• Member Since 29th Jan, 2012
  • offline last seen November 19th

Chengar Qordath

I write lots and lots of horse words; everything from comedy to drama. If you like what I write, please support me on Patreon.


This story is a sequel to Rise of the Phoenix Empress

It has been nearly nine hundred years since Sunbeam Sparkle claimed the throne of Equestria after Celestia’s abdication. In that time, she has forged Equestria into a powerful centralized empire that spans most of the known world. Even the distant griffons and zebras pay reluctant homage to the Phoenix Empress.

In this series of connected one-shots, we’ll be taking a look at life the new Equestria Sunbeam Sparkle has forged, through the eyes of its inhabitants.

Study Buddies: Sunset Shimmer and Twilight Sparkle are the Empress’ co-students. They also rather dislike each other, mostly due to Sunset’s less than friendly attitude. Can they find a way to work together to fulfill the Empress’ high expectations, or will they just end up trying to kill each other?

Chapters (22)
Comments ( 873 )

See, this is what Equestria Girls SHOULD have been like. It was fascinating to see Sunbeam's tale diverge in Rise of the Phoenix Empress, and this is a great foray into what contemporary Equestria might have been under her. The chemistry between Twilight and Sunset is as volatile as ever, and I love the way Sunbeam plays them off of each other.

Great start, bud, and I'm looking forward to more!

Really curious to see how this develops. Isn't many fics that explore what things could be like if Sunset had never left Equestria.

Glad to see this finally come to light. :twilightsmile:

Not sure why, but I didn't expect it to be a one-shot series. All the better! :yay:

Ministry of Heart

:twilightoops: Because the Greek letter rating system for unicorns wasn't enough. Let's introduce elements from an indisputable dystopia! Big Empress is watching, little pony.
(Okay, it's almost certainly not as bad as 1984. I guess I'm just oversensitive to the Orwellian.)

In any case, a great story here. That Twilight has the convictions she does, that she sticks to them so fervently, that the Phoenix Empire so resembles Equestria, it all says a lot about how nine centuries of rule have changed Sunbeam. Definitely looking forward to more from this universe, especially the Nightmare's reaction when she learns her sister is almost nine hundred years dead.

Comment posted by lordofmyth deleted May 14th, 2014
Comment posted by lordofmyth deleted May 14th, 2014
Comment posted by lordofmyth deleted May 13th, 2014
Comment posted by lordofmyth deleted May 14th, 2014

Why do you feel the need to put your name on the cover when it's literally an inch away, under the title?

suddenly i feel bad. i feel like i have had nothing but criticism since your winning pony series.

I´m still wondering what the fuck was Celestia thinking when she gave Sunbeam the throne. You don´t perform an experiment about power, responsability and redemption with your country and the entire world at stake.

This is absolutely wonderful! Sunset Shimmer's characterization is fantastic, and her whole rivalry/friendship with Twilight just reeks of sexual tension (I fully support this ship) and potential. Although Twilight is canonically the Element of Magic, I could really see it going either way between the two.

Sunbeam's character growth was refreshing to see, it really seems like she turned out great for Equestria, after all. She comes across as being every bit the wise, patient ruler/chessmaster that Celestia was, but much more hands-on about dealing with issues.


In the original story, as memory serves, Sunbeam extracted an oath from Celestia to cure her if it was within Celestia's power, and then this ended up being the only way. Basically, she played on her good nature, though Celestia ended up happy since it meant she got married and had children.


Celestia left Sunbeam clear she didn´t outsmart her in any moment. They were playing a different game, with different goals.

Comment posted by lordofmyth deleted May 14th, 2014

Equestria Girls did at least hint that at some point Celestia was considering Sunset for the Element of Magic, given that Sunset was her personal student and knew things Twilight didn't about how the Elements of Harmony (or at least the Element of Magic) worked.

Interesting, I will definitely be keeping an eye on this story. But first I need to read the series that came before this.

The previous story is nice if you want to know how Sunbeam took over Equestria, but it's not required reading for this.

This was so awesome, I can't wait until the next chapter!

Comment posted by lordofmyth deleted May 14th, 2014

this was really good I feel this is how Twilight and Sunset would act if they knew each other before EQG.


She knew what she was playing at, yes, but that doesn't mean she intended to forsake immortality from the getgo.

"“It was actually almost kind of nice, in a weird sort of way. I mean, I might not like her very much, but at least when I was talking to her about what I was working on, I didn’t need to stop every minute to explain something she was too stupid to understand.” I realized how that might sound, and hastily amended, “Well, somepony other than you, Your Majesty. It’s just that—”"
The last sentence of this paragraph doesn't quite seem to match the rest. Was there a rewrite in there somewhere? I can see what you were meaning to do ("Nice to have somepony with whom…", etc.), but the wording's off.

Other than that little glitch, however, I found the story quite enjoyable!

Twilight still seems to be realistically Twilight... although the lack of Spike (so far) seems to give the impression that she really did fail the Entrance Exam, even with her magic surge (which implies that the rainboom still happened at least.) She's providing hints that she's be a good Element of Loyalty (or perhaps Honesty) to Sunset Shimmer's Element of Magic, but then again, it's still only the first chapter.

4385208 Regardless, I have enjoyed many of your stories thus far and getting a little background information on a character's thought processes never hurt anyone.

more i read this the more......... off it feels. io do not like how it gives the feelign that she is doing a better job, when in reality her beahvior would antagonize the rest of the world. she has taken over several parts of the world, yet the british emprie did the same thing. it collapsed and they made a lot of eenemies.
while sunbeam is not going to abuse her powers, i feel, she has given herself a position that will end up oppressing others. Celestia worked hard to keep things in balance, in harmony, and doing so they had smaller lands under their control but superior stability. in other words, there should be lots and lots of trouble going on. she is ORder, not harmony. and Order is a lie, for you cannot bind chaos. it winds and twists and tightens like a spring, preparing the energy it needs to shatter Order. in other worlds she has turned equestria into a time bomb. worse yet it could be anything from demonic foes, to the very citizens of equestria themselves, to the populations of conquered lands.
harmony releases the tension of chaos by having order only take action when destruction is threatened.

also i hope sunset shimmer does not become an element bearer. twilight has spike, cadance, and shining armor that gave her the ability to open up. sunset might be more willing to negotiate with her here, but she wioll not be able to open up enough. she is not capable of baring an element, for the element of magic must also understand friendship, and sunset has no friends nor friend like relationships under her metaphorical belt. besides tiwlight has the emblem of the tree itself on her flank. the natural shape of the element of magic itself.

4384508 actually she was considering her for some other fate. sorry abotu the crappy picturing though she had some plan with her and the portal mirror in fact. she had her look into it, see her reflected, and Celestia saw the deep darkness inside of her student. she realized she made a mistake showing her it, and it is what leads to their break.
Sunset shimmer became obsessed with the mirror, and learned from a book it is part of some method to forcefully turn someone into either an alicorn or something much like one. she was infuriated that she was beign denied it, wanting to become celestia equal and stand by her side. celestai utterly refused, and ultimately sunset fled through the mirror.

....... actually she only knows about what the element of harmony can do because of that forbidden book. that is the sole reason and no other. she was not worthy of the element of magic........... even if you have issues with the comics, as some people do, this comic is 100% canon to sunset shimmer.

also if i am not mistaken, during this interim i think twilight had popped up for Celestia. not shown here but it seems to fit the timeline, about the right age when she took the test i think. so her appearance did not disrupt Celestia's original plans for sunset shimmer. and as tiwlight was marked with a sigil of the Tree itself, there would be no mistaking Twilight connection to the elements and harmony itself.

4384508 if i were to give a theory about what i think her intention, it was that she wanted to turn sunset shimmer into an alicorn. perhaps she sensed sunset had the potential for it. i think that is because no bearers of the elements had appeared, and time was running out till nightmare moon returned. so she intended to have sunset learned humility, to counteract her inner darkness, and use the mirror to transform her into an alicorn. nightmare moon is powerful, no doubt, but could not possibly match three alicorns. when twilight popped up, she still had that intention, as she saw a potential path for Sunset to grow strong.

perhaps just a head canon but all thigns considered it makes sense.

Hmmmm, so this world is doomed, then. I mean, when Luna comes back, and finds her sister, long long dead... she won't send Sunbeam to the sun, she'll just murder her.

Well, I'm doubting the whole world simmering with rebellion thing. But I also doubt that Sunbeam is 'better' than Celestia. I'm sure Sunbeam is even more manipulative and far more ambitious. She might even be smarter, after a thousand years of gaining knowledge. But she also lacks Celestia's pure benevolence and drive to aim for the highest good.

Equestria might be larger and mightier. But I doubt it's quite so idyllic or peaceful.

I guess it depends what you consider 'success', at the end of the day.

4388231 simmering I think it is. for simmering is when theh eat is low, and if unattended it can quickly become a blaze.

4388061 To say nothing of what happens when Discord gets loose.

There is no loyalty, honestly, kindness, generosity, or laughter in this place.

He'll reign supreme over his land of chaos... which will probably not seem too much worse to the inhabitants anyway. :raritywink:


Well the problem with that idea is that Celestia doesn't get to pick who gets what Element, it's destiny and while the elements remade themselves to look like the marks on Twilight's friends flanks, Twilight's cutie mark WAS the Element of Magic's base form from the get go. Until she saw that, the Elements were just rocks she left in an old castle.

Hell, take into account the five twinkling stars around the big one, and it could easily be put into consideration that Celestia thought Twilight would have used all the Elements of Harmony by herself once she learned a bit about friendship.

I think Celestia was training Sunset to be her replacement for when Nightmare Moon came back and the two of them had their M.A.D. showdown. Both of them would had died, and Sunset would have been left to rule Equestria since Celestia didn't know the Elements were an option until Twilight showed up.

How do Twilight and Sunset Shimmer even exist?

900 years of altered history... and we end up with the same ponies.

No. That's far too much of a stretch.

Sure, Celestia doesn't pick the Element-bearers, but assuming she doesn't automatically know who is destined to get the elements many years in advance, she can certainly still be grooming a candidate for the role. Granted, opinions vary a lot on the subject of how replaceable Element-Bearers are, and I prefer to think that it's not a matter or ironclad destiny. It feels more meaningful to me if their choices lead them to becoming the bearers, instead of it all just being a matter of destiny. That's gonna boil down to personal preference, though.

I will freely admit that, if we're going for strict realism, the Butterfly Effect probably would have wiped out all the familiar faces in Equestria. However, half the fun of an AU is seeing characters we know in different circumstances. So ... *Handwave* Blah blah Destiny blah blah Will of the Force blah blah Heart of the Cards... (Ignore the previous comment where I said I hate.destiny dictating things)

4388628 Oh, just deal with it, like every other AU that's ever happened. :ajbemused:

Anyway, ooh, I'm liking this a lot! I think you've nailed both Sunset and Twilight, and they have an excellent dynamic. I can't imagine Luna's going to be happy when she's freed from the moon, though. :x That's going to be a loaded issue.

I note that this fic isn't a continuous story, but rather a series of oneshots. Still, I hope we do see that bit.

4388872 It's a rather poor cliche to drastically alter the past and keep the same present-day characters solely for the sake of popularity rather than plausibility.

i like your story i really do

nice writing style

interesting view of character personalities

and neat way of showing the problem, that being said.....

i cannot absolve sunset shimmer getting away scott free for what she did. she was a bully and someone stood up too her, i've been in this kinda situation before, a few times, and it doesn't always come out with both sides getting in trouble or the bully getting away with it. what i'm attempting to say here is...

sunset needs a diciplinary action for what she did.

4387480 Twilight didn't know much about friendship at the start, so it still could be possible for Sunset Shimmer to be the element of magic.

4389455 she had those she opened up to. sunset does not have that advantage.

4388850 everyone thinks that it was metaphysical destiny stuffs with twilight's cutie mark....... but what if it isn't? what if what happened was that the tree CHOSE her? or some mystical connection itself appeared when she unleashed her magic, and the tree reached out.

think about what happened during the finale. ultimately they had the very power of the tree trasnfered into them for a short time, and then a castle like tree grew, able to channel their connection, and likely some of the tree's power as well.
from the looks of it the tree has its own Agency, the ability to make choices, and it chose twilight to help it aid those outside of the forest. as it is, the tree can only focus on binding the everfree. with twilight and her friends, its power can now aid those outside of the everfree.

4388628 that would only apply of the events that lead up to their existence were changed drastically enough for them to not exist. like......... i don't know, tiwlight's great grandfather married a zebra instead of whoever he did and it ended his blood line cause zonies are infertile.

put simply it is far too confusing and there is no way to determine if one ruling over the other would change all that much or change it enough.

...........i do know a story that covers this idea much better though. i forget the name, but the altered history is that Celestia was so heart broken over what she did she sent herself into exile, and thus did not rule for that thousand years.
basically while they have all the same characte existing, they are all different. because Ponyville never came into existence to begin with, because it was celestia giving the apple family the land they have that grew it.
biggest example is that Applejack's cutie mark is seeds instead of apples, representing a similar facet. with rarity she is a miner. just for some examples. and oddly enough the pony to help them all come together was actually Fluttershy, who met the now semi feral celestia shortly after gaining her cutie mark.

4388927 It's a theoretical science, not a hard one. And I operate off the firm belief that character development gets to push around everything else, at least a little bit.

Have issues with it all you like, but you're preventing yourself from enjoying nearly every AU on this site. I'm rolling with it for the same reasons I'll roll with Fallout saying nuclear waste can make you immortal or MLP having ponies that can cast magic. It's a base part of the universe, it's the established setting; it needs internal consistency, but it doesn't necessarily have to mesh with the real world.

4389935 ,.......... i have totally forgotten.

4389832 he has been having issues with the show itself too.

I wouldn’t really understand why she was smiling until the day after the thousandth Summer Sun Celebration.

...oh dear... Things just got interesting...

Hay, her brother was a colonel in the Phoenix Guard. Plus that brat of a little sister.

Who else is with me in guessing that it's Vinyl, or some AU-altered version of her?

gosh dangit! you do you do this? It hurts! You left us a cliffhanger worthy of being on the side of Everest! :raritydespair:

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