• Published 21st Feb 2015
  • 14,790 Views, 268 Comments

Luna's Protégé - MrAlterad

Luna needs to take up a protégé, for soon, Celestia's banishment will come to an end. The problem? Too many good choices!

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3. Sunset's Envy

Sunset Shimmer fell behind as Princess Luna led them through her castle. Luna's words were still going through her head, and the vista of Equestria was still fresh in her mind. It had all really struck a chord with Sunset, moved her, made her believe in the Princess. However, the notion of working together with the others, Trixie and Twilight, was alien to Sunset.

Sunset Shimmer wanted to be the best at all she could, which made everypony else seem like an obstacle to her. She worked hard to be as strong as she was. To be as smart as she was. She was independent, proud, and accomplished. And now, she was a student to Princess Luna.

This in mind, Sunset's brow furrowed slightly as she looked to Twilight ahead of her.

Before going to Luna's School for Gifted Unicorns, Sunset always considered herself to be the smartest of her year. However, being in the same year as Twilight at that school, made her consistently second place in studies. Despite trying her hardest, she could never seem to best Twilight's score. Twilight was an obstacle Sunset seemed unable to overcome.

It was frustrating. Sunset was frustrated with herself, believing that she simply wasn't trying hard enough. That Twilight was trying harder than she was to be smart. That frustration was naturally directed outwards. Sunset wanted to be smarter than Twilight, but didn't hold the fact that she wasn't against the lavender filly. Despite always being in second place, she liked Twilight. Twilight worked hard, studied hard, and even though she wasn't as good at magic, tried her hardest in that regards as well.

Which made Trixie's inclusion as a fellow student of Luna all the more annoying.

If Sunset and Twilight were the most studious, hard-working fillies in their year, Trixie had to be the opposite. She goofed off in class. She was always eager to show off her magic to the other students. She spent her time making others smile, being the center of attention. And now, just like the two hardest working fillies in her grade, Trixie was a student of Princess Luna.

And Sunset was expected to work with her, to succeed and learn.

“And our last stop,” Luna explained, dragging Sunset out of her thoughts, suddenly realizing that she hadn't been paying attention to Luna's tour since leaving the tower behind them, “is your room.” There was a guard at the door of their room, a door that melded into the hallway, several similar doors adorning both sides of the hall. With Luna and her students there, the guard opened the door for them, and the four of them entered, and as they did so, something caught Sunset's attention.

“Princess Luna,” she began.

“Please, just Luna, Sunset.”

“S-Sorry. Just, whose room is this?” She then noticed a small collection of possessions resting near the door. The pile was mostly made of her own things, but there was also Twilight's and Trixie's items there as well. “Are we sharing this room?” Luna nodded with a small smile. “Why?” There were plenty of other rooms, and Sunset really wasn't keen on sharing any room with Trixie.

“Because this was the only room available without a secret door or passageway,” Luna affirmed, her brow then furrowing slightly, suddenly looking as though she hadn't meant to admit that. Before the fillies could ask her what that meant, she quickly followed up her statement. “Trixie, Twilight, if you have need of anything, simply ask the nice pony standing outside the room. All three of you are free to wander the castle,” she then gave the three a mischievous grin, “just don't cause too much trouble.” She then looked to Twilight and Trixie, “The two of you are free for what's left of the day, perhaps you can get more acquainted with each other.” She then looked to Sunset, “This way, Sunset, there is something I wish to discuss with you.”

Recalling her promise considering the dragon egg, Sunset nodded, following after Luna as she left the others behind.

“Hey Twily, since meany-flank is gone, let's-” Sunset heard from Trixie, the doors closing behind Sunset, making her frown, looking to the door before letting out a sigh. If Luna had anything to say on the matter, she hid it well, as Sunset followed after her. Luna didn't address Sunset as they walked, so the filly took the opportunity to memorize her way through the castle as best she could, and after a small stroll, she found herself at the royal library.

“Why the library?” Sunset asked.

“I prefer to do most of my work here,” she explained, then considered something for a moment as she reached a large desk nestled in the side, a large stack of paper resting on it. Near the edge of the desk was a small pot of daffodils, which made Sunset's horn tingle slightly when she looked at them. Before she could ponder why, her eyes noticed what was behind the desk.

On the wall was a large stained-glass mural of a white alicorn with a multicolored mane. She wore a golden crown, her wings spread wide, basking in the light of the sun. Small fragments, all colors of the rainbow, were scattered around her. Something about the picture seemed magical, and terribly sad. A small plaque was written under it, but Sunset couldn't make out what was written from here. Seeing Sunset take in the mural, Luna took it in as well, adopting a small smile.

“I find myself less easily frustrated in here...” She sdded, then after several moments, pulled her eyes from the window, and appraised the stack of papers on her desk, adopting an impassive expression. She then levitated over a cushion for Sunset, as she took a seat herself. “Now, Sunset, about your dragon.” Her choice of words caught the filly's attention, giving Luna a small smile.

My dragon?” she asked enthusiastically, and Luna nodded.

“Your father seemed eager to part with the little guy,” she stated, looking a little disappointed at nopony in particular, and hearing about her father made Sunset's ears drop as she nodded. “Still, he did at least give the dragon a name. Spike.” Sunset's ears perked up, her face adopting an annoyed look.

A dog's name? Sunset thought, then noticed Luna appraising her.

“Do you want to change it?” Luna asked, “You did hatch him, after all.” Sunset looked alarmed at the prospect, and shook her head.

“That's his name. I won't take it from him,” Sunset admitted, settling with the name, despite her dislike of it, which got a smile from Luna.

“I have a foal-sitter taking care of Spike right now. Sunset, what am I to do with him?” Sunset looked to the princess, under the impression that Luna already had something in mind, and was simply asking for her opinion.

“I want to take care of him,” Sunset proclaimed.

“And why is that?”

“Because I hatched him,” she stated, feeling guilty about the entire incident.

“Now what's with that face?” Luna asked as she raised a concerned eyebrow, “Why do you feel that way, Sunset?”

Because I hatched him, when dad couldn't. She wanted to say, but said something else instead, giving the princess the truth, but not all of it, which filled the filly with shame.

“Because Silver A- The principal, he was right. I didn't think about what would happen after I hatched him. I just wanted to be picked, and now there's a baby dragon who needs a home." She then looked Luna in the eyes, "It's my fault, so it's my problem.” Luna adopted a proud smile, catching Sunset off guard.

“That's a big thing to say for somepony as young as you.” Luna then nodded, “Spike will be left in my care, until you're able to look after him on your own.” She then put a hoof up, cutting off Sunset's building reply. “But, I won't keep him from you. By tomorrow, his pen and sitter will be living in the room next to your own. You're free to help him when you can, just keep in mind, you're still my student.” Luna then nodded, "So you should keep your studies in mind." She then considered something before looking back to Sunset.

“Sunset, have you been taking your lessons to heart?” Sunset balked at that question, feeling just as guilty as she had when Silver Apple put her on the spot yesterday.

“N-No,” she admitted, then quickly added, “But I will.” She then looked to Luna, a fire in her eyes. “I promise.” She was supposed to set a good example for the others, and work together with them. She had no idea how to accomplish either of those, but wasn't afraid to try. She saw the two of them as obstacles, and knew she'd have to change that outlook. The task then appeared daunting to the filly, as she realized that meant having to tolerate Trixie.

“Glad to hear it,” Luna proclaimed, ignoring the distress the filly was working herself into. She looked like she wanted to talk to Sunset about something else, then simply shrugged. Luna looked past the filly to a large grandfather clock on the adjacent wall, and nodded to herself. “Sunset, it's about time for bed. Would you like to see me raise the moon?” she asked, with a small, hopeful smile.

Being reminded of the time made Sunset more aware of how tired she was. She had woken up early to pack and prepare, as her old home wasn't anywhere close to the castle, and had galloped through half the trip. That, and walking all over the castle made her quite tuckered out. She weakly shook her head, giving the princess an apologetic look, and stifling a yawn as the princess nodded. “Another time, then. You have a good night, Sunset.”

Sunset nodded, wishing the Princess the same, then blushing upon realizing that she just wished the Princess of Equestria a good night's rest. Being the independent filly she was, she returned to her room on her own, managing to find her way back without getting lost. Entering her room, she was instantly reminded of the fact that she was sharing it with the other two. Finding it quite quiet, she looked around, seeing that there was a common room, a bedroom, and restroom.

The common room had an overhanging balcony. Going out onto it, she came to realize just how high in the castle their room was, the statues in the front garden looking quite small from this distance. The balcony looked over the front end of the castle, she could see the front gates and the road on the other side.

As she took in the view, Sunset noticed the sun begin to dip into the horizon, her namesake coming to mind as the sky was filled with the afterglow of the setting sun. And though she couldn't see it, she could almost imagine the moon rising on the opposite side of the castle. Letting out a yawn, she went inside, to the bedroom, and reaffirmed that there was only one bed.

It was, however, quite a large bed. It was also higher than she was, and she'd have to jump to get on it. Not quite content with sharing the bed with the others, she hopped up, prepared to wake them up and claim the bed as her own.

Or at least, that's what she intended, but the sight before her gave her reason to pause. Twilight and Trixie were cuddled happily together, a small pony doll snuggled in Twilight's hooves. They both breathed quietly, lost in their slumber. Seeing them together like that caught Sunset's voice, making her take a quiet step back. They looked comfortable together. So comfortable, that Sunset felt a familiar expression growing on her face.

She didn't know its name. The emotion tied to what she was feeling. But she didn't like it. She wanted that comfort. She wanted what they had, but knew she couldn't have it. And she hated it.

She didn't hate that she couldn't have what they had, she hated the emotion itself. The look on her face was the same one her father had when he learned she hatched the egg he couldn't. The face she first saw when she showed him she could cast spells he couldn't. The same face that made them drift apart. The face that made him grow cold towards her.

Sunset Shimmer got off the bed, making sure her landing was quiet. She didn't want to be in the same room as those two. She didn't want to take their happiness away, and didn't trust herself at that moment not to do so. Returning to the common room, she went out onto the balcony, looking out into the now star ridden night.

She applied to yesterday's interview to change her life. To leave her old one behind. She had succeeded. And yet, looking up at the lonely sky, she felt a strong urge to cry. However, she wouldn't allow herself such a display, so she stood there quietly, taking in the stars. After letting the ache in her chest die down a little, she went into the common room, unpacked her blanket and pillow, and rested on one of the cushions, hoping as her fatigue took her, that her dreams would be happy ones.


Her dreams were indeed happy ones, although she couldn't recall them as she awoke. She saw the traces of dawn creeping through the balcony's window, and as she stirred from her 'bed', she found a small doll nestled in her blankets. The same doll Twilight had in her possession.

Wait... Did Twilight leave this here? Sunset wondered, levitating the doll up, and as that notion struck her, the lavender filly entered the room.

Sunset's eyes met hers, and Twilight gave her a very sheepish smile as she looked to the doll. Sunset didn't know why, but her eyes itched, and there was a small smile on her face, as she returned the doll to Twilight.


The next few days flew by at a startling pace. At least, Sunset felt so. She and Trixie were still giving each other the cold shoulder, but Twilight's gesture had won Sunset over, and she now gave Twilight the same amount of respect that she gave Luna. Okay, maybe not that much, but it was pretty close. Taking cues from both Luna and Sir Tell Tale, Sunset had been trying to set a good example for the others.

She found it to be both very easy, and very difficult. Twilight was a model student, and hardly needed a good example. Trixie on the other hoof...

The three fillies were all gathered on the field, where today's lesson would take place. The last few lessons had taken place in the library, and were mostly for general education instead of Luna's lessons on life. Today was different, and the three of them were excited, as Luna had promised they'd be taught a new spell, one that few adults could cast.

Eagerly awaiting the princess, there was some disappointment in the air when Tell Tale showed up instead.

“A political matter has come up,” he explained matter-of-factly, “It's something that couldn't be helped, and Princess Luna gives her apologies. Since she cannot teach today, I'll be your instructor.” He then gave them an aside glance, “And yes, the lesson will go unchanged.” That got a happy look from his audience. “However, the spell in question, as stated, is quite difficult, I'll only be able to show you once or twice, then I'll be spent.” The fillies nodded as he looked over the field. “Now, the spell in question, is teleportation.”

Teleportation! Sunset thought in surprise, her expression mirrored by Twilight, while Trixie looked confused, much to Sunset's annoyance.

“Tele-what?” Trixie asked.

“Teleportation,” Tell repeated, “It's a spell that gets you from one place to another, instantly. I do believe Princess Luna used it to take the three of you to the observation tower?” That got a nod from each of them.

“Sir Tell Tale,” Twilight began, “if adults have trouble casting it, how does Luna know we can do it?”

“She has faith in each of you.” He then noticed the doubt on Twilight's face, then added, “Don't worry, Twilight, the effort required in this spell is determined by the distance, so a small hop should be possible by each of you. You are Princess Luna's students after all.” His horn started to glow as he continued. “Now then, the first thing you'll want to do, is focus on where you want to be. It must be someplace you can either see, or are intimately familiar with. With your destination in mind, picture your magic taking you there, and, focusing on your horn, imagine taking a step that will get you there.”

And with that, Sir Tell Tale teleported two paces to the left, letting out a small sigh after doing so. He then looked back to the fillies. “Understand?” Sunset nodded as she started to gather her magic.

“Walking with magic?” Trixie asked, “Trixie can try-” With a light pop, Twilight disappeared, and reappeared at Tell Tale's side, surprising everypony, including Twilight, causing Sunset's magic to fizzle out.

“T-That was well done!” Tell Tale affirmed, his surprise replaced with pride. “You seemed to have no trouble with that. I wonder if it's related to your special talent...?” he wondered out loud, prompting Twilight to quickly appraise her flank, her ears dropping when she saw it still bare.

“T-Thanks.” Twilight replied honestly, looking to the others. Trixie was giving her a smile, while Sunset was trying to hide that look. The one she hated. Working to pull herself away from feeling that way for Twilight's success, Sunset focused on her horn, intending to get this spell down, immediately. There was another pop, and to Sunset's despair, Trixie had teleported next to Twilight.

“I see," Tell stated, "As talented as ever. Good job, Trixie.” Trixie looked to him, seemed to consider something for a moment, before replying.

“Trixie thinks it needs, more~!” and with that, her horn glowed, and she teleported again, summoning a puff of smoke from her destination, then blew it away when she teleported into it, a small set of magical fireworks going off as the filly let out a hearty giggle. “Perfect!” she then swayed on her hoofs as she fell down, shaking her head sluggishly. “Ooo. The Great and Powerful Trixie is sleepy.”

“You've already exhausted your magic? Very well. Twilight, can you help her to her room? You two can do as you wish for the rest of the day. Princess Luna told me this would be a rather short lesson. Appears she was right.” He then looked to Sunset, who had just managed to turned that hated expression to something she did understand. Frustration.

She quickly gathered her magic, and cast the spell. Her horn flared, and with a pop, Sunset stepped back in pain, her horn aching from feedback as her world temporarily fell to pieces. It took several moments for her vision to straighten, and her thoughts to come back together.

Why!? What did I do wrong? Sunset thought as Twilight moved to Trixie's side, helping her up. Twilight gave Sunset an apologetic look, before moving to the castle.

“Ah, fillies,” Tell began, causing the two to stop and look to him quizzically, “Just a reminder, there is no class tomorrow, and your parents will be here as well to pick you up for the weekend.”

“Really!?” Trixie asked, suddenly full of energy.

“That's right,” he affirmed, prompting Trixie to give him a huge smile. She quickly trotted to the castle, then after several steps, slowed down as the fatigue from her drained magic reasserted itself on the filly. Twilight quickly caught up to her, and helped, giving Sunset a 'see you later' as she left.

“Now Sunset, let's try that again.” Sunset did just that, not wanting to be left behind. Her horn glowed brightly, and once again, she suffered feedback as she failed to teleport. Tell Tale approached her, giving her an appraising, and slightly concerned look. “Sunset, I think you're pouring too much magic into the spell, try toning it down.”

Use less magic? Sunset wondered, as she tried to do just that. She then winced in pain, as once again she failed the spell. Her horn was starting to throb at this point, but she ignored it, and tried again.

And again. And again.

“Sunset, I think that's enough-”

“No!” Sunset shouted out, her cry causing her throbbing horn to ache even more, bringing tears to her eyes. “I-I mean, I don't want to stop. I want to cast this!” she declared, looking to Luna's bookkeeper with pleading eyes.

“Sunset, you're already going to have a small headache for the next few days. I can't let you continue, the Princess would have some harsh words with me, and I honestly prefer to not see you hurt yourself over this.”

What? Sunset thought in surprise, his concern for her catching her off guard.


“No buts. Go join the others, and get some rest while you can.” Sunset's ears fell as she gave a small nod, the bobbing of her head making her horn ache, causing her to wince, as she turned to the castle.

However, Sunset wasn't finished. Well, actually, she was done trying the spell, for today, but she wasn't finished trying to learn it. Instead of returning to the others, she went to the library, and started looking for any books that could help her with this problem. Time flew by as she dedicated herself to the task, not wanting to see either Twilight or Trixie until she was able to cast the spell they could.


Sunset looked over the front gates of the castle from the overhanging balcony. She could see two carriages out front, and two groups of ponies, Twilight and Trixie's families, all waiting eagerly for the little fillies to join them, which happened in short order.

Everypony looked happy. And Sunset couldn't help but notice that there wasn't a third carriage, and never doubted that there would ever be more than two. Her horn ached lightly as she felt that hated expression on her face, and let out a tired sigh.

“Why the tired sigh?” a familiar voice asked, startling the filly as she looked to Luna. The princess walked to the balcony, looking to the sight Sunset had turned away from. Sunset could almost feel Luna taking note of the lack of a third family, and the princess's expression shifted to something more disapproving, letting out a small sigh of her own. “Oh.”

Sunset looked back to Twilight and Trixie's families, her brow furrowing. Her face took on that expression, and once again, she pictured her father giving her that look, and her eyes started to itch.


“Yes, Sunset?” Luna asked with some concern.

“What's that feeling you get, when you want something somepony else has? Something like talent, or...” A happy family, she thought as she looked to Luna with desperate eyes. She was tired of this feeling. She was tired of being afraid of not knowing what it was. She wanted to rid herself of it, and saw Luna as the only pony that could help.

“Such a thing is called envy, Sunset.”

Envy? she thought in surprise, A little word like that? Her brow then furrowed.

“How do I get rid of it? I don't like it!” Luna considered the filly for a moment, before nodding towards the ponies at the gate.

“Sunset, why do you envy them?”

Why? Sunset looked over the others, spotting Trixie, and she let out a sigh.

“They, they can cast teleport-”

“You will too,” Luna quickly interjected, “Sunset, don't let your difficulty get you down. You could break the rock with ease, but they couldn't. Now, it's simply reversed.” Sunset nodded, taking in Luna's words, seeing the reason in them. But, the filly wasn't finished.

“They have a family that- that-” she couldn't say the words, her throat closing up from the effort.

“You have Spike,” Luna said, almost soothingly, “That makes you a big sister.” Sunset looked to the princess, surprised by the way she put it.

“A big sister? Me?”

“That's right.”

That, that's something Trixie and Twilight don't have, right? But, Twilight, she's...

“...Twilight is smarter than me.” Luna smiled to Sunset, shaking her head.

“And you're smarter than Trixie. That doesn't seem to bother her.” Sunset's brow furrowed.

“I work really hard, Trixie doesn't, and Twilight's still smarter!”

“Sunset, you shouldn't focus on how others are better than you. You don't need to be the best at everything to be a great pony.”

I don't? she thought, not sure how to take that in. So, instead of focusing on that, she looked back to the heart of the problem.

“Luna, how?” she asked, looking to Luna's eyes, seeing the princess flush lightly from her expression, “How do I get rid of it, my envy?” It was what her father felt towards her. It had made them grow distant and cold, and she didn't want that to ever happen again, to anypony she knew.

“You should try being more than Twilight and Trixie's classmate.” Luna adopted a wise, and hopeful grin. “Try being their friends, Sunset, and maybe then, you'll find your answer.”

“Friends? But there are more important things than friends...” she stated weakly, knowing that if it was something Luna had faith in, that Sunset was missing something important.

“Perhaps, or perhaps not. One thing I do know, is that friendship is one of the most powerful things in all of Equestria. It's not something you should disregard.” There was a glow in Luna's eyes as she said that, and it captivated the filly. Before she could reply to Luna's affirmation, there was the sound of hoof steps behind them, drawing their attention, making Sunset's eyes widen in surprise.

“Hey Sunset,” Twilight said, giving her a smile, “Wanna study together?”

“T-Twilight!? What about your family? Aren't you going with them?” Twilight shook her head, a fire in her eyes.

“They can wait till next week. They understand.” Twilight then nodded to herself. “Sunset, you really wanna learn how to teleport, and I really wanna help!”

“Well then, I guess I'll just leave you two alone,” Luna said as she got up, giving Sunset a small wink. As she walked past Twilight, they both shared a small grin, as the princess left.

“But, why?" Sunset asked, completely lost. "Why do you want to help me?”

“Because! We're friends!”

“Huh?” We are? Sunset wondered, her face adopting a baffled expression, getting a small giggle from Twilight.

“Your face looks silly like that. Come on!” Twilight motioned toward the door, waiting for Sunset to follow.

Sunset stood there, unsure of how to proceed, her hesitation prompting Twilight to grab her by the hoof. Caught off guard, she was pulled along, out of the room. And despite her confusion, Sunset couldn't help but notice, that she was smiling.