• Published 1st Nov 2014
  • 20,636 Views, 1,634 Comments

A New Sun Rises - CommissarAJ



Sunset Shimmer has never needed anyone or anything - she had her magic, she had her ambition, and she had intellect. Others just stood in her way or held her down. So what do you do when your plans for world domination fall through?

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Act II-V

My time under Princess Celestia’s tutelage had me see all varieties of dangers and challenges present in Equestria. While I may not have had to fend off changeling invasions or stop the return of Nightmare Moon, I’ve tackled my share of hydras, solved ancient mysteries involving archaic magics, and confronted eldritch horrors that would sooner turn you inside-out with a glare than say ‘howdy-do.’ As the protégé to her Royal Highness, I was expected to take any task in order to advance my studies. Personally, I relished any opportunity to flex my magical muscles as one could only cast so many growth spells before you started to get bored, and the groundskeepers lodged a formal complaint.

Between the dragon squatting and that one time I accidentally got into an honour duel with a gryphon prince, I thought I had pushed my courage to its absolute limits. And yet somehow I found myself standing outside of Vice Principal Luna’s bedroom door with both feet cemented to the floor in trepidation. It was the simplest of requests: deliver Luna’s dinner. If one saw me at that moment, they might’ve thought I was about to step into the pits of Tartarus.

In retrospect, most of my fears just came from the fact that I knew so little about her. While Celestia had taken steps to open herself up to me, Luna had taken the opposite stance and seemed to go out of her way to ensure that a wall stayed between us, quite often literally. I had yet to even see inside Luna’s bedroom, much less hold any decent-length conversation with her. Though I did get the distinct impression the cold shoulder treatment was because she didn’t like or trust me, I knew there had to be more to it than just a desire for privacy. My curiosity had already gotten enough exercise for one day, and my enthusiasm for anything was borderline comatose. All I was thinking about at that point was how Luna barked at me whenever I even glanced at her door, and I wasn’t looking forward to another round.

I reminded myself that I had long since outgrown diapers and that it was time to act my age and let go of childish fears. I reached out, and just as my knuckles were about to strike the wooden blockage, it swung opened just enough for me to be staring face-to-face with Luna. I couldn’t see anything past her, save for a glowing light source just out of view.

“What are you doing?” she asked with her usual prompt, no-nonsense tone.

All I could muster in response was a deer-in-headlights stare, and the occasional gargle as my tongue hugged the back of my throat.

“Oh, you brought dinner,” Luna said upon noticing the colourful boxes I carried. Her disposition made a swift about face as the corner of her lip curled upwards. “MacDougal’s, huh? I wouldn’t have thought the budget meeting would go that poorly.” She was about to head back into her room when she stopped and stared at me for a moment, as though remembering something. “How many apple pies did she buy?”

Now that was an odd question. Were I not still so nervous around Luna, I could’ve contemplated the issue on my own. Instead, I just had to settle with giving the answer and hoping that she would fill in the details.

“Two.”

“She wouldn’t order that many unless…” Luna’s voice trailed off for a second before a smirk crossed her face. “So how is Sombra doing these days?”

“He seems...good,” I replied. How in the world she managed to deduce an encounter with Crystal Heart’s headmaster was beyond me, and it did not help my sense of unease. “He got rid of the mullet, apparently.”

“I liked how he did his hair,” Luna said with the faintest hint of disappointment. She let out a quiet murmur as she shrugged her shoulders before disappearing into her room. The last thing I saw was her reaching into the kid’s meal box, muttering something about having the whole set. As the door clicked shut, my heart finally fell back into a calm rhythm.

“I’ve got to stop being so terrified of that woman,” I muttered under my breath. On the bright side, now that I had finished playing delivery girl, I didn’t have to worry about dealing with Luna for a while. Despite the late hour, I decided to get started on my newspaper article while the events were still fresh in my mind. However, thanks to the current punitive measures levied against me, I had to get permission from Celestia to use my laptop or connect to the wi-fi network.

I found my self-appointed caretaker down in the living room, sprawled across the couch after having been crippled by her battle with greasy meats and fried potato slivers. The sloven sight before me was quite unlike the usual pristine nature I had come to expect from her. There was an air of great burden about her, as though it was not the food but her own mentality that left her in such a subdued state. As I watched her take another bite of her cheap, one-dollar pastry, I realized that I was probably witnessing the equivalent of Celestia’s ‘depressed binge eating.’ To be honest, I don’t recall having ever seen Celestia, Princess or otherwise, be...sad. Of course, Princess Celestia was probably very experienced at hiding her emotions behind royal etiquette and protocol, but the Celestia before me had no such luxury at her disposal.

I tried my best to stay quiet as I approached Celestia from the foot-end of the couch. “Um, excuse me,” I spoke up.

“Hm?” Slowly, Celestia’s head twisted until she was looking in my direction. It would be difficult to describe the look on her face as morose or sullen, but there was a definite absence of the usual liveliness she usually carried with her. It was like looking at a house with all the lights off. “Is there something you need, Sunset?”

“I need my laptop,” I said. While there were many concerns and questions running rampant in my mind, I knew now was not the time to ask. I knew that if I were in her state, I’d feel even less inclined to have any heart-to-heart talks.

“Luna has it in her room. You’ll have to ask her.”

Oh, for the love of—

No sooner had I managed to pry myself free from that woman, I was marching back up the stairs for a second round. I wanted to be angry at Celestia for forcing me to have to go through her sister just so I could finish my work, but the only person to blame for my predicament was me.

This time my mission was clear, and I wasn’t going to let fear hold me back. I pounded furiously on the door, shouting, “Luna, open—!”

The door swung open abruptly, revealing an cantankerous-looking Vice Principal on the other side.

“—up…”

A brief moment of silence fell between us. If one listened very carefully, you could hear the sound of my courage curling into the fetal position and start sobbing. As her eyes narrowed, I felt a bitter chill crawl up my spine. I had a feeling that she was going to let loose on me for my insolence or something equally terrifying.

“What do you want?” she asked, same tone as the last greeting.

“I need my laptop to do some schoolwork.”

“Okay. Wait here.” The door closed once more and I heard her footsteps growing fainter. That went a lot more smoothly than I had anticipated; I was expecting to play twenty questions or face some kind of interrogation befitting such a staunch enforcer of the rules. I didn’t ponder over the issue for long because it soon dawned on me that I didn’t hear any distinct click of a lock when the bedroom door closed, which meant I could just open Luna’s door if I wanted to. Perhaps the high-and-mighty Luna liked to doll up her bed with pink frills and stuffed toys.

All I needed to do was grab the door knob and twist.

The temptation was so powerful that my hand was halfway to the knob before I realized what was going on.

“No! Bad Sunset!” I had to grab my own wrist just to wrest it away. There was enough animosity between Luna and me as it was, I didn’t need to go poking the dragon with a stick. My second-guessing couldn’t have come at a better time as the door swung back open just an instant later.

Luna raised a puzzled eyebrow, staring at what must have looked like a bizarre shadow puppet show with my hand still wrenched away above my head. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I insisted, tucking my hands away.

Whether she believed or just didn’t care, Luna said nothing else and just handed me my laptop with the reminder that I had to return it to her once I finished my work.

“I need the wi-fi password, too.”

“No.”

I wasn’t sure if it was the refusal or the sheer abruptness that caught me by surprise. Either way, I had no intention of taking ‘no’ for an answer. “Oh, come on! I’m trying to do some school work here, and you’re going to pull the rug out from under me?”

As Luna frowned and folded her arms across her chest, I knew my request had hit a sour note with her. “It’s a newspaper article about a soccer game,” she replied. “You don’t need the internet for that.”

“It’s for researching,” I insisted. “What? You think I’m just going to ignore my work and watch cat videos all evening?”

The conversation, if one could call it that, broke down in a hurry. I’d insist one thing and she would counter with some other outlandish accusation. I argued unreasonable constraints, and she reminded me that I made a giant hole in the front of the school, not that it had anything to do with using the internet or not. Now I was tempted to call her paranoid, if it weren’t for the fact that I did have some intention of using the internet for things other than research. It wasn’t for trivial reasons, but they weren’t the kind of reasons I wanted to discuss openly. Unfortunately, the more I insisted she was being unfair, the more she refused to believe anything I said.

To be fair, were the situations reversed, I would be putting up just as much resistance.

However, I did have a back-up plan in mind, and it came into play much sooner than I had expected.

“Luna, just give her the password already!” Celestia’s voice echoed from downstairs.

It took every ounce of willpower I had to keep from smirking as I watched Luna dig into her pants pocket and produce a small slip of paper. Suffice to say, she was not thrilled about being undermined by her sister, and the piercing glare she gave was enough to drill a hole through my face and give my occipital lobe a kick in the pants.

Just as I was about to take the paper slip, Luna seized me by the wrist and pulled me in close. “I’m watching you. Don’t you forget,” she sneered, just loud enough so that I was the only person who’d hear her warning.

“Would you stop treating me like a criminal?” I snapped back just before pulling away. There was another salvo of spiteful glares before we parted ways, and I was finally able to retreat to the relative safety of my bedroom. “I swear, it’s like living with a cop,” I grumbled under my breath.

Keeping Luna’s warning in mind, I opted to work on my assignment for a while, just in case there were any surprise visits. Slipping back into the role of a newspaper journalist felt like putting on an old, comfortable pair of jeans. I may have put on a pound or two in the year of absence, but I was soon pouring words onto the page like water from a faucet. I tried my best to keep my prose as similar to Gabby Gums’ as possible, but it was hard to try and cripple my writing style to match that of some kids several years my junior.

It took about an hour to get the first draft finished, and while that was longer than my usual given the article’s length, I was nonetheless pleased with myself. I felt it was an appropriate time to reward myself with some of that research I had in mind. With all the business of Sombra and Twilight Sparkle during the day, I had long been suppressing a near-overwhelming urge to indulge my curiosity. There was no way a prestigious school like Crystal Heart could exist without some presence on the internet, so I started with some quick and easy searches. They had a lovely web page for the school full of the usual embellishments and empty promises about how their school was the best in the county, and that any parent would gladly sell a kidney on the black market just to enroll their kid.

Given the tuition costs, most parents would probably have to do something that drastic.

I scoured the web site for pictures and information, but I didn’t find much beyond a headshot of their headmaster, mullet and all. In all honestly, it didn’t look as bad as I had envisioned: I was expecting something out of the eighties but instead it gave him a sort of ‘rich mediterranean’ air. It listed some of Sombra’s past accomplishments, which included a few accolades for ‘Educator of the Year’ and ‘Best Principal.’ In the photo galleries, I saw a few pictures with Miss Cadenza in the backdrop, though I noticed that none of the captions list her by her family name. It made me wonder how many people knew who she really was.

“Well that was a bust,” I muttered to myself as I scrolled back to my search engine. “Maybe the school has a MyStables page.”

I could always count on MyStables for all of my sleuthing needs. While the school’s web page itself might have been focused more on advertising, the people running the MyStables page had a different objective in mind. The page was more of a celebration of their school with scores of photo albums of the various school events: dances, stage performances, award ceremonies, and more. They even had a picture of Sombra duct taped to a door as part of some fundraiser event.

“I wonder if Celestia would be up for something like that,” I mused with a chuckle.

A member’s list page caught my eye, so I decided to take a peak. It was a long shot, but I decided to scroll down the list, and was rewarded with the image of a familiar purple-haired girl with ‘T. Sparkle’ listed underneath. I was curious to see how a girl as unsocial as Twilight lived on the internet, so I gave it a click.

I didn’t think I’d ever see a website more devoid of activity since that time Applejack made that ‘Everything you’d want to know about apples but were too afraid to ask’ website to try and drum up business for her farm. The only picture on Twilight’s page was her school photo, which marked the first time I had seen her with hair that resembled the concept of ‘tidy.’ But aside from a lone photo and some basic information about herself, there wasn’t a shred of activity on her personal page. Her ‘friends list’ was just as barren, which I found disconcerting.

“Maybe she just doesn’t care about MyStables,” I reassured my worries. There were plenty of people who had zero interest in that particular island of the internet, but at the same time it wouldn’t strike me as surprising if the page was an accurate reflection of the girl’s social life. I soon found myself hoping that disinterest was the reason as the alternative was too disheartening to consider.

Scouring through the rest of the photo albums on the school’s MyStables page yielded little new information. They had albums dedicated to every single club and interest group imaginable, and even some that I wouldn’t have even considered, but it looked like Twilight wasn’t a member of any of them. The only other pictures I found of Twilight were in an album labeled ‘Academic Achievements.’ There were several pictures of Twilight receiving medals, and from the captions it looked as though she cleaned house in awards for the various science and math programs the school offered. There was one picture that stood out: it was Twilight Sparkle on stage, next to Headmaster Sombra, receiving a familiar-looking plaque.

“That looks kinda like the plaque I got for that physics contest,” I muttered to myself. Reading the caption confirmed my suspicions and revealed something extra; Twilight ranked second in the school district that year. “Huh...so I can beat Twilight at something.”

The most peculiar thing about the picture was that Twilight Sparkle looked almost...forcing a smile for the camera. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say she was hiding her disappointment, but who would be feeling that way during an award ceremony? Aside from me, of course, but when I got my plaque, I was annoyed for having been duped into participating in the first place.

I was just about to call it a day for indulging my curiosity when I noticed that Sombra himself had a MyStables page with a profile link under the list of faculty members. There was no harm in taking a peek at a publically-accessible website, now was there? I wasn’t expecting to find anything too scandalous on such a page given that it was available for all his students to see. He posted a lot of links to various articles that the more studious-minded student might find interesting. There were even posts for local contests and competitions. It was strange to think that Celestia could have such a tense relation with a man who clearly loved being an educator as much as she did.

It was looking to be another dead-end when I saw something buried deep in the photo albums. There was a single album labeled ‘Fillydelphia’ and thumbnail picture for the album had what I swore was a picture of Sombra alongside Celestia. I wasn’t completely certain because the image was cropped for the preview, but I could see a glimpse of her unmistakable hair in the corner. I clicked on the album, but then my web browser suddenly went blank, displaying an ‘unable to connect’ message.

“What in the—” My computer soon informed me that my internet connection had been interrupted.

My worst fears were confirmed when I looked up to see Luna standing in the doorway, leaning against the wall with a smug look on her face. “Research, huh?” she quipped.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I replied while closing all of my web browsers. Despite putting on my best poker face, which probably needed work to begin with, Luna was not convinced.

As it turned out, she had her own ace up her sleeve. She held up her smartphone and smirked. “Kids aren’t the only people who can use technology to their advantage.”

It didn’t take me long to figure out what she was alluding to because it was exactly the kind of underhanded tactic that I would use. “D-did you put tracking software on my computer?” I snapped back.

“Maybe,” she answered with evident satisfaction in tormenting me, “or maybe it’s something else. Or perhaps it’s somewhere else. It would defeat the purpose of spying on you if I told you how and where.”

That was check and mate for all intents and purposes. I wasn’t about to scrub my entire laptop on the slight chance that she hid the program on my computer, especially since the punitive measures were only for the next week. I said nothing, voicing my capitulation purely via groans as I slumped back against the wall.

“And another thing,” Luna continued as she turned to leave, “please stop what you’re doing. I know you’re curious, but you need to trust my sister. She will tell when she is ready to share.”

Though I had been bracing myself for some warning speech, the one I received was not what I had expected. I would’ve imagined something involving more flared tempers and threats of impending doom, but instead what I got sounded more like a plea. Perhaps Luna suspected that being too authoritative would only drive me further on this quest. By making it a sincere request, I found myself questioning my own motives. Why was I so intent on finding out the truth despite knowing that it was a sensitive subject matter to Celestia? What did I hope to gain?

When I couldn’t find a satisfactory answer to any of those questions, I closed my laptop and called it a night.