• Published 25th Sep 2016
  • 10,072 Views, 1,973 Comments

Spectacular Seven - The Albinocorn



As graduation draws near, magic begins to awaken in the human world, drawing out old rivals and opening the doors to new adventures. It's up to Sunset and her friends to keep Canterlot safe, all while dealing with their looming futures.

  • ...
 1,973
 10,072

PreviousChapters
Phoenix Rising III: Pomp and Circumstance

Sunset and Twilight had returned to Prom just as the final song had ended. They weren’t perturbed in the slightest. They had shared a dance over the ocean; what was the dance floor to them now?

Flash, of course, had been named Prom King, and in a pleasant surprise, Ditzy had been crowned Queen. Rarity had been a little put out, but Sunset assured her that, if she had run, Rarity would have won in a landslide.

The nine of them stayed out until well past midnight, taking the limo to a sweet shoppe not too far from the hotel. They spent half an hour recapping to Flash what had transpired on the roof, and when Sunset saw Twilight emotionally retreating, she changed the topic to their last two weeks of school.

After dessert, they were dropped off one by one, Twilight and Sunset sharing one more kiss while Trixie pretended to gag behind them.

“I’m sorry about Moondancer,” Sunset said as the limo took them home.

Trixie looked out the window, her expression sullen. “So am I. I can’t believe she would side with our mortal enemy. Though, maybe Twilight is right. Maybe she doesn’t have a choice.”

Lamia slept for two days following Prom. Like Artemis had said, Selena did not take immense pleasure in housing the thief, but did so out of kindness to Sunset. They kept her on a cot in the second spare bedroom, filled with a random assortment of extra clothes and other moving boxes that had been left in storage.

Sunset returned home after school on Monday, surprised when Spot was not waiting for her as she opened the front door, but was instead upstairs, barking at the closed door to her room. Sunset opened it and found Lamia lounging on her bed, reading one of her old science notebooks.

“Finally,” she said exasperatedly. She sat up and tossed the notebook away. “Do you know how bored I was waiting for you? You don’t even have a diary or porn magazines to read in here.”

“Why would…” Sunset pinched the bridge of her nose. “You could at least say thank you. I could have easily sent you to jail.”

“I was getting to that.” Lamia got off the bed and stretched, popping her shoulders. “Oh man, this is the best I’ve felt in a month.” She let out a relieved sigh. “Okay, listen, kid. Your tattle-tailing is the reason I got wrapped up in all this, so in a way, this is all your fault.”

Sunset grit her teeth, feeling a rush of expletives rising to her throat.

Lamia held a hand up. “But, I also admit, maybe I didn’t make some of the best decisions along the way.” She walked over to the window and gazed out it. “I got tired of fighting all these people with magical powers. My luck had turned real sour real fast. They said that if I took that magic you had, it would give me an even playing field. I was dumb enough to listen.”

She turned an eye on Sunset. “They wanted to see if they could put a soul in another body, and I was their guinea pig. I don’t know how you do it. They put that… demon thing inside me and I couldn’t keep a lid on it. All I felt was hatred and jealousy and… it hurt.”

Sunset eased her jaw. “Yeah… it takes a lot out of you. But I’m not fighting with it anymore. I’ve just come to accept it.”

“Hmph. Sounds cheesy.” Lamia crossed her arms. “But what I’m trying to say is yeah, I’m sorry for going a little too far with wanting revenge. And thanks for taking that demon out.”

“You’re welcome.”

Lamia flopped back onto Sunset’s bed. “So why didn’t you send me to jail?”

Sunset picked up the notebook Lamia had tossed and put it away while looking for anything else Lamia had mishandled. “I wanted to hear your side of the story. You were in pain when we came up to the terrace. And I wanted to see what you knew about Tempest and what she’s planning.”

A tense silence fell between them. Sunset turned and saw Lamia had sat up, but was staring fixedly at the carpet, her mouth twisted in a grimace. She raised her hands and ran them down her face.

“I… I’m sorry. I didn’t want to… but I lost control…”

Sunset walked over to her. She held a comforting hand out but was unsure if it was the right gesture. Lamia didn’t notice. She continued on her own.

“Tempest took me around… as Scarlet. She… she would use her find other people with magic and… and take their souls like she took yours. Then…” Lamia’s voice trembled. “Then… she… I… I killed them…. Burned their bodies to ash.”

Sunset dropped her hand. “Oh…” She moved and collapsed onto the bed next to Lamia. Suddenly, she could see the fire in her mind’s eye. It was hazy and distant, like how her memories had been when her soul had been fractured.

An aching sadness pierced Sunset. Mournful tears for the lives lost slid down her face. She dropped her head into her hands. She had committed…

No!

She snapped her head up. No. It had not been her who had done that. She would not feel guilty for a crime she did not commit. Remorseful, yes, but not guilty. Sunset stood up and moved in front of Lamia again.

“You didn’t kill those people,” she said firmly.

Lamia looked up at her, eyes damp. “Yes I—”

“No, you didn’t. Scarlet did. Tempest did. But not you. And not me. Scarlet was a force that belonged fully to neither of us. She had her own will, her own motivation. Yes, she spawned from me and my tampering with powers I didn’t fully understand, and yes, she was used through you. But neither of us had control of her. She was her own entity. So I refuse to believe that I murdered those people. And you should too.”

Lamia stared up at her, not looking as convinced as Sunset could have hoped. Still, she gave a weak nod and took in a composed breath. “Yeah… yeah, sure. All right.”

Sunset didn’t believe her, but left it alone. “What else can you tell me about Tempest and her plans?”

Lamia leaned back on the bed, still looking distracted. “Not much. They kept me in the dark about most things. Even their base. They met a lot in Moondancer’s fancy house, but Tempest would take me somewhere else via her freaky portals. They’ve got like, a lab somewhere underground.”

Cliché villains are cliché.

“And Tempest,” Lamia continued, “man, she’s changed a lot. When I met her, she was just some explorer. She was really frail though. Wheezed and coughed a lot. I don’t know what happened, but whatever power she got is apparently pretty healthy for her. She got a freaky shadow arm out of it."

“You’ve met her before?” Sunset asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Yeah. Met her in Brazil. She was hunting some super rare snake, and I thought it’d be fun to tag along. Well, we found it, and I thought to myself, ‘this would make a really great pet.’”

“So you stole it,” Sunset deadpanned.

“And named him Jórmangandr.” Lamia folded her arms behind her head. “So yeah, she didn’t take too kindly to that. Forced me to work for her after she caught me stealing stuff for Loony Moony.”

“Yeah, that revenge street runs two ways.”

“Hey, if it helps, I’m done trying to get revenge against you. Load of good it’s done me so far.”

Sunset sat down at her desk. “So, what are you going to do now?”

Lamia glared at the ceiling. “Tempest has my snake. I’m going to get him back, we’re going to steal something, then I’m finally going to retire to Greece.”

Sunset snorted. “Good luck with that.”

“Also, can I crash here for a bit? I’ve got nowhere else to go, and I think Tempest might try to hunt me down in case I ‘know too much.’ I figure here’s probably safest.”

Before Sunset could respond, a voice from down the hall yelled, “Absolutely not!

*******

The remainder of the semester passed without fanfare. Sunset caught up in all of her classes thanks to Twilight and several more study/violin/make-out sessions that were interrupted by Shining just checking if Sunset still needed anything after her ‘harrowing incident.’ Moondancer no longer showed up to school, and while Sunset wanted to say she didn’t care, her absence left a forebodence.

Artemis tried several times to visit the manor but no one ever answered the door. He had even spied on the house two separate nights, yet neither Moondancer nor her father made an appearance.

With begrudging acceptance, Lamia was allowed to stay with the Lulamoons. Sunset vouched for her, using herself as an example.

“You took me in. And I did some pretty bad things, too.”

“Yes, but you were sorry for it,” Selena argued.

“Hey, I said I was sorry too,” Lamia said. “I didn’t want to get tangled up in all this magical shit.”

“Plus, her manners are terrible,” Selena growled.

Sunset shrugged. “You got me there.”

Lamia made an annoyed sigh. “I promise, I’ll be on my best behavior. I’ll probably be in my room most of the time anyway.”

“It’s not your room,” Selena said, her growl getting lower.

A full hour of negotiation later, and the Lulamoons had a new guest. Out of all the ways her life could have gone, Sunset would have never guessed she’d be sleeping under the same roof as her dimensional counterpart.

Finals week dawned on the seniors of Canterlot High. Accumulated tests of everything they had learned during the past semester stood between them and their caps and gowns. Like at the end of the semesters before, exam anxiety ran high, and nerves were tested.

“Sunset, quiz me!” Twilight shouted during lunch on Monday, shoving her chemistry notebook into Sunset’s hands.

“Didn’t we do this yesterday?”

“Quiz me again! I will not fail my tests and get stripped of my valedictorian status! I already told my parents!”

Rainbow looked up from her own notes, eyes red and bleary. “I’m pretty sure it’s impossible for you to fail a test.”

“You don’t know that! What if I sit down and just forget everything?”

“Then wouldn’t studying be ultimately pointless?” Pinkie asked.

Twilight began to hyperventilate.

Sunset smacked Pinkie on the head with the notebook. “Sparky, you’re a genius. You’re going to be fine. But if it helps you relax, yes, I’ll quiz you again.”

The exams began the next day, starting with history for Sunset. She looked at the four page, double-sided packet laying on her desk. The solace in this is that I’ll never have to worry about history again.

She looked over at Rarity, gave her an encouraging thumbs up, and set to work. Of course Mr. Noteworthy couldn’t make an easy test. Many of the questions were fill in the blanks or short answers with only a handful of multiple choice. Even with the two hours allotted, Sunset ran the clock down with her precise answers and need to triple check everything.

Her test in English wasn’t as stressful. Two pages of multiple choice and true or false questions followed by a short essay. She finished it with time to spare and studied for her remaining tests after handing it in to Miss Cheerilee.

Wednesday brought the heavy science tests, starting with physics. Even with her abundant studying, the exam left Sunset chewing on the end of her pencil as she re-read each question before writing out an answer. She could feel an oncoming headache by the end of it, and still had chemistry to get through. Lunch would have been a welcome respite, but she spent half of it keeping Twilight calm.

“Fifteen percent of our grade. Fifteen!

“And you already have a one-hundred,” Sunset said reassuringly. “You’re fine.”

“Yeah, even if you completely tank it, you’d still pass the class,” Rainbow said in a confident voice that told Sunset she was at least trying to be helpful.

After practically spoon feeding Twilight her lunch, it was time for chemistry. They sat next to each other, and Sunset gave Twilight a kiss for good luck before the tests were handed out. Mr. Cranky didn’t pull his punches either. The sheer amount of numbers and letters crammed next to each other was enough to make one’s head spin. The questions were multiple choice, but solving for each of them would take forever.

She took a quick peek at Twilight, seeing her pencil already flying across her scratch sheet of paper. Well, if she can do it, so can I. Sunset put her pencil to the page and got to work, hyperfocusing for the next two hours on the formulas and problems before her, stopping only to chew on her pencil, then pinch herself to get her to quit it.

When Mr. Cranky called time, Sunset dropped her pencil and her head against the desk. She could see Twilight leaning back in her chair, looking quite pleased with herself. When the bell released them for the day, the test was all Twilight could talk about.

“Number twenty-seven really threw me for a loop the way it was worded. Proof that critical reading skills are necessary in all fields, not just English. Oh, but what did you think about number thirty-one? I think a lot of people might get that wrong since you have to correct the formula before plugging it in.”

“You did?” Sunset rubbed the side of her head. “Aw, horsefeathers.”

Twilight patted her on the back. “I’m sure you still did great.”

“Yeah, we’ll see.” She lightly punched Twilight’s shoulder. “I told you you were panicking for nothing.”

Twilight pushed up her glasses. “It was not for nothing. That was our hardest class and the test was worth fifteen percent of our final grade. I was panicking the right amount.”

“Whatever you say, babe. So, how’s the speech coming along?” Sunset should have known better than to ask. Twilight stopped walking and looked like a deer in headlights. “And here we go again.”

They spent Wednesday night going over speech drafts for the graduation ceremony before cramming in one last study session for their final classes. By the time Thursday came to an end, and Sunset had finished her econ and trigonometry tests, she hoped she would never see another number in her life.

The halls on Friday were decorated with streamers and confetti in their school colors. Hanging in the rotunda was a banner reading ‘Congratulations, Seniors!’ Yearbooks were handed out in their first class, and the periods were spent trading them around and having them signed.

Sunset and Rarity sat side by side, flipping through the pages of memories. She found Rainbow in five of the sport teams shots, holding a trophy in each one.

“Goodness, look at my hair!” Rarity held the book away from herself. “I knew I should have ran a brush through it one more time! Oh, now I’m going to be haunted by this forever!”

Sunset leaned over and saw Rarity’s picture with the fashion club. “Rarity, your hair looks fine.”

“Do you not see it?” she hissed, shoving the book closer. If Sunset squinted, she could see one small fiber of hair sticking out in the back. “How could I have been so careless? And on picture day, too!” She swooned.

“Rarity, people are only going to know if you point it out to them,” Sunset said, trying to keep from sounding too annoyed.

“But I will always know!”

Let it go, Sunset, you’re fighting an unwinnable battle. She continued browsing the book, finding the page on the Fall Formal. There were several shots from the dance on one side, and on the other, a full picture of Princess Twilight wearing her crown.

Sunset chewed on the inside of her cheek. She let the feelings of guilt and shame run their course. Thinking on that night would always bring an unwelcome twinge. But, one deep breath later, and the thought of everything she had gained from that night, and Sunset was fine again.

Still, as she looked down at Princess Twilight’s photo, lingering resentment still swirled inside her. Something about the princess’s face still ticked her off. The girl who had taken everything from her, beaten her, then left. She went home to Celestia, with a crown and a kingdom to look forward to, while Sunset had to suffer and struggle in this world. Sure, half of her suffering was her own fault, but she had stood tall and cleaned up every mistake, no thanks to the princess. Even with everything she had gone through, Sunset’s animosity toward Princess Twilight couldn’t be snuffed out.

Mr. Noteworthy handed out their grades, pausing to give Sunset a rare, if tiny, smile. “Congratulations, Miss Shimmer. Perhaps you’ll still make something of yourself.”

Old Sunset would have said something snarky. Heck, Sunset from a month ago would have too. This Sunset just took the compliment and turned her paper over, finding an A+ in the box next to history. Rarity squealed beside her, showing off her own A.

Miss Cheerilee gave a short speech on how she would miss all of them before handing their grades back. Her smile to Sunset was much warmer as well, going nicely with her second A+. Before lunch arrived, Sunset had three perfect grades, tying her with Twilight.

“Maybe they’ll switch us at the last second and I’ll be valedictorian,” Sunset said teasingly.

“You’re forgetting that I took six AP classes. You only have five,” Twilight said with a confident smile.

Rainbow waved her report card. “I’m just happy I passed. You know what they say, ‘Cs get degrees.’”

“You’re gonna do so great in college,” Applejack said dryly, showing off her two Bs and an A.

They passed around their yearbooks, writing long, heartfelt messages to each other. In Pinkie’s case, she took up a whole page, explaining in detail how much she loved each of them and what made them special. By the end, half the table was in tears and sharing long hugs.

“You guys are so sentimental it hurts sometimes,” Sunset said, finding herself caught between a sobbing Pinkie and Fluttershy.

“Hello, pot, we’re kettle,” Rarity said, dabbing her eyes.

Sunset and Twilight received their grades from their final classes, A+s for both of them. As the final bell for their high school career rang, Canterlot High burst into jubilant cheers and cries of victory that sang through the halls. Papers and notebooks were tossed into the air, practice for the ceremony tomorrow.

As the girls convened in the rotunda, Sunset took one last look at the trophy case. “Hard to believe we never have to come back here again.”

“It’s very surreal,” Rarity said. “Four years worth of memories are in these halls. Now we’re on to bigger and better things.”

“Yeah.” An honest smile graced Sunset’s lips. “Bigger and better.”

*******

Her cheeks hurt from smiling so much. “Artemis, come on. We’re going to be late.”

The camera flashed again. “Okay, okay, just one more for Trixie. Smile, baby girl!”

Trixie posed and smiled again. “You should enjoy this while it lasts, Sunset. After all, it’s only going to happen once for you.”

“Ha ha.” Sunset smoothed out her blue graduation gown and adjusted the sash over her shoulders. “We can take more pictures after the ceremony. Remember, I have to help lead the procession and give one of the first speeches.”

Selena opened the front door and pointed outside. “She’s right. I’d hate for them to be late today of all days.” She turned her head to the stairs and shouted, “Hurry up and get down here!”

Lamia descended, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and thick sunglasses. “I’m all happy for you, really, but why do I have to go? I didn’t even go to my own graduation.”

“Because I trust you here alone about as far as I can throw you,” Selena said. “Now, march.”

Thanks to Artemis’ insistent picture taking, finding parking around Canterlot High was nearly impossible. They had to park two blocks away and walk at a brisk pace to make it one time. But, the sun was bright and the weather surprisingly cool for the last week of May.

Sunset hurried to the front of the line, waving at all her fellow graduates and watching them dance anxiously as they waited to enter the stadium.

“You’re almost late,” Twilight said. She had done her hair in a braided ponytail today. Her gown also looked a size too big for her, the sleeves completely covering her hands.

“You look like a child.”

Twilight swatted her with her sleeves. “I told them small! Apparently, someone shoved a medium into a small bag, and I got this!” She groaned. “And I’m wearing heels. What if I trip? The whole stadium is going to laugh at me! Then, when I go up there to speak…” Her face paled.

Sunset reached for her hand, having to dig a little for it. “I’ll be with you the whole time. So if you trip, we’ll at least go down together.”

At Twilight’s giggle, the stadium speakers crackled, and Miss Celestia began to speak, welcoming family and friends. A wave of butterflies passed through Sunset’s stomach. She had made it. She had ran out on her studies before she could finish at Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. It wasn’t a degree in magic, but the swell of accomplishment rising through her told her these years in the human world hadn’t been completely in vain.

Celestia’s speech ended, and ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ flared to life, uplifting and triumphant. Miss Luna opened the gates to the stadium and picked up the school flag. “Single file behind me,” she said over the rising violins. “Best behavior, all of you.”

Falling in step behind her, hands still locked together, Sunset and Twilight entered the stadium to a congratulatory roars and a storm of applause. The stands were packed to the brim, parents cheering and crying, friends whooping and blowing air horns, and cameras flashing everywhere. Sunset spotted Artemis and Selena, an easy feat with the miniature fireworks coming from Artemis’ wand. Lamia sat next to them, looking bored even with her sunglasses on. She saw Pinkie’s entire family sitting in the front row, all of them stone faced. Twilight’s family sat not too far away, Velvet and Cadence already blowing their noses.

Rows of white chairs lined the football field with a stage set up at the home team’s endzone. The students passed under an archway of balloons to get to their chairs, walking down a blue carpet that matched their gowns. Sunset and Twilight took their place at the front and looked back at their friends, two rows behind them. Pinkie waved enthusiastically and shouted, “Good luck!”

The music hit its crescendo as the last student walked onto the field and sat down. There were a few open chairs left, and doing another quick scan of the students, Sunset knew one of them had been meant for Moondancer.

“Welcome, this year’s graduating class of Canterlot High School!” Celestia said, pausing to allow the students to cheer for themselves. “You have all worked so hard over the course of this interesting year, and that hard work is reflected in the diploma’s you’re about to receive. I am proud of each and every one of you, and know you will go on to create bright futures, not just for yourselves, but for the world around you. Now, to officially welcome you on this momentous day, please welcome your fellow classmate, who we are thrilled to have safe and healthy again, our salutatorian, Sunset Shimmer!”

Sunset rose from her seat to an enthusiastic applause. Twilight gave her hand an extra squeeze before letting go, and Celestia gave her a welcoming smile as she walked onto stage and up to the podium. Looking out at the sea of faces, her heart pounded. You can do this. Show how easy this is for Twilight.

“Fellow students, welcome to the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. The road to get here wasn’t easy, and I know for many of you, I made sure it was even harder. I can never apologize enough for how I treated some of you, and I don’t expect all of you to forgive me.” She took a deep breath to ease her still fluttering heart. “It’s a poor excuse, I know, but it’s said that hardships make us stronger. We learn and grow more as people. Maybe the experiences you’ve had over the last four years have taught you something. Maybe you’re stronger people for it. It’s my hope that you are, and that you go out and use that strength for good.”

Sunset raised an empowering fist. “In this last year, I’ve seen how strong you all can be when you come together. You guys are a force for good! You’re Wondercolts! When you set your mind to something, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish!”

She paused and let them cheer again. “I know I’m late in showing it, but I’m thankful for sharing a class with you. There’s a myriad of talent amongst you all, from music, to art, to baking, and more. Don’t let anyone tell you your talents are useless, and don’t let yourself think they’re useless either. Any talent can be an instrument of change for the world. And like Miss Celestia said, you’ll go on to make the world a brighter place.” She let out an extended sigh of relief as the applause rolled in. “Thank you, Canterlot High! For everything!

She stepped off the stage, smiling at Celestia again, and sat down.

Twilight beamed at her. “You sounded so confident.”

“Easy peasy. If I can do it, so can you.”

Twilight looked away, biting her lip.

Celestia spoke a few more words, introduced the board of trustees, and allowed Luna to speak as well.

“And now,” Luna said, gesturing down to the students, “please welcome your valedictorian, Twilight Sparkle!”

As Twilight rose, Sunset gave her a quick peck on the cheek. “You got this, Sparky.”

Twilight let out a short, high-pitched giggle as she approached the microphone. “F-fellow students… I mean, dearest classmates! I’m very happy to see you all here today. Umm…”

Sunset saw her fidget. It’s okay, Sparky. Just breathe. Come on, look at me and breathe. Like Twilight had heard her, their eyes met, and Sunset took a deep breath, prompting Twilight to do the same.

She cleared her throat. “While I’ve only attended Canterlot High this past year, having to say goodbye to all of you is still one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Not just because I’m bad at public speaking.” The audience laughed, and Sunset saw the last of the tension leave Twilight’s shoulders. “In less than a year, I’ve met so many new and wonderful people, including five of the best friends anyone could ask for, and a partner who, while frustrating at times, is one of the strongest and most loving people I’ve ever met.”

Sunset lowered her cap over her eyes, trying to hide her red face.

“There was something vastly different about this school compared to my previous one. I felt it when I first walked onto campus. It was friendship. The amount of friendship and compassion in this school is vast and deep. My previous institution was all about competition and reputation. While it isn’t always perfect, here, students work together and are proud of each other’s accomplishments. And as we move forward to the next part of our lives, I hope you’ll all take that with you: the spirit of friendship. Bring it wherever you go. Continue to be honest, show everyone you meet kindness and generosity. Make someone laugh. And stay true to your friends and to yourself.

“The memories I’ve gained here are some of the best in my life. When we part ways and travel down our chosen paths, I’ll look back on our shared time fondly, as I hope you will too. As Shakespeare wrote, ‘parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be ‘morrow.’ While we have to say goodbye today, I’m sure many of us will cross paths again, and I look forward to sharing what we’ve learned in the meantime. Thank you all so much! Go, Wondercolts!”

The round of cheers Twilight got were louder than Sunset’s, not that she minded much. Twilight hurried off the stage, stumbling when she hit the grass, but managing to stay upright. She collapsed into her chair and wiped the sweat off her brow. “I never want to do that again.”

Sunset leaned against her. “You did great, Sparky.”

Celestia returned to the podium, thanked all the speakers, then asked for the first row to stand and line up next to the stage. “With the power vested in me as principal of this institution, I will now confer upon these students who have met all the graduation requirements, proof of their hard work, determination, and perseverance. When I call your name, please step forth and receive your diploma. Twilight Sparkle!”

Twilight hurried up the steps, almost tripping again as she got to the top. She accepted the ribbon bound scroll and shook Celestia and Luna’s hands, then walked across the stage, waving to the audience while the music played on in the background.

“Sunset Shimmer!”

Sunset stepped up and took her diploma, beaming back at Celestia as they shook hands. “Thanks for everything,” she said.

Celestia let out a soft chuckle. “Don’t thank me. You got this far on your own merits.”

“Not completely on my own.”

“Very true. I wish you nothing but happiness, Sunset.”

Sunset bowed her head and moved on before the tears could surface. Luna gave her a friendly smile as well, congratulating her and wishing her the best. Sunset looked out to the crowd, seeing Artemis let loose another firework.

She returned to her seat and watched her friends walk across the stage, standing and cheering for each of them. Pinkie, in an act that surprised no one, shoved her diploma into her hair and cartwheeled off the stage.

“Nailed it!” she said, bouncing back to her seat.

When the last student received their diploma, the music died down once more, and everyone rose to their feet. Celestia stood before them for the last time. “Students, it is proper tradition that upon receiving your diplomas, you move the tassels on your cap from left to right, signifying the next change in your life.”

Sunset and Twilight faced one another and moved the other’s tassel. “You ready?” Sunset asked. Twilight gave an excited nod.

“I now present the graduating class of Canterlot High! Congratulations!”

As one, the students screamed in elation and extol, and threw their caps into the air. Sunset wrapped Twilight in a hug and swung her around, savoring her shriek of delight. Five others quickly latched onto their hug, and the Spectacular Seven jumped up and down in each others arms while Pinkie sang, “We did it, we did it, we did it!”

Families flooded the field, bringing with them flowers, balloons and more cameras. With the thrum of victory in the air and the jubilant laughter of her friends, Sunset couldn’t wipe the smile off her face. All of their families herded them up to take pictures and hand them gifts of felicitations. Many a mother rained kisses down on their child’s head.

“Mother stop, you’re embarrassing me,” Trixie bemoaned.

“I’m just so proud of you!”

Artemis hooked an arm around Sunset’s neck and pulled her in for a hug. “And it’s thanks to you we got to live to see this moment! You have my undying gratitude, Sunset!”

She still couldn’t find the strength to frown. “Don’t mention it. Just glad I could help.”

“Come on now, let’s get a picture with all your cute little friends!” Artemis released Sunset and ran off to collaborate with the other parents. They migrated to a less crowded space and pressed the girls together, Sunset standing in the middle.

Flash wandered over with a sheepish look. “Mind if I join?”

Rarity hooked him by the arm and pulled him in. “A gentleman for asking, but of course you can join us.”

“All right now, squeeze in everyone,” Artemis said, holding up his camera. “Big smiles! That means you, baby girl!”

Sunset felt Twilight wrap a hand around hers. She gave it a loving squeeze. I don’t know what comes next. We’ll all have to go our separate ways soon. But in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy every second I have!

“Say, ‘graduates!’”

“Graduates!” they all cheered as the flash went off.

*******

Moondancer gave the mask a little bend, making sure it was flexible enough to her liking. Chafing was something she literally couldn’t tolerate. Satisfied with its flexibility, she carefully slipped it onto the left side of her face, wincing at the contact. A few adjustments, and she finally lifted her head to look in the mirror.

A plain white mask with a narrow slit for her eye covered half her face. With its smooth paleness, it almost looked like she was whole again. A tear splashed down onto her vanity, and with a sweep of her arm, she knocked away her collection of makeup and hand mirrors.

She rested the good side of her face in her hand and sighed. Once again, she was a prisoner in her own house. Tempest said she had a mission for her soon, but in the meantime, Moondancer was to go nowhere.

Today would have been graduation day. She should have been on a grassy field, listening to thunderous applause at the completion of her high school career. Now, she didn’t even get that luxury.

Moondancer sighed. She could see Twilight walking across the stage in her mind’s eye. She was proud of her little star. Her thoughts then turned to Sunset, and she dug her nails into her palm. Her eye caught sight of her reflection.

You’ll pay for this, Sunset.

But even that threat felt hollow now. Moondancer relaxed her hand and sighed again. Without the Archon Amulet twisting her thoughts, even her base level of animosity felt lower than usual.

“Does it still hurt?”

She swung around, her tense shoulders falling in disappointment. “Oh, it’s you.”

Night Shade stood in her door, something close to concern on his face. “You’ve been quiet the last few days.”

“I’ve had nothing to say.” Moondancer turned back to her vanity, loathing that she could still see him in the reflection.

He shifted nervously. “I’m… proud of you,” he said slowly.

Moondancer cocked an eyebrow. “Are you now?”

“Today’s graduation day, isn’t it? You’ve finished high school.”

Moondancer studied his reflection. She was surprised he had even been keeping track of such a thing. “It is. But in case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t gone to school in the past three weeks. I failed all of my finals. I did not graduate.”

“It’s the idea that counts,” Night Shade said, more slowly.

Her irritation flared. Moondancer stood up and stormed toward him, practically shoving out of the way. “No, it does not count. And if you must know, yes, it always hurts.” She continued her march down the hall and turned toward the long flight of stairs leading up to the third floor.

When she got to the top, she looked back to make sure he hadn't followed. Not that he ever did. Moondancer faced the plain door at the end of the short hall. She smoothed out her dress, wanting to look presentable, and turned the silver knob.

The room beyond was beige and plain. The window was open, allowing the curtains to flutter in the breeze. A soft, rhythmic beep filled the quiet space.

Moondancer shut the door behind her. “Hello, Mother.”

Apalla laid in a large bed, her head tilted toward the window. Her wrinkled hands were neatly laid on top of her lap, and an IV extended from her arm.

Moondancer walked around and pulled the only chair up to her mother’s side, looking into her blue eyes. She lifted a hand and ran it through Apalla’s wispy and dry hair. “The orchids are about to bloom again. I’ll bring you some when they do,” she said softly. She brought her hand down to her mother’s sunken cheeks. “You’d like that, right?”

Apalla didn’t answer.

“I… I know I haven’t done the best things. But the end justifies the means. I’ll make the world a better place. I will!” Moondancer’s hand fell, and she looked down at the floor. “I just… I wish…” She clenched a fist.

“Sunset says you chose to stay in the Soul Lock, but she’s wrong! You would have come to see me if you could have, right?” She wiped the tear come out of her right eyes. “Right. That horrible demon. She’s never had to sacrifice anything. She’s never lost anything like I have. Yet she thinks she can lecture and patronize me.”

Moondancer looked up again. “But it’s not over. I won’t give up. I can’t give up.” She tightened her curled hand. “Tirek will be summoned, and when he arrives, I will slay him with my own two hands. The cycle will come to an end. Then, your soul will finally be free, Mother. We can be together again.”

She laid a hand over her mother’s, tears falling onto both of them. “You’re all that’s left for me now. But I’ll fight for you until the very end.”

Volume II

End

Author's Note:

Standby for the postscript.

Not interested in the author's commentary? Well, I hope to see you next time for Volume 3!

We're almost halfway there, guys...

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
PreviousChapters
Comments ( 79 )
CSC
CSC #1 · July 1st · · ·

Still, as she looked down at Princess Twilight’s photo, lingering resentment still swirled inside her. Something about the princess’s face still ticked her off. The girl who had taken everything from her, beaten her, then left. She went home to Celestia, with a crown and a kingdom to look forward to, while Sunset had to suffer and struggle in this world. Sure, half of her suffering was her own fault, but she had stood tall and cleaned up every mistake, no thanks to the princess. Even with everything she had gone through, Sunset’s animosity toward Princess Twilight couldn’t be snuffed out.

So in other words salty as ever. :trollestia:

She’s back everybody!! Great to see things working out for Sunset again!


Saltset Shimmer

The future’s still unclear. Not many problems were solved. Dying to see the next volume.

.....Oooookay. Moondancer is officially:

On the side note, what a great conclusion to volume II! Great character growth for Sunset Shimmer and now everyone is graduated. Who knows what the future will hold for them.

Can't wait for volume III! :twilightsmile:

Rixec #4 · July 1st · · ·

(claps hands proudly)

Bravo, Sir. You have done spectacularly with this volume; I loved every bit of it and I can't wait to see where we go from here in Volume III. Seeing the Spectacular Seven make it to graduation is so touching and they've all taken big steps forward.

Sunset really has done some amazing growth. We see her finally starting to move beyond her guilt complex, realizing what is and is not her fault. Her speech really shows how much her redemption means to her and how far she has come along this long road. It'll be interesting to see how she affects Lamia going forward since they now share a roof. I can't wait to see what Sunset does next.

And Sci-Twi, while still hurting, has also grown much, realizing her true friends and love. Without her, who knows if Sunset would have made it this far. She may feel useless, but her role has helped made sure they all lived to this day. I do wonder what will happen to her from here. We saw that she wished for magic as well and spoke bitterly on not understanding her world any longer because of it. If this leads to her becoming Midnight Sparkle, it'll be something to see how Sunset and Moondancer react.

As for Moondancer herself, we finally have the full story. She's working to save her mother and kill Tirek herself. She really is Sunset's foil, showing what Sunset could have become. Her pride refuses to accept that she can't be chosen or loved by everyone and she sees herself as the sole hero who has to save the day. She also doesn't see that Sunset has suffered, has made sacrifices to get where she is. Moondancer only sees Sunset as a girl who is handed everything, which is ironic, as being rich, Moondancer would have been handed a lot of things. I wonder if she'll be forced to feel Sunset's memories and/or emotions at some point to finally understand how wrong she is.

This has been a spectacular volume and I eagerly await what comes next. Give yourself all the praise, Albi; you deserve it. :twilightsmile:

niltag #5 · July 1st · · ·

“Almost halfway”

Geeze how much story do you have planned??!?

"We're almost halfway there, guys!"

And the Spectacular Seven thought college was going to be a long investment.

Can't wait.

When you say "almost halfway there"...doea that mean Vol 3 will be longer than 1 & 2 combined OR that this tale will be 4 volumes long?

Either way, i am happy. This is one of my fav series on this site. I am curious to see if the rest of the canon EG series (friendship games, LoE, Specials, *coughcoughAnon-A-Misscoughcough*) will get some adaptation or if we are moving into completely new territory?

Wait, almost halfway?

Quick thing, the hell happened to Sirens? They kinda just vanished...

We're almost halfway there... U mean this story is not even 50% complete?
I guess Princess Twilight will appear in Vol 3.

Hang on...do you have seven volumes planned?

So, that's the deal. Apalla's body is being kept stable as long as Moondancer and her father help Tempest. Tempest probably told Moondancer and family something along the lines of 'only way to free Apalla is to free Tirek'. The only thing Moondancer has to hope for is the return of her mother. She has nothing else.

And I look forward to Volume III.

Gad damnit, Moondancer went all Phantom of the Opera on us! XD

Anyhows, I am very very happy about this story And will continue to religiously read every update the second i see one! ^^

Nice ending! Pure and sweet. Moondancer became slightly more sympathetic, as much as I still dislike her very nature.

Ah okay so theory confirmed. Mother is alive but I'm a coma. Word of advice Moony? Villains like Tempest never keep their promises and you aren't the main character so sorry if anyone is gonna slay Tierk? It'll be the Spectacular seven. This was fucking awesome!

If Moondancer don't take her phantom if the opera head ass on somewhere!

Freaking brilliant man. It's gonna he brutal waiting for the next volume but, good things come to those who wait.
Kinda upset Sunset and Twilight didn't end up getting some action together now that Sunset doesn't have to worry that its her demon form convincing her to do it to annoy Moondancer.

9018920
1. According to Albi, we're getting 6 Volumes!!! Meaning after the next one we'll be halway there.

2. He's not adapting anything else. It's original from post Rainbow Rocks and onward!

9018920

9018949

9019047
There are 5 volumes. In terms of the plot as a whole, we're about halfway through. Graduation was always the halfway marker. The content that fills up the second half of the story just takes 3 more volumes to tell. I'll explain more in the postscript tomorrow or so.

And yes, aside from cherry-picking a few things, I will not be directly adapting any more movies or specials. Not for this story.

Wonderful, simply wonderful. A very well-crafted end to the book, showing just how far Sunset and Twilight - and Moondancer - have come. And with three more volumes of original work yet to come, I greatly look forward to what the future brings for everyone.

wait halfway there? *checks comments and see it will be 5 volumes* well then..... i remember when this was supposed to be only 3, now this will probably last me to the end of my a levels and i'm still doing my gcse's

edit: question, will we be seeing more of the harbinger wolf? he was a very interesting concept.

Major Spoilers in this comment, You have been warned, but...
Holy shit! Apalla is alive!?:pinkiegasp:
I did NOT see that coming.

9019123
Surprised me a little too, but it makes sense though, How else would Tempest insure Moondancer's cooperation if Apalla didn't have a body to come back to?

9019148
Though Lies I assumed, or dark magic, or both.

and now to wait for the next volume. Good luck and take your time Albinocorn! You have well crafted stories, and would love to see more from you. :twilightsmile:

If would be POETIC if Apalla tells Moondancer something like:

"I was prepared to give my life in order to keep Tirek away from you and this world... AND YOU GO AND FREE HIM?!!"

Aw, now I’m sad for Moondancer. Nice to see her self-awareness is as low as ever though, still thinks she’s the hero even as she’s literally putting on a creepy mask and swearing revenge.

Yay for sweet, sweet celebration! Enjoy it while it lasts, girls, because hell is just a heartbeat away!

Looking forward to volume III!

“Tempest took me around… as Scarlet. She… she would use her find other people with magic and… and take their souls like she took yours. Then…” Lamia’s voice trembled. “Then… she… I… I killed them…. Burned their bodies to ash.”

Holy frickin' cow. I'd wondered for a while what Tempest used Scarlet for other than just to prove she could do something like this, but...this makes a horrifying amount of sense. While also, you know, being straight-up horrifying in general.

The exams began the next day, starting with history for Sunset. She looked at the four page, double-sided packet laying on her desk. The solace in this is that I’ll never have to worry about history again .

Yet another thing I've never even thought to consider about the EqG world: if learning history is hard for immigrants, it must be impossible for someone like Sunset.

Five others quickly latched onto their hug, and the Spectacular Seven jumped up and down in each others arms while Pinkie sang, “We did it, we did it, we did it!”

Pinkie, for everyone's sake, I hope that wasn't the Dora the Explorer version.

Wasn't expecting all this to flow into the next arc, but I'm excited. Nervous to see if Sunset will actually find some sort of higher education, considering my job as an ACT tutor, but excited nonetheless. Especially considering Moondancer actually wanting to kill Tirek for her mother. Or just so she can pull a Syndrome and look like a hero to everyone else. Intriguing either way.

I will not apologize for that Incredibles reference.

Brilliant job mate
Looking forward to volume 3 whenever you start updating again
Though though since Moondancer in this chapter is reminding a lot of Charmcaster from Ben 10 Ultimate Alien I think might have some idea where it's heading

How many months of waiting should we expect before vol. 3 starts coming out? 2 months? 3? 4? More?

JMP
JMP #30 · July 1st · · ·

....I've lost all hope for Moondancer's redemption. Her second defeat has broken her, and she refuses to accept reality. This will not end well. The only question is when it will end. The future is murky, but at least Sunset still has her girlfriend and friends who love her. Though, the primary question for Sunset is, what next? She forged her documents to get into high school; college isn't really an option for her.

Also, wasn't expecting Apalla's body to actually still be alive. You and your Volume-end twists, Albinocorn...

I'm going to miss seeing this story update every week. Great job on volume 2 and I'm excited for more.

BigD #32 · July 2nd · · ·

Hmm, brings back memories.

Now if only my goddamn plans after graduation had come true.

9019276

I agree with you-to a point.

Moondancer seems determined to burn every bridge she could. But she still genuinely wants to rescue her mother. Perhaps that could push her toward the right path.... We'll see.

9018886

I wonder if learning to befriend Twilight will be Sunset's next step.

I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed this series. I don't comment regularly, but I check the site almost daily for updates so I've been following it pretty much as its been uploaded.
I'm pretty sure what Sunset's going through is something a lot of people can relate to, in some way. I don't think I was ever quite as evil as she had been, but coming to terms with and accepting my biggest flaws and weaknesses is something I've been dealing with myself lately. Moreso than usual, anyway. It made some of her more self-deprecating moments difficult to read, hitting a bit too close to home. But in her example of coming to terms with her literal demons I've found in myself the strength and inspiration to overcome, or rather accept, my own.
It's also been interesting to follow Sunset's progress from bitter and resentful, to accepting and enjoying her life, to dealing with the over-commitment to being good and being afraid of her inner darkness. Maybe I don't read redemption stories often enough, but it isn't something I find too often in literature, so I really enjoyed and learned a lot from it.
All this to say, thank you for continuing this excellent story, and I'm looking forward to the postscript, and volume three (at last!) beyond it.

So Lamia is here to stay, and Moondancer has some kind of mask covering half her face now. Like a super-villain. Apalla Lulamoon's body is also above ground, and still has a heartbeat. She could come back to it, theoretically.
This will definitely get interesting.

Time to not visit this site for like seven months again.
'Till the next volume!

Trixie looked out the window, her expression sullen. “So am I. I can’t believe she would side with our mortal enemy. Though, maybe Twilight is right. Maybe she doesn’t have a choice.”

Oh no, she does. She could have CHOSEN not to go after the Amulet, go after Lamia, ally with Tempest, but no. She's a fucking Yandere dumbass.

“I was getting to that.” Lamia got off the bed and stretched, popping her shoulders. “Oh man, this is the best I’ve felt in a month.” She let out a relieved sigh. “Okay, listen, kid. Your tattle-tailing is the reason I got wrapped up in all this, so in a way, this is all your fault.”

What.

“Tempest took me around… as Scarlet. She… she would use her find other people with magic and… and take their souls like she took yours. Then…” Lamia’s voice trembled. “Then… she… I… I killed them…. Burned their bodies to ash.”

Oh...

Cliché villains are cliché.

Oh yeah.

“And Tempest,” Lamia continued, “man, she’s changed a lot. When I met her, she was just some explorer. She was really frail though. Wheezed and coughed a lot. I don’t know what happened, but whatever power she got is apparently pretty healthy for her. She got a freaky shadow arm out of it."

She's Cinder Fall?

“And named him Jórmangandr.” Lamia folded her arms behind her head. “So yeah, she didn’t take too kindly to that. Forced me to work for her after she caught me stealing stuff for Loony Moony.”

Well, worse names come to mind.

“It’s not your room,” Selena said, her growl getting lower.

I don't think she likes her much,

“Then wouldn’t studying be ultimately pointless?” Pinkie asked.

Not helping.

Sunset and Rarity sat side by side, flipping through the pages of memories. She found Rainbow in five of the sport teams shots, holding a trophy in each one.

Never been one for looking through those things.

Miss Cheerilee gave a short speech on how she would miss all of them before handing their grades back.

That's a laugh.

“Because I trust you here alone about as far as I can throw you,” Selena said. “Now, march.”

That's probably further than you think.

She saw Pinkie’s entire family sitting in the front row, all of them stone faced.

HAH!

“I never want to do that again.”

Can't blame you.

When the last student received their diploma, the music died down once more, and everyone rose to their feet. Celestia stood before them for the last time. “Students, it is proper tradition that upon receiving your diplomas, you move the tassels on your cap from left to right, signifying the next change in your life.”

I swear that's an American thing because we never did that over here.

A plain white mask with a narrow slit for her eye covered half her face. With its smooth paleness, it almost looked like she was whole again.

Oh my god she is Cinder!

Her irritation flared. Moondancer stood up and stormed toward him, practically shoving out of the way. “No, it does not count. And if you must know, yes, it always hurts.” She continued her march down the hall and turned toward the long flight of stairs leading up to the third floor.

And it's all your fault.

Apalla laid in a large bed, her head tilted toward the window. Her wrinkled hands were neatly laid on top of her lap, and an IV extended from her arm.

Oh, her body's not decayed yet. Huh.

“Right. That horrible demon. She’s never had to sacrifice anything. She’s never lost anything like I have. Yet she thinks she can lecture and patronize me.”

Tirek will be summoned, and when he arrives, I will slay him with my own two hands.

We're almost halfway there, guys...

Jesus Fuck...

Sunset has finally accepted her past. It was a long time coming, and beautifully done.

Speaking of beautiful; Moondancer, with a theatre-style half-mask. It's so fitting.

So, what happens now? Twilight is definitely going to get magic at some point, I have no doubt about this; but if we're only halfway through, I imagine it won't be for some time yet, possibly not until the finale. If we have three more volumes, and we can expect dealing with Tempest's end-of-the-world plan to be saved for the climax, that leaves two unknown threats in-between. I'm guessing Tempest is going to put another piece on the table to replace the one she lost, though I can't even begin to speculate who that might be; and maybe the Sirens will come back for a volume? They've had a while to plot revenge, now.

Still hoping for FlutterDash, by the way. Rainbow ‘not being gay’ is starting to sound like a ‘doth protest too much’.

I dunno about 'lecturing and patronizing'... but yeah... Sunset hasn't lost much, in comparison to Moondancer. She gave up her world... lost the crown that she stole in the first place... and lost control of her classmates only to gain their respect and friendship instead (net gain, I'd say). Overall... not too bad. She did lose a touch of free will there for awhile... but kids don't get free reign to do whatever they want. Since her parents weren't around to discipline her, the Elements stepped in (she needed a bit more than a time out, anyway). Yes, I know she's older than high school age physically (ish... somethin...), but given her behavior she missed some of the maturity she should have picked up along the way.

Now, not to moon over our antagonist too much (not sorry), but adding to that you throw in a Chrono Trigger reference?! I mean it might be coincidence since that game's about the same age as the author, but there's some strong parallels to Magus here. She wants to summon the big bad expressly so she can kill him and get back a loved one? ...Well, shit. Too bad her methods and other motivations are garbage, but then again when did she ever really get the chance to learn any better? If she could throw away her wounded pride she might have realized that, with the Archon Amulet, she could have teamed up with the girls and the Lulamoons in opposition to Tempest. She had more than enough power to at least make an escape. Tempest seems to go where she pleases but she's obviously not omnipotent or she wouldn't have run off the way she did. No attempt to take Sunset back? Telling.

But of course, Moondancer could never manage that. Her pride won't allow it, and it's her greatest strength while being her biggest flaw. Without it, I doubt she would have controlled the Archon Amulet as well as she did, so it's likely a moot point even for a hypothetical.

Great closing to this, looking forward to the continuation of this saga!

Of course Moondancer would go all Phantom of the Opera with a mask, that drama queen

Rixec #41 · July 2nd · · ·

9020599
You make some good points in defending Moondancer and her reasoning, even if she isn't fully in the right. Of course, even if it seems like she has more more than Sunset, Sunset herself still had to struggle to get where she is, which is another aspect Moondancer won't accept, which is part of her greater tragedy.

Yes, Sunset lost and gave up a lot because of her own actions, running away from Equestria, stealing the crown, and so on. When Sunset's world crumbled under that rainbow, she suffered the burning anguish it felt as it forced her to see her darkness and then cursed her to always tell the truth and obey when asked to do something. Sunset lost some freedom and privacy as a result, which made some things harder for her given she couldn't speak about the curse.

Sunset had to deal with all that, while living off bare scraps in a factory and hated by everyone with no power. As she struggled to understand friendship, she had to deal with the fact no one wanted anything to do with her. She had to struggle to show she was changing and that everything she was doing was no trick as many thought. Like Moondancer, Sunset's pride was preventing her from being able to get to a better place, but once Sunset swallowed her pride, it started to become easier.

Look at Sunset and Trixie. Trixie hated Sunset because she thought Sunset ruined her show just because she laughed and after everything else. Sunset didn't just magically make things better. She had to struggle through Trixie's hatred and jealousy to keep her job with Artemis and after Sunset risked and nearly gave up her life to save Trixie did that help. Sunset had no idea that Trixie would come back with her parents to save her and that helped cement Sunset's place as she stood by someone who kept trying to make things hard for Sunset. Sunset even finally managed to fully win Trixie over by never telling her parents what Trixie did at the science fair. It would have been so easy, but Sunset had sen what it was like to have your life ruined and didn't want that for Trixie, which made Trixie finally start to see Sunset had changed and wasn't that bad.

Sunset was also struggling with her own identity, as she was trying to hold onto what she had left of her old self while fearing what she might have been because of her literal demons. She needed to understand who she truly was after experiencing the worst she could be and figuring out where she was going. Sunset had her awakening symbolically when she realized she did love Sci-Twi after being forced by the curse to lie how she felt about her. Sunset needed to make things better when unable to explained what happened, needing to use actions to get Sci-Twi to rekindle their friendship and then grow from there.

Sunset also had to struggle with getting her friends back together after they fell apart because of their actions which resulted from Sunset breaking them apart in the first place. Sunset needed more than just a speech. She needed to gather what friends she had left after proving herself to them - having her talk with Flash, saving Trixie and the CMC, and rekindling with Sci-Twi - to set everything up right to allow everyone to realize they were better as friends. And suffering everything that could go wrong during that dance while at it. Sunset had nearly lost that valuable circle of friends, even if they were all still one on one friends with her and she needed to fight for it.

Sunset also suffered a guilt complex over everything that could relate back to her. Fluttershy thinking about ending it all, Rainbow joining a gang, Pinkie missing out on birthdays, the Sirens being freed by her magical output, Rainbow's accident while snowboarding, etc. Sunset needed to fight her demons to learn what is her fault and what is simply beyond it, as we saw in the volume II finale.

Sunset also realized what she lost because of her actions. Yes, leaving Equestria was her choice, but in that choice she did lose things. Her good relationship with Celestia, her parents, her home. It wasn't until she realized how awful she had been that Sunset realized what she lost. And she lost it all again as Princess Twilight chose not to bring Sunset back. She just decided to leave Sunset to fend for herself in a strange world with so many hating her. Twilight did do something by asking the girls to look after Sunset, but she also could have done more.

Sunset also realizes what else she could lose going forward. She loves Sci-Twi and wants what is best for her, but someday soon she has to decide what she wants. Her home or Sci-Twi. Sunset realizes she may lose one of them given how things are with the portal. She even fears losing Sci-Twi and the rest of her friends with them going off in different directions soon.

Maybe in a straight line it looks like Moondancer has lost more than Sunset, but Sunset has also had losses and has struggled to earn back so much more. Sunset is in a better place than Moondancer, which can be valid for Moondancer's reasoning. But Moondancer refuses to see that Sunset struggled hard to get where she is. Sunset had to learn empathy and swallow her pride to get where she is. Moondancer refuses to do either and that is why she is where she is.

And that's what makes Moondancer sympathetic and all the more tragic. She essentially is Sunset if Sunset had gone further off the deep end. Sunset saw herself entitled to being an alicorn and magic, just as Moondancer does with magic and Sci-Twi. Sunset threw away everything good she had for her goal as did Moondancer. They both got to a point of extreme power and fell as a result. What makes them different is that Sunset saw what she did wrong and worked to make things right. She swallowed her pride and allowed herself to connect with others.

Moondancer has not. She sees herself as the victim, the hero, with the whole world against her and trying to take her family and Sci-Twi from her. She never tried to become friends with the Spectacular Seven. She never tried to understand Sunset, but to expect answers from others. Moondancer complains about Sunset just getting everything she feels she deserves, but she won't understand what Sunset had to go through to get there. Moondancer still feels entitled to everything. Yes, from her point of view, she is working hard to stop Tirek and save her mother, but she thinks everything else should be hers by right.

Both Sunset and Moondancer have lost and struggled. They both have valid valid reasoning from their point of view. The difference is that Sunset looked at herself and saw what was wrong while Moondancer has not. That is what makes their story so compelling and tragic. Sunset is essentially facing her own worst traits in Moondancer and Moondancer is facing what she is capable of in Sunset if she just stopped for a moment to understand.

Yes, maybe some of what Moondancer is suffering is a bit worse than Sunset's, but that doesn't mean Sunset hasn't lost or struggled. Moondancer has faced a downward slope because of her choices while Sunset had gone over a jagged path to get where she is because of her choices. This is what makes them perfect rivals as they are capable of the same best and worst of themselves with their choices being key in where they go.

Ri2

Moondancer, you fucking moron.

Also, what exactly is Sunset going to do about college? I thought she couldn't go to any. I mean, that's going to put a damper on her relationships.

9020900
Why? College is nice for those who can make it, but it's not like it's a necessity to survive, and the other girls are going to different colleges anyway, so clearly they're already planning for the long-distance aspect. In fact, if Sunset doesn't go to college, she could potentially set up with a job and apartment wherever Twilight ends up going; it actually fixes a problem.

So her future doesn't include college… that doesn't mean she's out of options. She could potentially even get a job in science without a formal degree if she self-studied and Twilight connected her with one of her professors. Degree ‘requirements’ are really just suggestions in most fields; if she shows enough promise in an internship achieved through contacts, and Twilight gets hired first and vouches for her, she could skip the formal degree part entirely. It wouldn't be easy, but it's not insurmountable.

Ri2

9020999
I suppose not. I'm just worried there's going to be an arc down the line where Twilight and Sunset break up for one reason or another (and for DRAMA) and I'm dreading seeing that happen.

9021001
Oh, there's definitely going to be more breakup/makeup drama; this is a romance, after all. I doubt it will be about college, though. I think the most likely sticking point is going to be Twilight feeling left out about her lack of magic; her feeling of inadequacy about that has been mentioned a few times, and it's begging to get worse before there's a resolution to it. Watch as her friends start ponying-up casually, outside of pitched battle, making her feel left out. Then comes the part where she thinks she's useless, and decides Sunset can find someone better than her (perhaps influenced by an offhand comment by Sunset about missing the magic of Equestria, or a battle with villain-of-the-day where she gets in the way more than anything). She starts to withdraw from the group, and despite attempts to reassure her, she only moves past it when the next major threat is stopped by her insight and scientific knowhow rather than another round of magical showdowns (this would be a great time to have Princess Twilight come in; SciTwi could succeed after Princess Twilight fails, really hitting home that she doesn't need magic to be special).

And then in the next arc, after she's fully accepted that she doesn't need magic to be with Sunset or their friends, she gets some anyway, because magic is awesome.

This is pure speculation, of course, but I think it's a reasonable path for the story to take.

Ri2

9021041
Yeah, I could see it like that. That actually sounds neat.

Aw Man i feel bad for Moondancer.

When is the Next Volume coming?!

A wonderful mid-story finale! It's been such a great ride so far, thank you!

9021626
Okay but when IS the next chapter though? You haven't updated in like forever. /s

9020758
I'll respect that rant for it's length, certainly. You do a good job of drawing attention to all the things Sunset's gone through. Thing is... literally everything Sunset 'suffered' she brought on herself. And by Earth standards, it should have been way worse. Have you ever tried stealing extremely important government property? Let me know how that works out for you. How about attacking royalty? No? Oh right, you're still alive... so I guess you haven't attempted that. Good choice... but Sunset tried it. She uh... got detention? And a curse that lasted... months? Gosh, my heart bleeds. :ajbemused: As to the rest of what you're saying... it's all minor. Bit malnourished and living in poor conditions for a short time? Join half the world... and I'm not trivializing but let's not overstate what she 'suffered' there for a short time before getting adopted by pure awesome. On that note... Trixie was jealous and slow to accept? A teenage, only child having trouble with a sudden rival for her parents (who are awesome, further justifying) affections? Nothing special there. Identity crisis? Teenager... check. And before you bring up that she's older than that... I'll again argue that her twenties have just been her teenage years mark 2, since she didn't manage to mature much the first go round. Lastly, unlike certain two faced antagonists (so many references, apropos for such a dramatic villain) she got tons of help the entire time. Even the curse helped by forcing her to reflect and grow (the whole point, rather than being actual punishment) through her trials. That's the key for me. She didn't need to ask for help, she just got it handed to her. Hell, she genuinely didn't want it at first, and she got it. Everyone expects Moondancer to jump through hoops and throw away her pride and even then they want her dead, or to actually kill herself. Ahahahhaha wat?

I love Sunset, especially this fic's version of her... but your defense of her... apart from being unnecessary in a story that covers her hero's journey quite well, doesn't really address the fact that she's had everything handed to her. The fact that it wasn't enough and that she dug herself in with her own flaws doesn't make her some tragic heroine... since her 'tragic' phase lasted a relative minute. Is she still coping with guilt and such, at least to this point? Sure. But she damn well should be! It's been like a year. It'd be weirder (and possibly evidence of psychosis) if she wasn't. The one exception is the Sirens. They were horrible and put her and everyone through real Hell. I wonder why they only got a fraction of the hate Moondancer has? *hint* They weren't trying to triangle their way into the OTP. I give Sunset full marks for weathering that storm. Hell, I give her full marks regardless... but she played the game on Normal... Moondancer has been stuck in Impossible and yeah... she's not doing well.

The only saving grace of Sunset's horrible past is that she didn't manage to pull it off. And she did it all on her own. No one forced her; she chose to be that. She had Princess goddamn Celestia as a tutor! She was learning magic from someone who moves a star around as part of her morning ablutions! And it just wasn't enough. Goddamn.... and people talk about Moondancer's pride being too much? And again, rather than being punished for it, she was forcibly reformed. Now before you call that punishment... I remind you that most humans who even attempted some of her crimes wouldn't live through the attempt. If they did it would be in a very unsympathetic jail, for life. She got a curse for a few months while she figured out what an unmitigated ass she had been. And again, that curse (not coincidentally) enabled her to become friends with the de facto bearers of the Elements that fashioned said curse. Slap on the damn wrist, at worst. And thanks to Princess Twilight (who she still resents... bahahahahhaa wat?!), those friends... who she bullied, split up, and eventually tried to kill, were willing to give her a chance to be better... without even knowing about the curse that was the only reason she was even trying (at first). EVEN THAT worked in her favor for bonus sympathy when they found out about it. God damn... Moondancer has a better point than she even realizes. And that... is her real tragedy. She's absolutely right, going about it absolutely wrong, and odds are... will never know. Well... she's not right about being entitled to Twilight. That's dumb, and an unfortunate product of her messed up upbringing where she's been the property of her father, and Tempest. Then again... Sunset felt entitled to an entire world so... again Moondancer isn't the worse of the two. Damn Sunny... maybe I like you less than I thought. Nah... you're cool now. Nice phoenix form btw, how awesome was that?

Now, could Sunset have kept rebelling? Could she have gone the route of many spoiled teens and refused to change, because it wasn't her, it was the world that was wrong (yes, Moondancer, talking to you. I'm not defending you because you're flawless)? Sure... but then she wouldn't be a worthwhile protagonist. But like many protagonists, she's gotten a lot of breaks and a lot of help to get where she is. Even Cinderella had a bunch of mice and stuff... before basically a god showed up to fix her life for her (Disney version, anyway). What did Moondancer have? A kooky uncle who's likely no match for Tempest... and a father who basically sold himself and his child daughter to Tempest in order to raise something worse. And Moondancer can do... what about that? Where's her help? Where's the Elements reforming her? Where's the people who accept her despite the awful things she's done?

They sure as Hell aren't here.

Login or register to comment
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!