• Published 13th May 2015
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The Return of Sunset Shimmer - Never2muchpinkie



Sunset returns through the portal when it opens again, wanting to make amends for the past. However, things get complicatred when she discovers a familiar dark artifact. Lured by a promise of power, can Twilight save her from herself a second time?

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Chapter 21: Conequences

None of them were sure what to say. Their victory was feeling hollow now.

“Why, Sunset?” Twilight said mournfully. “Why did you have to do it?”

Sunset looked Twilight in the eyes. “I… I needed this. I spent so long running away from myself and my responsibilities. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to walk the path of rightness, and that starts with acknowledging my faults and taking responsibility for my actions.”

“But… banishment? You could have stayed with us… began anew! I don’t even know what’s going to happen to you tomorrow. DIDN’T YOU SAY YOUR GREATEST FEAR WAS BEING AWAY FROM YOUR FRIENDS?” Tears started coming down her eyes.

Sunset hugged Twilight. “It’s something I just have to face. I’m scared too, but… in a way, I’ve never felt better in my life. I helped to protect you at the end.”

Twilight hugged her back. “And now I want to protect you! I’m going to talk to Celestia and get her to change her mind!”

Shining put a hoof on her. “You shouldn’t do that.”

“WHY NOT?” she yelled, pulling away from Sunset and turning to her brother. “She saved our butts, and we’re going to repay her by just standing around and doing nothing? By watching her get banished?”

“You know that’s not the point, Twilight,” said Cadance gently. “Sunset may not have known what was going to happen, but her ignorance doesn’t negate everything that happened. As Celestia said it was simply good fortune that Sunset’s actions didn’t have any lasting consequences.”

Twilight growled. “I DON’T ACCEPT THAT!” she yelled, stomping a hoof. “I also put on the Alicorn Amulet, knowing full well what happens to those that wear it. I was manipulated and used by Stardust too, and, just like with Sunset, it was only good luck that I didn’t do anything terrible under his control. If Sunset is getting banished then I’ll be banished right along with her.” She let out a loud snort, crossing her hooves.

Once more they were feeling tense. The reason they had for punishing Sunset was the same as for Twilight, so how could they punish Sunset’s actions, but dismiss Twilight’s? None of them wanted to lose Twilight, though. She was too big a part of all their lives.

The heavy atmosphere was broken by a hearty laugh. All of them turned to Sunset, who was oddly the calmest of all of them. “Oh, Twilight,” she said warmly, putting a hoof to her chest. “You warm my heart. You’re fighting so hard for my sake. But there’s no need to despair. As I said before… this is what I want. It’s the path I’ve chosen.

“Even if I didn’t know the end result of my choice it was still not my place to take something that wasn’t mine. Because of all of you I finally have the courage to face myself honestly, to look at my faults and see someone that can improve. Even Stardust, evil as he was, helped me in seeing the darkness still residing inside my own heart.

“I got to spend time with all of you, and helped to save the day. I got to reunite with Celestia and put our differences aside to become friends again. I’m still alive, and I’m so grateful for that. I’m… happy.”

“Sunset…” Twilight’s anger was fading.

Sunset walked the short distance to Twilight, sitting down and putting her hooves on Twilight’s shoulders. “Equestria still needs you, Twilight. Far more than they need someone like me. You’re an Equestrian protector, the true wielder of the Element of Magic. Don’t let my fate weigh on your mind. I don’t want any more excuses to turn away from what I’ve done. I want to face what I’ve done head on.”

Twilight looked into Sunset’s eyes. They had been so heavy when Sunset had first arrived. She had been so terrified of everything. Now she appeared calm, ready to face anything life threw at her. “I… I guess I should just… accept it, then?”

Sunset nodded. “I would appreciate that. Let’s not make things any harder than they already are. I’m gonna be locked up for a while somewhere, but just knowing that all of you will be waiting for me afterwards will get me through this. But first…”

Letting go of Twilight she turned to Pinkie Pie. “Pinkie, before I go I sure could use the biggest farewell party you’ve ever thrown.”

Tears dripped down Pinkie’s eyes as she nodded. “Leave it to me. Tomorrow you’ll have a huge sendoff.”

“And what about today?” asked Rarity.

“I really just want to spend some time with all of you. I don’t know when I’m going to see all of you again, so I want to make the most of my freedom while I can.” She grimaced a little as she put pressure on her bad leg. “I wish I wasn’t so wiped out. I sure would have liked to start work on fixing up the park.”

“Same here,” Twilight replied. “I doubt I could lift up an ant right now.”

“Hold on a sec,” said Applejack.

“Yes?”

Turning to Shining Armor and Cadance she said, “I’m all for a nice party tomorrow, but what exactly did Celestia say happened to Sunset?”

“Ponyville hasn’t forgotten Trixie,” said Cadance. “She also got her hooves on the Amulet and was messing things up for everyone. Celestia made it clear that that was not what you were really like.”

“And everyone already knows Twilight,” said Shining. “They know she’s not some horrible monster.”

“So the blame for all the incidents went onto Stardust, as it should.”

“That’s good,” said Applejack. “I didn’t know how ponies would react if they knew the guest of honor at our farewell party was the one that started all this destruction.”

“You know what I think we all need?” said Twilight.

“No, what?” asked Rainbow.

Twilight smiled groggily. “You should know. It’s one of your favorite hobbies.”

“What, napping?” she said, jokingly sarcastic.

Twilight nodded. “Exactly.” She stretched a bit. “I’m completely wiped. I need to recharge.”

“Same here,” said Sunset.

“Sounds good to me,” said Spike.

The rest of them agreed, but Shining didn’t. He gave Twilight a hug, saying, “I would love to stay and look over you, but we have to return to the Crystal Empire now. Our people are waiting to hear about the source of that dark magic and if we defeated it.”

Cadance hugged her too. “Stay safe, Twilight.”

Twilight hugged them back. “Alright, you two. Thanks for showing up. We couldn’t have prevailed without you.”

With a few last goodbyes Shining and Cadance left.

Rarity helped bring Twilight’s mattress back up to the loft as Sunset explained why it was on the bottom floor.

After they all got comfortable the seven ponies all laid down. Twilight and Sunset were out almost immediately, having worked the hardest. Spike was right behind them. The rest followed a short while later.

By the time they woke up it was late afternoon. They felt refreshed.

Sunset once more brought up helping to clean the park, which they all accepted. Even though she was rested and had regained some energy she was still having trouble walking and her injuries were causing her pain.

“This won’t do, Sunset,” said Twilight. “You’re too hurt to help.”

“Nonsense!” she replied, a grimace right after refuting that.

“Look, if you want to help out then we need to take care of your injuries first.”

“Celestia already did that, remember?”

Twilight’s horn glowed red, lifting up the Elements of Harmony and giving them to their respective owners. “This will work better. It helped Spike out, so I know it can do the same for you.”

Sunset shook her head. “You don’t need to go that far.”

“YES… I do!” Twilight said firmly. “You’re already in bad shape, and I don’t want you exhausting yourself further. And given that tomorrow you’re being banished somewhere I’d feel much more comfortable knowing you’re in good condition beforehand.

“I’m NOT budging on this! Either you accept the healing or you’re staying here to rest. So which is it?”

Sunset couldn’t fight Twilight. She knew her friend was right. She sighed, lowering her head. “Very well, Princess. You win.”

Twilight gave an authoritative nod. “Good!”

The six of them, as well as Spike, gathered in a circle around her. The process went just like with Spike. Sunset was wrapped in a rainbow-colored light that slowly faded.

When it dissipated Sunset tested her back leg. It didn’t hurt anymore. All her aches and pains had vanished. She felt fit as a fiddle. She bowed her head humbly and said to all of them, “Thank you.”

They replied with, “You’re welcome.”

“So now that I’m all healed up can we go? We don’t have a lot of time. Well, actually, it’s more like I don’t have a lot of time before the sun sets.”

Twilight nodded.

For the next few hours the eight of them worked together with other ponies from Ponyville to get the park looking back to normal. Holes were filled in, blackened grass and plants were gathered or dug up to get to the fresh soil, the fountain was fixed, the pond was filled with water again, benches and the like were crafted, and Applejack donated a few trees from Sweet Apple Acres to replace the ones that had been destroyed.

By the end of it Sunset was sweaty and feeling as tired as before, but she didn’t regret it. She welcomed the feeling of hard work.

Twilight returned to the library, getting a blanket for them to sit on and stare at the stars in the sky.

When that was over it was about time to turn in for the night. At Sunset’s request the other five agreed to a sleepover at Twilights house.

The other six fell asleep rather quickly, tired from all the work. Sunset took a little longer, even though she was equally as tired. There was so much on her mind, but eventually her thoughts quieted down, and she fell asleep.

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