• Published 17th Dec 2014
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The Soul's Savior - Dusty Old Qrow



Sunset Shimmer has fallen. At her lowest point, she recieves help from a girl who helped beat her - Rainbow Dash. Meanwhile, CHS teacher Time Turner has his own journey of healing. How do their stories connect?

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Chapter 21: Love and War

Author's Note:

This chapter was written by a friend who seems to have vanished.

“Sunset?” Dash breathed in disbelief. The sight of her against the ruined room baffled the athlete. “You did this?!”

With a careless glance at the wreckage, the girl hopped off of the piano, giving a shrug as she smoothed out her clothes. “I had you guys in my heart.” She said in a cloying tone. Sunset fixed the girls with a frigid glare, no trace of the warmth or kindness she had been trying so hard to show within herself coming through in that gaze. She reveled in abandonment, standing as a picture of what she’d been before the Elements had rinsed her of the ill she carried in herself.

Dash’s chest tightened to see it. She looked deeply into the other girl’s opal eyes, searching desperately for just a hint of something familiar in them. Something that looked of Sunset.

And she saw it—resounding in the heartless, bitter depths of her gaze. She hated to admit it: that what stood before them all seemed more like Sunset than anything she had seen of the girl in the past few weeks. This was the Sunset everyone had known for years, and it shamed Dash to feel that all of the girl’s efforts and the place she held in her heart hadn’t yet washed that image from her mind.

She opened her mouth to speak, but she was embarrassed to feel only a helpless, quiet mewl quiver its way past her lips.

“Hold it there, Sunset!” She was glad to hear Applejack’s twanging voice from over her shoulder. It helped to mask her own feeble utterance. “How’re you gonna go an’ justify all this, after we’ve all gone through so much try’n to show you what it is to be a friend?” Her tone was faintly accusatory and almost condescending, as if she were trying to correct a spooked animal. She took a weary step forward, standing next to Dash with a stern look on her face.

The athlete took no comfort in her presence and looked to her friend with dissatisfaction. Applejack and the rest of the girls had gone through the effort of making amends with Sunset, which was more than what could be said for the majority of the school. But if Dash’s own conflicted feelings were any evidence, a short time as friends didn’t erase all of the time spent as victims. For all they stood for, she and her friends were still human, and their memories of what used to be were just as clear in their minds as they were in all of the students’ who hadn’t given Sunset the light of day since the Fall Formal. Dash only hoped that the rest of the Rainbooms were truly ready when they had decided to turn things around with the girl who had caused them so much grief in the years that they had been at CHS.

Sunset let out a flippant puff at Applejacks words. “What, you don’t like it?” She swept her arm over the room with a feigned pout on her lips. “After seeing Sweet Apple Acres, I thought you would have appreciated such a run-down look for the school. Or do hicks prefer the term ‘rustic’?”

A deep red flush crept up the farmer’s neck as she clenched her fists. She took another firm step forward, her body tense and her words grinding out through her teeth. “J-just you wait a chicken pickin’ minute-“

She was interrupted by a loud, mocking guffaw. “Sweet Celestia, you really are simple, aren’t you?”

Applejack flared. She never took Sunset’s jabs lightly in the past, but they stung with a hint of betrayal now—even if her trust in the girl had been tenuous. She advanced again on the flame-haired bully, but was held back by an alabaster hand on her shoulder.

Rarity’s gaze did little to soothe her, but Applejack backed down, crossing her arms tightly over her chest. Rarity kept her hand on her friend and cleared her throat pointedly before meeting Sunset’s challenging eyes.

“Sunset, dear… I know you might be feeling a little less than your best. But, surely you can see that this is all in senselessly poor taste.”

“Pffft… like you’d know anything about ‘taste’.” Sunset laughed as she looked Rarity over, scrunching her nose in disgust. “Honestly, I’m amazed that a clown would wear any of the tacky trash you put out. I think the only thing less appealing than the clothes you make is your personality.” She flipped her hair and placed the back of her hand on her forehead in a mock display of dramatic flair. “Oh, darlings…” she began in a warbling imitation of the fashionista’s voice. “I simply can’t comprehend why every man I’ve ever taken a liking to has such a superficial interest in me. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that, once you take away all the ‘finery’, I’m really as deep as a puddle in a pothole!"

The bully let out a contemptuous giggle, and Rarity placed her hand flat on her chest, completely aghast. Spike rushed past Rarity’s feet, standing in front of her protectively with his paws planted firmly on the ground. He bared his teeth and let out a low, rumbling growl.

“Hey, you take that back! Rarity is an amazing pon-… girl! Even if the worst thing you could say about her was true, she’d still be a thousand times better than someone like you!”

Sunset’s brows knit together at the sight of him, but she didn’t seem to hear what he said. “What are you doing here? Is…” She trailed off as she looked past the others at Twilight, who was making her way from behind all of the girls. A scowl flashed across Sunset’s face when the girl stepped closer to her, the mean-spirited mirth emptying out from her as her body tensed combatively.

Twilight stood before her; tall, challenging, and silent. She wore a guarded look of disappointment, as if she were a parent who had caught her child in a desperate lie. Sunset simply rolled her eyes.

Princess.” She said tersely. “Come to admire the work you put into turning this school around?” She crossed her arms, a smirk on her lips.

Twilight shook her head. “I’ve come to help my friends face yet another threat that’s going to tear everyone apart for selfish reasons.” She looked at Sunset pointedly. “I thought we might have succeeded the last time we tried that, but-“

“But you were wrong.” Sunset finished for her in a tone that could cut like a knife. “It took less time for everything to go back to the way it was than it did for you to change it. This animosity, this distrust and anger that everyone felt then and feels now… it’s stronger than anything you could have ever hoped to conjure up with the Elements of Harmony. You know why?” She blew a strand of hair out of her eyes and looked unwaveringly into Twilight’s. “Because it’s sincere. Take it from me… I’ve been a target ever since you left. Sure, everyone was going through the motions with each other and pretending to get along. But that wasn’t half as satisfying to them as taking the opportunity take a thing or two out on me. I’m sure you would have been proud to see them upholding your idea of friendship. Not that I blame them, though. It’s a lot more natural to be honest with your feelings than it is to ignore them so that you can play at making friends.”

“If that’s true, that’s not how I wanted to leave things.” Twilight said diplomatically. “I knew there would be more than a few students here who wouldn’t be able to leave everything in the past, but I didn’t believe any of them would act out against you and think that two wrongs could make a right. I didn’t want anyone to punish you, I wanted them to help you.”

Sunset scoffed. “They did. They helped me see just how much of a failure you are. You couldn’t use Equestria’s strongest magic to do your duty and keep them all in line. Everything you tried to fix here was broken again in less than a month. Face it, Princess: you’re unfit to rule.”

Dash couldn’t take it anymore. She rushed to Sunset, placing her hand on her shoulder and looking pleadingly into her eyes. The athlete held her there for a moment, almost frozen under the bully’s incredulous gaze. “Sunset, please, snap out of it!” Her voice dripped with emotion. “This isn’t you! I’ve seen you work so hard to make up for all the mistakes you made in the past. I’ve been right there with you when you’ve apologized to people that you knew would rather pound you into the ground than hear anything you had to say. You’ve shown me just how awesome of a person you are, a-and it means a lot to me. Y-you… you mean a lot to me… and…” Dash swallowed the lump in her throat and kicked the shakiness from her voice. “I know that you’re so much stronger than this. This isn’t who you are!”

Sunset simply stared at her, her eyes strangely blank and unfocused, like she had just been roused from sleep. But Dash frowned as she saw an eerie flash of green move across the other girl’s gaze, leaving the familiar impression of disdain in its wake. Sunset grasped Dash’s wrist and slowly removed her hand from her shoulder, raising an eyebrow at the athlete and fixing her with a defiant look.

“This is exactly who I am, Rainbow Dash. And the only mistake I ever made was trying to be anything different. If most here aren’t ever going to see me as anything but the girl who showed them all how pathetic they can be, then why should I go through so much effort to prove them wrong? And… well… if I’m being completely honest, this is just a lot more fun. Everybody else seems to be feeling that way too, for all the good the Princess has done. Why don’t you give it a try Dash? All that bluster and competitiveness… it’s not so much different.” Her lips curled up ever so slightly. “C’mon, how about you roll around in the dirt with me~”

Dash looked from Sunset’s eyes to her wrist still caught in the other girl’s grip, her blue flesh whitening where Sunset’s fingers dug in. She wanted to pull away, but the husk and firmness in the flame-haired girl’s voice and the strength of her grasped stirred something inside the athlete. She felt her face flare, and her heart pounded in her chest with something much more than angst. She looked back to Sunset, those aqua pools fierce and commanding.

“Sunset… I… I-I don’t…” She couldn’t finish her thought, though. Not when she could feel a slight tickle on her skin from the other girl’s breath.

She hadn’t realized they were that close.

Dash’s gaze fell and lingered on Sunset’s playful smirk. The athlete licked her lips.

A faintly irritated grunt sounded from the group, and Dash was wrenched out of Sunset’s grasp as Fluttershy zipped between them. The shy girl looked Sunset dead in the eye, leaning into her slightly. “Sunset Shimmer, why don’t you stop and think about what you’re doing? You’re throwing away all the effort you’ve made to show everyone that you’re a good person. We asked Twilight to help us fight the magic that’s made everyone so nasty and to help us find you, because you’re our friend, and we were worried about you. But you’re acting like a big meaning towards all of us! And why? Because you think that no one believes you’re sincere? Well that’s not true. I believe you’re really a good person, and Rainbow Dash does too. So why don’t you apologize for acting so rude and start acting like the friend I know you can be?”

Sunset gasped—everyone did. The bully shook her head in utter disbelief.

“And who do you think you-“

Fluttershy took another step towards Sunset. “Hmmmm?” She hummed expectantly.

Something in her eyes burrowed it’s way into Sunset’s Equestrian soul. She turned her head, but couldn’t seem to look away from the other girl.

“I… uhh…”

Fluttershy tapped her foot, gaze unwavering.

Sunset seemed to shrink, her words coming out in a struggled mutter. “I… I’m… sssseerry.”

“What was that?” There was a subtle, unfamiliar edge to Fluttershy’s whispery voice.

The bully shoved her fists into her jacket pockets and gave a petulant pout. “I’m sorry!” She grumbled, fidgeting in her place.

“For?”

Sunset grit her teeth. “For being rude…”

Fluttershy crossed her arms. “Do you think you’re ready to come with us to the auditorium so that we can stop the Dazzlings?”

The other girl’s eyes danced back and forth between Fluttershy’s before she looked down, suddenly very interested in her boots. She gave a single, almost pained nod.

Fluttershy’s pink tresses whipped around as she looked back at the others, a small, encouraging, and vaguely triumphant smile showing on her face.
All the girls simply stood in awe at the shy girl’s uncharacteristic display of dominance. Fluttershy blushed under their incredulous eyes and brought a finger to her hair, spinning a lock around her digit nervously.

Rainbow Dash shook her head slowly. “What. The. Fu-“

“We don’t have any more time for this!” Twilight’s voice broke in, less amazed by the situation than the others. She scooped Spike up off the floor and was already making her way to the door. “We need to find the Sirens ASAP! Come on… back to the original plan.”

Her urgency was enough to bring everyone else back to the present. They all shared a look of understanding before, one by one, they followed the Princess down the hall, Sunset begrudgingly slinking along behind them.
Rainbow Dash fell in alongside Fluttershy. “We’re gonna talk about this whole thing with the stare and the aggro-Shy after we’re done with the Dazzlings.” She whispered insistently before looking over her shoulder at the flame-haired girl. She looked completely sullen, her eyes still downcast and fists held stiffly at her sides. She glanced up briefly, meeting Dash with a nasty look before returning her gaze to the floor. Dash sighed as she looked ahead again, catching Applejack and Rarity peeking at Sunset as well. The two girls turned and whispered to each other, but Dash could just about make out what they were saying.

“I know the Dazzlings have their hooks in most everyone. But, don’t you think Sunset’s case is a little… extreme?” Rarity stole another quick glance at the bully

“Maybe Twilight was right. Maybe the Elements didn’t work. Ah think… ah think we made a mistake with her.”

“Well, once bitten, twice shy.”

Dash bit her tongue to hold back some comment or another. She looked desperately at Sunset again, feeling the chasmic distance between her and the others. Maybe it was always there, and she just didn’t want to admit it. Maybe she was stupid to believe that her friends would think any differently of Sunset than all the others at CHS. She thought that they had something, but it was only now, after whatever it was had crumbled around them, that she saw it was built on sand. Rarity, Applejack, even Pinkie Pie… they might have tried with Sunset, but they hadn’t seen what Dash saw in her… not really. Fluttershy might have been the only one to feel the same way that Dash did about the girl.

Still, she really hoped that Fluttershy meant what she said. Dash crossed her arms, thinking on what she told Sunset. She knew it was true; that her girlfriend wasn’t this spiteful person anymore. She just wished it wasn’t so hard for everyone else to see it too. Dash sighed, feeling frustration like Sunset must whenever someone gives her a hateful glance or mutters an ugly insult. Though she wouldn’t admit it to the other girl, sometimes things did seem a little hopeless to Dash. But the fact that Sunset kept trying to make things right despite that was one of the things the athlete lo-… liked most about her. Even when things were as bad as they were now, she would never have given up. It’s what made her certain that Sunset was sincere about turning herself around. She dipped her head and remembered the promise she made to the girl—what she said to her when things seemed at their lowest.

Dash nodded to herself. “Every step of the way.” She whispered.


The girls were met with cold shoulders and colder stares that followed them as they pushed their way into the auditorium. Some were surprised to see Twilight again, but most seemed not to care at all. That suited their purposes just fine, though. Twilight thought it would have been best to catch the Sirens off guard, which would have been difficult if everyone made a fuss about her returning. And the Sirens didn’t seem to be there yet, so they would have a little more time to prepare themselves.
Pinkie Pie had skipped her way over to where the sweets and drinks were laid out, a half-eaten cookie already in each hand. The others joined her, silent as they took in the sight of everybody. It was familiar to the Rainbooms, but it bothered Twilight to see everyone so isolated from each other. Sunset’s words rung hurtfully true now; the Princess couldn’t help but feel that she failed CHS.

She tried to pep herself up. She had just been made a Princess when she first came to the Human world. She didn’t quite understand her new power, and maybe that meant that she didn’t use it to its full effect when she and the others cast their spell. But she’d learned so much since then, so… if they all came together again, maybe their magic would be strong enough to protect Canterlot High once and for all.

She could only hope. With a small sigh, she turned to meet her friends at the table…

When the air rushed out of her lungs and she found herself careening towards the floor. She braced herself for the impact, but it never came. She was vaguely aware of an arm wrapped around her waist.

“Twilight?”

The girl shook the swimminess from her vision and first noticed a shock of blue hair. The voice was instantly familiar, as were the concerned, dreamy eyes.

Twilight felt her face heat up, and all coherent thought seemed to flush out of her head for a moment. “Heh… F-flash… w-we have to stop meeting like this. Or… m-maybe… maybe I should say bumping. Into… that is. Um… each other…”

She giggled lamely.

Flash laughed good-naturedly as he helped Twilight back onto her feet, keeping his arm around her. “Just when I’m getting used to it?” He gave an airy chuckle and let go of the girl. “When did you get back? Are you here for the battle of the bands?”

“Sssomething like that, yeah. The girls contacted me and said they needed my help.”

Flash smirked and puffed his chest out a bit. “Well, I think they’re gonna need it, ‘cause no one wants to win this thing more than my band! But, with you on their side, I think the Rainbooms will really make it a competition. I didn’t think anyone had a way to reach you, though. Do you… uh… mind if I get your number?”

“My what?”

“Your phone number?”

“My what num- OH! Oh… heh… I don’t actually have one of those…”

A hint of dejection, mixed with more than a little confusion, showed in Flash’s eyes. “Oh… but I thought you said that the Rainbooms were able to get to you.”

“They… uh… wrote to me, actually.”

“Ah, snail mail?”

“Well… usually it’s dragons. But…” Twilight swallowed, interrupting herself when she realized exactly what she was saying. “Um… enough about me. How have things been since—“

“Psst!”

The girl looked over her shoulder to see Applejack ushering her to the table. She turned back to Flash, holding her palms before her. “Heh, will you excuse me for a second?”. Before the boy could respond, she rushed her way over to Applejack, a quizzical look on her face.

“Sorry to break up yer reunion…” she couldn’t help but let a little sly grin slip through. “… but we got company.” The farmer led Twilight’s gaze to a trio of girls who had just pushed their way through the doors of the auditorium.

The Princess took note of them; the one on the left with the pigtails, the one on the right looking giddy, and the one in the middle with the… enormous hair. They all wore the same look of satisfaction, which seemed to grow as they looked over all of the sour-faced students. The three sauntered closer to the center of the room, looking outward at the discord they had sown and drinking it all in. They carried themselves so lightly, as if they didn’t have a single worry in the world.

Twilight aimed to change that. She looked to the girls at the table one-by-one. Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash. With all of them here together again, they could show these girls how much more powerful the Magic of F was than anything that sought to undermine it. She nodded to the girls, spared a glance to Sunset as the girl leaned cross-armed on the wall of the auditorium, and marched on the Sirens.

Over the quarrels and arguments sounding around them, Twilight could here the Sirens speaking amongst themselves. Their voices became clearer as they approached.

“…imagine what a tizzy they’ll be in by the time the Battle of the Bands starts.”

Twilight stepped forward and raised her voice high enough for the entire auditorium to hear. “There isn’t going to be a Battle of the Bands. We’re going to make sure of that!” She kept her eyes on the Sirens as she reached down to either side of her, taking Rainbow Dash’s and
Applejack’s hands in her own. Out of the corners of her eyes, she could see the other girls stepping forward and linking hands with each other as well. A triumphant smile spread across the Princess’, her heart swelling in the presence of her fiends. It was at moments like this that she felt her strongest.

Perfect. She thought.

She closed her eyes and tightened her grip around the other girls’ hands.

Friendship is magic!

Twilight frowned as nothing seemed to happen. She poked open an eye after a few moments of uneventful silence and was met with stares incredulous, confused, and derisive.

The Princess bit her lip as a stinging howl of laughter rang from Sunset’s place against the wall