• Published 7th Oct 2014
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Sunset Shimmer: Element Bearer - ConningOfficer

A heroine instead of a villain, Sunset Shimmer becomes a leader to her friends at Canterlot High. She begins by helping Sonata Dusk after the Battle of the Bands...

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The morning sun glistened off the dew-covered front lawn of Canterlot High School, its rays reflecting brightly off of the statue where the portal to Equestria lay dormant until needed once again. It was Monday, but this particular Monday was a joyful one for Sunset Shimmer. Her custom-fitted leather jacket draped over her left arm, she let the sun shine on her shoulders and arms, a broad smile on her face and a twinkle in her green eyes.

“Has it only been three days?” Sunset mused.

Canterlot High School hadn’t quite returned to normal after the past weekend’s Battle of the Bands. The entire city was abuzz with stories that were quickly mutating into legends and myths about how seven high school girls musically and magically broke the power of an ancient evil from another dimension. Even though thousands of Canterlot’s citizens had attended the final match of the Battle, most of them had trouble remembering the precise details until the three Dazzlings collapsed on stage, clutching frantically at the shards of the blood-red gems they always wore around their necks. Amazingly, the entire audience finished the performance looking away from the stage, instead focusing on the Rainbooms, Sunset Shimmer and Vinyl Scratch, who had set up their equipment atop the hill.

Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna sagely advised the press that the whole night seemed like something out of a dream and that the students should be given time and distance to recover from the incredible special effects presented by the Dazzlings and Rainbooms. Close observers could see Celestia giving a knowing look to Sunset Shimmer as the crowd transformed the Battle of the Bands into an impromptu weekend-long celebration.

For the first time since arriving in this new world, Sunset Shimmer entered the school as soon as the doors were unlocked and nearly jogged to her locker to retrieve two items. Before school started, Sunset had a very important letter to write. Arriving at her locker and opening it, Sunset considered hanging up her leather jacket.

Again remarking to herself and slipping into the familiar garment, “No, I still have a reputation to keep, at least for a little while,” she said, suppressing a very un-Sunset-like giggle.

Despite the disarray in the lower part of her locker, Sunset’s book compartment was very tidy. She reached for a thick oaken-and-brass bound journal with her mark on it – a red-and-gold sunburst with a sinuous line through the center that divided the two colors. If she had the courage to step through the portal and become a unicorn once again, that same mark would have been on her flank.

“One day, I’ll have to teach Rarity about the significance of cutie marks.” Sunset sighed. “She’ll need to be convinced they aren’t tattoos, body art or something else that’s changed as frequently as her clothes.”

The second item was a non-descript black pen case. Sunset opened it and inside was a precious gift – a custom pen with a large amethyst six-pointed star for a cap, and six additional smaller white stars circling the barrel. This sixth star was not an oversight, since the pony that gave the pen to Sunset didn’t have many lapses in her attention to detail. Artistically engraved on the inside of the small case was a brief inscription:

Never forget, it’s never too late to make the right choice. Thank you for saving me and for saving us all. Yours in friendship, Twilight Sparkle.

Sunset opened the tome to a blank page, uncapped the pen and began to write:

Dear Princess Twilight,

I can’t imagine how to thank you for believing in me, so forgive me for rambling. I have a feeling that this letter will not be a short one. We never had much of a chance to go over personal history and the events of the past few months while we were saving the world and you were worried about crafting the right counterspell. In the days after I was defeated and humbled by the Elements of Harmony, I struggled to make it through each day. Your friends – no – our friends warmed to me one by one and brought me back from the edge by helping me atone for my crimes against Canterlot High. They even gave me a hand rebuilding the front entrance. I still can’t believe that Rarity of all people assisted with bricklaying, and that she was good at it! I guess dress patterns and architectural plans aren’t that different after all. Of course, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie quickly warmed up to me in their respective ways – you know how open they are, and it’s nearly impossible not to smile at Pinkie’s antics once she gets started. It took months before Applejack and Rainbow Dash would speak to me directly, and even then, Applejack’s bluntness, no matter how well cushioned with her particular brand of tact, can be difficult to take.

When did things start to change? I think it was during the holidays we’d call Hearth’s Warming Eve in Equestria that I was able to finally look myself in the mirror and not see a fifteen-foot tall demon with fangs, wings and claws. The girls hung a felt stocking on my locker and filled it with small gifts and cards from all of them – and nobody ripped it down or stole it before I had a chance to open it. The candies from Sugarcube Corner, the apple fritters, the sunset earrings, the butterfly origami, and the rainbow scarf finally allowed me to let my guard down a little. The last day before winter break, Rainbow Dash invited me to attend their band’s rehearsal, and, well, things moved forward pretty well after that. I had to develop a thick skin about my past transgressions, though – even my new friends would slip up daily and bring up the day I tried to hurt them, and you. They quickly covered this with a sincere “no offense,” and I would reply with “none taken,” but this still wore on my patience.

This spring has been a blur, and now the past few days, with the Sirens’ arrival, your return, the Battle of the Bands, and now my writing to you. Twilight, I don’t know what to do next. I picked up the microphone that was thrown from your hands and sang what was deep in my heart at that moment. I can’t comprehend what happened. Maybe the other girls are more accustomed to the magic they feel when they play, but you and I are skilled unicorns and have a deeper understanding of magic. And, as an aside, one day you must tell me what nightmare you had that involves the name “Tirek”.

The bottom line is that what I felt with you and what I feel now when I play music isn’t a simple filly’s telekinesis spell or a teleportation spell. What we all did together restored a link from me to Equestria, but the magic is deeper and stronger than I ever remembered it being, even when I was Celestia’s student. You’re smarter and, well, more studious than I am. Please don’t give me any of the worry and humility you showed at Pinkie Pie’s sleepover. You are an alicorn who is coming into your own power, has just been granted a kingdom by the Tree of Harmony and is one of the most powerful mages in all of Equestria. I ask you, and practically beg you, to help me understand more of this magic of friendship and the power of the Elements of Harmony.

Again, we never had much time to talk. Piecing together Celestia’s cryptic references and my rather personal experience with the effects of the Elements, I know there’s six of them: Laughter, represented by Pinkie Pie; Honesty, represented by Applejack; Generosity, represented by Rarity; Kindness, represented by Fluttershy; Loyalty, represented by Rainbow Dash; and Magic, represented by you.

But, I wielded an element a few days ago. What was it? Help me understand.

Sunset looked at the end of her letter as students began to file in for school and wondered how to finish it. The sun’s rays through the window caught the amethyst star, now reflected onto the page, and inspiration struck her.

Your faithful student,
Sunset Shimmer

The former unicorn closed the book, which vibrated with eldritch energy. Sunset stood, walked into her first period classroom and took a seat at her desk. She gasped at the student that practically slithered through the door mere seconds before the bell rang.

Sonata had obviously been crying, with barely open red-rimmed eyes and a bruise on her left cheek which was badly disguised with cheap makeup. Her unkempt hair poked out of the sides of her stained, disheveled hoodie. The other students looked at her with disgust as she walked quickly to the back of the room, taking a seat in a chair instead of a desk, keeping as far away from the others as she could. As Sonata curled into a ball on the chair and faced the wall, the book in Sunset’s bag buzzed and glowed red for a moment. Forgetting the distressed Siren for a moment, Sunset opened the book with a sharp intake of breath. She read:

Dear Sunset Shimmer,

I have little time now, but your letter required an immediate response. I will write much more later, as we need to discuss that I am simply “Twilight” and I’m getting used to running a kingdom, let alone the hesitation I have with taking on a student. Let’s start with friendship.

I believe you represent an undiscovered element.

My theory is that you are the Bearer of Redemption.

Yours in friendship,
Twilight Sparkle

Author's Note:

I made minor edits to the Prologue on 11/26/2014 in an effort to fix several mistakes I made as a new fan fiction writer.

As noted elsewhere, the Prologue is my very first fan fiction attempt. I couldn't stop thinking about the end of Rainbow Rocks since I saw it with my young daughter in early October 2014. After a playground conversation with her about how important it was that Sunset Shimmer became "a good guy" after being "a bad guy", I became inspired and took my first step into the world of fan fiction.

Please help me improve my writing and help me keep the spark for writing this story! Thank you in advance!