, yet you keep insisting you came through it. Even then, this couldn’t have been the first settlement you came to, since the mirror is still in the Crystal Castle like last time, when you stole the Element of Magic from me and nearly ruined both this world and the human world!”

Sunset started to cower slightly, knowing this was the point where she was beginning to sink into the proverbial hot water. “P-Princess, please, I apologize - I should have been more clear! The mirror you’re thinking of isn’t the only one of its kind!”

“You’re saying that there’s another mirror?” Twilight inquired, slightly curious now but unwavering in her dominating position. “One that, somehow, nopony has ever known about yet would have to have been created from powerful magic like the one connected to that school?”

“Y-yes!” Sunset nodded furiously, “I only learned about it by total chance, myself, but it’s in a sealed off room in that old ruin in that forest! Castle Everfree!”

Twilight carefully scrutinized Sunset for a few more moments. “Okay, fine, assuming you’re being honest about there being a second mirror in the castle ruins – which you are going to lead me to later – it still doesn’t explain why you’re back in Equestria. That said, considering your history in meddling with powers far beyond your control and-“

“No! I swore to change my ways, don’t you remember? I’m only here because I want to protect you, Twily!”

“Twily?” asked Twi, confused. “Just because we’re on good terms now – at least I think we are – doesn’t give you permission to use something only my family is allowed to call me.” Still, the princess backed down, giving Sunset some breathing room. She took advantage of it, taking in a deep sigh.

“I’m sorry, it’s just…there’s a lot I need to explain to you. I’m on your side this time, your majesty.”

Twilight slowly nodded. “Oh-kay…I still would like to know the reason why you’re back in Equestria in the first place, beyond just ‘you’re here to protect me’.”

Sunset dared to smile a little. “Just think of this as me repaying you for saving me from myself last time, since-“ she suddenly noted something in the corner of her vision, which upon glancing over slightly stopped Sunset in the middle of her sentence.

There, standing in the doorway to what might have been a small kitchenette-and-dining room, was a perfect copy of Sunset. Well, almost a perfect copy. The pony’s mane and tail were styled the exact same as Shimmer’s, but beyond a second of a glance there were very notable differences. For starters, her colors were much more muted, a coat of mulberry matched to a mane and tail mix of cornflower-blue and lilac with eyes of a crimson rose. Her cutie mark was a baby blue gem in the shape of a heart, with radiating gems of red, purple, and yellow circled around it. But oddest of all was on her left leg, on which she wore some kind of leg brace over the middle. On the central component was an embossed line drawing of a heart – similar to the one in her cutie mark – wearing a crown with two hooves positioned as if holding the becrowned heart.

The whole time, Sunset stared wide-eyed at the new arrival. Aside from the colors, she looks just like me. But, that would mean...

“Sunset, are you okay?” asked Twilight, unsure of what was going on. Following Sunset’s gaze, she saw that the other pony in the library had been noticed. Twilight rapidly looked between the two ponies before shaking her head and laughing. “Never in a thousand years would I have guessed you two would have the exact same choice in mane styles.”

“Choice?” said the still-unidentified mare. “This isn’t really styled like, say, Rarity’s mane. I mean, I brush it so it doesn’t look like bedhead, but more or less it’s naturally like this.”

“Mine…too…” slowly agreed Sunset, wary of the meaning of another similarity.

Twilight, sensing the need to do something, figured the polite thing was the optimal choice and so introduced Sunset to the other mare. “Sunset Shimmer, this is Raspberry Beryl: Princess of the Ancien Regime of the Crystal Empire and Head of House Sombra. Razz, this is Sunset Shimmer, my predecessor as Celestia’s protégée and, uh, the only other pony to be able to use the Element of Magic besides me.”

“It’s a pleasure,” said Razz, managing a nervous smile and walking forward to join the other two ponies. When within range, she held out a hoof, which Sunset took with some trepidation.

“Likewise, your highness,” answered Sunset, though her smile was somewhat forced and her right eye may or may not have slightly twitched at the idea that a pony who looked so much like her had attained what she once felt was rightfully hers. Of course, the similarities between this Raspberry individual and Sunset herself were freakishly duplicated, like they were intentionally of the same mind in terms of personal stylings… and evidently age. “I apologize, but I’ve been out of touch with the status of the Equestrian royalty for a couple of years, as I don’t recall anything about a ‘House Sombra’ being of any standing.”

“That’s, uh, because there wasn’t one. Not until recently, since my relation to King Sombra was discovered.”

Sunset blinked a few times in confusion. “And just who the hell is this ‘King Sombra’ guy?”

Raspberry seemed shocked at the question. “You’re kidding, right? I thought everypony knew about him, at least after he tried to reconquer the Crystal Empire.”

When Sunset’s confused look remained firmly on her face, Twilight laughed. “Sunset’s been in a place very far from Equestria. Far enough that she wouldn’t know what’s happened in the last few years. ”

“Ah, alright then. Obviously, you two have some catching up to do, and since we finished lunch, I’d better head on back to the Retreat.” Without another word, Raspberry happily let herself out.

“Okay, Sparkle,” Sunset growled the second the door was closed, “what am I missing here?”

“Missing what?”

“I randomly come in here to find a pony who looks similar to me right down to the hairstyle that you happily introduce to me as a princess? You do know why I left Equestria in the first place, right?”

Twilight nodded cautiously. “Well, yes, you wanted to be a princess, but I’m guessing that’s not why you came back?”

Sunset shook her head. “Nope, not interested in being a princess anymore, but-“ Once again, before she could explain the reasons for her being back in Equestria, somebody else came to interrupt. The door to Golden Oaks swung open to reveal a pint-sized dragon, colored purple and green, with a fiery phoenix chick happily perched on his head.

“Hey, Twilight, Pee Wee and I ran into Razz on the way back so Heelee went with her and- what is she doing here?!”

Sunset was, in a word, stunned. “Wow. Er, so…you actually weren’t lying about being a dragon.”

Spike was unamused. “Yes, because dogs normally talk don’t they?”

“Hey, easy you two, let’s not destroy the library, alright?” asked Twilight, good-naturedly. “Why don’t you go up and clean your claws while I get you something to eat, then we can get back to work.”

“Alright…” warily said Spike, slowly walking towards the stairs, phoenix chick still smiling happily on his head, but the dragon didn’t take his eyes off of Sunset until he was past the halfway point on the stairs.

“He really didn’t like being turned into a dog,” Twilight explained, “so he sort of still blames you for it.”

“Oh, don’t worry, he’s still getting his revenge on me on the other side,” Sunset said with a grin.

Twilight eyed her curiously. “I get the feeling you have a lot to tell me,” Twilight glanced in the direction of the kitchen. “You hungry?”

Sunset nearly answered no. There’s no time. I have to save Twily! But then she realized that she was feeling a bit peckish. Probably because she’d deposited her lunch over the side of Castle Everfree earlier. Smile and nod.

“Sure, I can go for a bite.”

In a few minutes, Twilight had fixed a daisy and daffodil sandwich for her guest, and the two of them were sitting at the table. Twilight herself had already eaten, but she started to boil a kettle of tea for both of them. Sunset then proceeded to give Twilight the rundown of her life since the infamous Fall Formal incident, starting from when her improvised home had been demolished and she’d moved in with the human version of Twilight’s family. Of course, Sunset had intended to give Twilight a bare bones description so she could get to the heart of why she was here, but the Princess kept interrupting her to ask questions. This ultimately led to Sunset’s abridged tale becoming drawn out to at least ten minutes before she finally decided to put her hoof down.

“Listen, Twilight. I need your help. You see, the reason I’m here is-”

A high pitched whistling noise in the kitchen abruptly cut Sunset off. The unicorn mare couldn’t help but glower. It seemed like every time she tried to breach the topic of Twily’s nightmares, something stopped her.

“Oh, that’ll be the tea,” Twilight said standing up to make her way to the kitchen. As she did, three firm knocks sounded at the door. “Oh, shoot! Sunset, can you get that?”

Sunset rose to her hooves and made her way toward the front door. She figured it must be some friend of Twilight’s at the door, and couldn’t help but wonder whether she might see Pinkie Pie or any of the other ponies she’d come to know as humans. Those thoughts stopped as quickly as her heart when Sunset opened the door to a pair of large white unicorns clad in shining golden armor.

“Sunset Shimmer?” the one on the left asked as he and his partner leveled steady glares at her.

Sunset couldn’t speak, couldn’t move. Outside just past the two guards was a sky chariot complete with two armored pegasi and another unicorn standing at the ready. Her heart racing, Sunset could only manage a shaky nod as her answer, and the two ponies shifted their positions slightly. Another pony might have missed it, but Sunset knew they were readying to take her down should she prove to be uncooperative.

“Come with us,” the stallion on the right said sternly.

A few moments later, Twilight Sparkle emerged from the kitchen levitating a pair of tea cups, only to find that her guest was no longer there. Furrowing her brow, Twilight set the cups down on the table and made her way to the front door. She opened it just in time to see a sky chariot full of armored ponies and a single fiery-maned unicorn take off. Forcing herself to take a calming breath, Twilight shut the door and turned around.

SPIIIIIIIIIKE! Did you send a letter to Princess Celestia about Sunset being here?”

“Come on, Twi! Sunset’s the reason I had to suffer being a talking dog for a few days! Plus she wanted to take over Equestria! I think Celestia needs to know!”

Twilight turned slightly pale. There was no telling what was going to happen to poor Sunset now.