• Published 4th Aug 2015
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Sunset's Little Twilight - PoisonClaw



An accident with the Mirror Portal ends up with Twilight stuck as a small pony in the Equestra Girls' world. Her friends can't get over how cute she is.

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Home is Where the Heart is

The sound of running water woke Sunset from a dreamless sleep. Groaning as she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, she turned her head to glance at her alarm clock, the neon numbers displaying the time as a quarter after nine.

“Good a time as any to get up, I guess…” Loudly yawning as she sat up, she stretched her arms out, the aches and pains from yesterday making themselves known as Sunset tried to locate the source of the noise that had woken her up. I didn’t leave the tap on last night, did I?

The rattling of the bathroom door drew Sunset’s attention as it swung open, a content Twilight drifting out with a towel wrapped around her mane. Noticing Sunset sitting up, Twilight waved at her, positively beaming. “Morning, Sunset! Sleep well?”

It took a second for Sunset’s still half-asleep brain to process the sight of the pony princess flying out of her bathroom, the memories of last night slowly coming back to her. That’s right, Twilight stayed over last night. “I slept alright,” Sunset finally replied. “How about you? I know my couch isn’t the comfiest thing to sleep on, but—”

“No, no, it was fine. If you asked Spike, he’d probably say it was nowhere near the most uncomfortable thing I’ve fallen asleep on.” Countless nights falling asleep at her desk had given Twilight the uncanny ability to fall asleep just about anywhere. “Oh, I hope you don’t mind that I used your shower.”

“Nah, it’s fine. Just don’t forget to turn the water off when you’re done.”

Raising an eyebrow, Twilight craned her neck to peer into the bathroom. “But I already did.”

Now it was Sunset’s turn to look confused. “Then why do I still hear running water?” Listening closer, she noticed that the sound seemed to be coming from somewhere behind her. Turning around, Sunset reached up and pulled back the curtains above her bed. A wall of rain beating against the window greeted her, dark storm clouds blanketing the sky as far as the eye could see.

Sunset groaned, not for the first time cursing that this world had zero control over the weather. “Great, what a perfect way to start the day. I guess I might as well take a shower too.” Climbing out of bed, she strolled over to the closet and grabbed a fresh towel. As she shut the closet, she glanced over at Twilight, who by now had flown over to the couch. “Have you already had breakfast, Twilight?”

“Nope,” Twilight replied, shaking her head. “I only just woke up.”

“Then feel free to help yourself,” Sunset offered, pointing towards the kitchenette. “There should be a box of cereal in the cupboards and milk in the fridge. Bowls are the middle cupboard. I think I’ve got some fruit in the crisper too if you want. I won’t be long.” Without waiting for a reply, Sunset stepped into the bathroom, closing the door behind her before turning on the water, which took no time at all to heat up thanks to Twilight’s recent shower and made Sunset smile.

She better have saved me enough hot water!

***

It was still pouring outside by the time Sunset exited the shower, so after finding something to wear, she poured herself a bowl of cereal and sat down next to Twilight on the couch, the mare carefully levitating each spoonful up to her mouth to avoid spilling so much as a drop. The next few minutes were spent in relative silence, with the only sound being the crunch of the cereal between them.

“Hey, Sunset?” Twilight abruptly asked.

“Yeah?”

Twilight avoided looking Sunset in the eye, as if debating with herself whether she should say anything or not. “While I was looking through your cupboards, I couldn’t help but notice you have a large amount of instant noodle cups. Twenty-six of them to be exact.”

“…And?” Sunset replied, her tone that of someone who had just been told the sky was blue.

“Well… can I ask why you have so many cups of instant noodles?”

“Simple: they’re quick and easy to make and, best of all, dirt cheap. I can’t exactly afford to buy a ton of expensive food, so I make do with what I can.”

“Oh. I guess that makes sense.”

Silence once again prevailed as they finished eating. Once they were done, Sunset picked up their bowls and carried them to the sink to be washed. While she did that, Twilight took a moment to look around Sunset’s apartment some more. Not that there was much else to see given that it was basically one big room, but it certainly had a homey feel to it nonetheless. “Can I ask you something, Sunset?”

“Does it have something else to do with my eating habits?” Sunset answered over her shoulder as she set their bowls into the drying rack. Grabbing a washcloth to dry her hands, she turned back around to face Twilight, leaning against the counter with her arms crossed over her chest. “Well? Does it?”

“Uh… no?”

“Then ask away.”

“I was just wondering, how exactly do you—”

Vrrr! Vrrr! Vrrr!

“Hold that thought.” Crossing the room, Sunset plucked her phone off her nightstand, quickly noticing a new text from Rainbow Dash in her inbox that read, Yo, Sunbutt. U up?

Sunset couldn’t help but giggle at the text. Sunbutt… now there’s a nickname I never thought I’d hear again. I wonder if she ever told Twilight about it. Maybe I should ask… Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Twilight watching her with obvious curiosity. Nah, I probably shouldn’t. If Celestia never told her, then hearing it from me might just make her faint.

Sunset quickly replied back with, Yeah, I’m up. Twilight is too.

With lightning speed, a reply came back. Gr8! Log in2 UR Skype. Vid chat right now with the girls, come join.

Give me a few minutes, Sunset responded before setting her phone back down.

“Who was it?”

“Rainbow Dash. She was wondering if…” Sunset paused, thinking for a second. “Actually, it’d be easier if I just showed you.” Walking to her desk, Sunset hit the power button to her computer, the machine whirring to life as she sat down. Intrigued, Twilight flew over, peering over Sunset’s shoulder as the screen ran through a boot up sequence before switching to a login screen.

You’ve used a computer before, right?” Sunset asked as she keyed in her login and password.

“Somewhat…” Twilight replied, remembering her embarrassing attempts at operating such a device during her first visit. Since then she’d picked up how to use some of the strange devices of this world like a cell phone, but this “computer” still eluded her.

Having verified her login and password were correct, the screen switched to show the desktop, proudly displaying a picture of Sunset and friends taken right after the Battle of the Bands. Pinkie Pie had obviously seen fit to throw a party after their triumph over the Dazzlings, managing to throw something together in under an hour in Applejack’s barn. Streamers, balloons, cupcakes, music, if it was a party staple, Pinkie had more than delivered.

Mid-way through the party, Sunset remembered standing by the punch bowl talking with Fluttershy, when Rainbow had blind-sided her and dragged her by the waist towards where her and Applejack were having an arm wrestling contest. Applejack had quickly jumped into the fray as well, silencing her protests by taking her hat off and jamming it on her head. Luckily, Rarity and Fluttershy had jumped to her rescue, coming in from either side to try and free her from Rainbow’s clutches. As all this was going on, Pinkie Pie had taken the moment to get out her phone, poking her head into frame just before taking a photo of the chaotic mess.

In the end, the photo made Sunset look like a fool… and yet seeing it never failed to bring a smile to her face.

Twilight watched as Sunset used the control device— a “mouse”, if she remembered right— to move the pointer across the screen, double clicking on a symbol that looked like a blue cloud. A separate page opened up, displaying a short list of names with colored dots next to them in either green or red. After another login screen, the little dot next to Sunset’s name switched from red to green.

“Now we just wait for Dash to add us to the call. Oh, almost forgot!” Reaching up, Sunset flicked a switch on a black box on top of the monitor, though the only noticeable change was a tiny red light on the device switching on. Curious, Twilight fluttered up to the strange box, peering into it as she tried to discern its purpose.

Meanwhile, a message popped up on screen: RainbowDash has invited you to join a group chat. Accept? One click later from Sunset, and the screen was replaced by four video boxes, each one showing one of her friends. In the bottom left was Fluttershy while Applejack was on the bottom right and Rainbow Dash, wearing a pair of headphones over her ears, was in the top right. Though the video in the upper left showed an image of what was undoubtedly Rarity’s room, the girl in question was strangely absent.

“Hey girls,” Sunset greeted, announcing her presence while her video took a moment to load.

“About time. Took you long enough to—GAH!” Rainbow flinched back as Sunset’s video feed finished loading, treating her to the sight of Twilight’s eye staring into the camera. “Twi, back away from the camera! Geeze!”

This only made Twilight lean in for a closer examination. “This is a camera?”

“Yes, it is, so unless you intend to give Rainbow an up and close look up your nostrils…” Wrapping her hands around Twilight’s barrel, Sunset pulled her down until she was sitting comfortably in her lap. Adjusting the webcam, she positioned it so both of them were visible in frame. “That’s better. Say hi, Twilight.”

“Uh…” Waving at the camera, Twilight could just make out a smaller image of her and Sunset in the corner of the screen. “Hi?”

Applejack waved back. “Mornin’, Sugarcube.”

“Good morning, Twilight,” Fluttershy said, quickly adding, “Oh, and good morning to you too, Sunset.”

Flipping two fingers off her forehead in some strange hand gesture, Rainbow’s response was an expected, “S’up?”

Twilight’s surprise was written clear across her face. Blinking, she reached out a hoof to try and touch the screen. “Is… is this all in real time?”

“Yep.” Sunset replied, trying not to laugh at Twilight’s surprised face. “With this, you can talk with anyone from just about anywhere in the world. Neat, huh?”

Twilight’s eyes lit up with wonder. “Amazing… Recording video is one thing, but to be able to see and keep in touch with your friends anywhere in the world… Equestria doesn’t have anything close to this kind of instant communication.”

Loudly groaning, Rainbow slumped against her desk. “Well, we wouldn’t even need to be doing this if it weren’t for this stupid rain. Sunny skies all weekend my foot!”

“Ah, quit yer bellyachin’ already, Dash,” Applejack was quick to berate her, by the sounds of it not for the first time today. “We’ve been up and due for some rain for weeks, so it was ‘bout time I’d say.”

“I like the rain,” Fluttershy interjected, “It’s so nice and peaceful. Sometimes I even leave on a recording of it to help the animals relax.”

Applejack nodded in agreement. “I’m with ya there, Fluttershy. Ain’t nothin’ beats the smell of the orchard after a fresh rainfall, I tell ya.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Rainbow grumbled, “Doesn’t change the fact this totally throws a wrench into our long weekend. When else am I going to find the time to practice my new move?”

“I think you’ll survive,” Sunset deadpanned, glancing up at the still empty frame in the top corner of her screen. “Hey, where’d Rarity go?”

Rainbow just shrugged. “Dunno. She up and disappeared right before I texted you. HEY, RARITY!” Rainbow shouted into her mic, making everyone wince as their speakers crackled from the feedback. “You still there?”

“Coming! One moment!” a singsong voice answered from off-camera. Moments later, Rarity stepped into frame as she pulled her chair back and sat back down, her orange spectacles perched on her face. “I do apologize for disappearing like that, I had to take care of something for a minute. Now, what were we talking—” Rarity’s face lit up as she noticed Sunset and Twilight. “Oh, Sunset! Twilight! So nice of you two to join us. I trust then that your trip back went well?”

“Oh, it went fine. We made it back no problem.” Pausing for a second, Sunset seemed to stare off into space while rubbing the back of head. “Well, except for when I crashed into that pole…”

“W-what?” Rarity stuttered, her white face somehow getting even paler. “I’m sorry, did you say you crashed into a pole on your way back?”

“Hmm… maybe it was a bar, or a bench. I’m not too sure, I’m still a little woozy from all the blood loss.”

Rarity looked like she was just about ready to faint… right up until Sunset started snickering, unable to keep a straight face. She wasn’t the only one, as Rainbow Dash and Applejack both seemed to be trying to not burst into laughter. Glaring at them through her monitor, Rarity huffed. “That wasn’t funny.”

“Ah, lighten up, Rares. It’s just a bit of dark humor, no biggy.” Applejack tried to reassure her, but Rarity just glared harder.

“Forgive me if I don’t find the idea of possible bodily injury ‘funny’.”

“Rarity’s right,” Twilight said, peering up at Sunset. “That’s not really something to joke about.”

“Thank you, Twilight. I’m glad that someone else thinks so.” Smiling, Rarity reached for her drink just out of sight and lifted it to her lips to take a sip.

“Besides, I was able to re-set the bone quick enough, so she’ll be fine.”

Luckily Rarity hadn’t been facing her computer, so her monitor was saved from the ensuring spray of water. Even Fluttershy giggled at the reaction, while everyone else either snickered or outright laughed.

Wiping her mouth with the sleeve of her shirt, Rarity returned to glaring at her friends through her monitor. “Twilight! I don’t believe you! You’re supposed to be a princess, are you not? I would have thought you would be above such… deplorable attempts at humor. Clearly, Sunset is corrupting you.”

“Hey, I’m not doing anything!” Sunset said in her defense, holding her hands up before pointing at the mare sitting in her lap. “We didn’t plan this, that last part was all her.”

“It’s true. It was a spur of the moment thing.” Twilight seemed to wilt, her wings sagging and her ears drooping as Rarity continued to glare at her. “I’m sorry if we took it too far though.”

Seeing Twilight suddenly look so disparaged finally made Rarity relent, her posture relaxing and her expression softening. “It’s quite alright, dear. It’s just that the thought of any of you being hurt is not one that sits well with me. All I ask is that you please don’t joke about something like that.”

Perking up, Twilight nodded. “That sounds fair.”

“Say, are you working on something right now, Rarity?” Sunset asked as to change the subject, having not missed the glasses Rarity was wearing, which she only ever wore when she was working.

At Sunset’s inquiry, Rarity’s previous mood seemed to pull a 180, a beaming smile spreading across her face as she clapped her hands together in unbridled glee. “I am, as a matter of fact! It’s rare that I get the house all to myself, so I’m making the most of it to try out a few more designs without fear of being disturbed.”

“I still can’t buy the fact that y’all turned down a trip to Whinny Land with yer folks,” Applejack said.

Rarity just rolled her eyes. “I’ll have you know, Applejack, that I have been to Whinny Land before. The supposed ‘happiest place on earth’ is not all it’s cracked up to be, I assure you. Though I am sure Sweetie Belle and my parents will enjoy themselves nonetheless, I would much rather spend my weekend working on my designs or spending it with you all. Besides, it was lucky that I didn’t go, given Twilight’s little unforeseen mishap on her way here.”

“Reckon y’all got a point there. So Twi, how ya likin’ yer stay at Sunset’s place?”

“It’s been nice,” Twilight replied, “I fell asleep not long after we got here, but I’ve been enjoying it so far.”

“Really? If that’s so, then I reckon we should have our next sleepover at Sunset’s. How about it?”

“Don’t count on it,” Sunset said, shooting down the idea straight out of the gate. “There’s barely enough room in here for Twilight and me, let alone all of you. Outside of trying to cram all of us in here, I’d like my security deposit to stay intact.”

Sensing that arguing would be futile, Applejack just shrugged. “Can’t blame me for askin’. Say, Twilight, I was wonderin’ if’n ya got any more crazy stories of yer adventures with yer pony friends?”

Smiling, Twilight clapped her hooves together. “As a matter of fact…”

***

“No way!” Rainbow leapt out of seat, her mouth hanging opening in shock. “You’re telling me Shy stared down a dragon?!”

Wide eyed, Fluttershy looked like she was just about ready to hide under her desk. “Oh my… I don’t think I could ever do something like… like that.”

“Neither did she, or any of us to tell you the truth.” Twilight still fondly remembered the moment when, faced with a colossal and pissed off dragon, the skittish pegasus had jumped in without a second thought to defend them all. “Just goes to show how someone can surprise you in the most unexpected of ways when they need to.”

“Good thing too, on account of the dragon ready to use ya to floss his teeth,” Applejack said, reclining back in her chair. “I gotta say, Twi, for a world full of magical ponies, it sounds like a mighty dangerous place to live if’n everything wants to make a snack out of ya. Now, don’t go takin’ this the wrong way, but frankly the more and more I hear of yer world, the less I’m wantin’ to visit.”

“I must agree,” Rarity said, counting on her fingers. “Hydras, dragons, endlessly multiplying vermin that devour everything…” Rarity shuddered at the very idea of such creatures. “Truly, we were lucky that the worst thing to ever cross over was the Dazzlings. How ever did you manage to survive such harrowing encounters unscathed?”

“Believe me, I sometimes wonder that myself. Still, Equestria as a whole is actually much safer than I make it out to be. Like up in the north the worst they have to deal with besides the weather are the Glacier Wolves, and they avoid fire at all costs. It’s just that Ponyville tends to have a habit of attracting these kinds of crises surprisingly frequently. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s a great place to live and I wouldn’t live anywhere else, but even on the best of days it can be a nexus of crazy at times.”

“That tends to happen when you build a town next door to the Everfree forest,” Sunset remarked. “Even living in Canterlot, I remember hearing reports of the kind of things that call that place home. I can’t imagine living nearby, let alone going into the forest itself.”

“Zecora doesn’t seem to mind it.”

Rarity blinked at the familiar sounding name, “Zecora? Our science teacher?”

Twilight nodded. “Her Equestrian counterpart is actually a zebra witch doctor that lives in the Everfree Forest. We kind of… got off on the wrong hoof a few years back, but she’s been a great friend ever since.”

“Wait…” Sunset paused at something Twilight had said. “She actually lives in the forest? The same place that manticores, timberwolves and chupacabras call home? Does she have a death wish?”

“Hardly. Having seen what Zecora’s potions can do, I’d be more concerned for the forest animals than for her.”

Rainbow Dash quirked an eyebrow. “So, you’re saying our science teacher’s a zebra witch doctor that lives in a forest of monsters? Geeze, next thing you’ll tell me is our principals are really prin— hmm?” Pausing, Rainbow glanced at something out of view. “Hold on, I think I can hear my dad calling me for something. Back in a sec.” Removing her headphones, she dropped them onto her desk before getting up and walking out of frame. The microphone barely picked up the sounds of a conversation in the distance, but not enough that anything could be made out.

Moments later, Rainbow Dash returned and swiftly pulled her headphones back over her ears. “Sorry about that. My dad says he’s taking us out for lunch, so I’m gonna bounce in a minute. We all still on for tomorrow?”

Rarity nodded. “Weather permitting, I don’t see why we wouldn’t be.” Everyone else was quick to echo similar words of agreement.

“Great. Well, I better get going. See ya!” Seconds later, her screen switched to black as her video cut off before disappearing, leaving three frames remaining.

“Actually…” Applejack spoke up, “I think I better get goin’ too. Talkin’ about one of our teachers reminded me I still got homework to finish. If’n I want to make it tomorrow, I better get it done by today or I’ll be hosed.”

Rarity cleared her throat before adjusting her glasses. “I hope you’ll forgive me, but I think it would be best if I depart as well. I’ve left my latest design unattended for long enough as it is, so I should get back to work before my muse slips through my fingers. Strike while the iron is hot, as they say.”

“I guess this is goodbye for now,” Sunset said, looking at Fluttershy “You leaving too, Fluttershy?”

“No, I can stay for a while longer. I’ve already fed Angel, so he should be-“ A loud crash made Fluttershy jump in her seat, whipping her head around to look at something off-screen. “On second thought, I have to go. Angel, please don’t touch that—” She was cut off by her video shutting down, followed seconds later by Rarity and Applejack logging off as well.

Sunset and Twilight stared at the screen for several seconds, just long enough for the silence to start trespassing into awkward territory. Before that could happen though, Twilight spoke up. “That was interesting. The technology of this world never ceases to amaze me.” Glancing up at Sunset, she asked, “What else can this machine do?”

“Oh, plenty of things. In fact…” Closing the program, Sunset wasted no time in opening up a web browser. “Want to see something cool?”

***

Molten lava bubbled and flowed through the rocky wastes, the crumbling remains of buildings the few remaining relics of humanity not yet swallowed up by the inferno. Atop a bridge spanning a river of lava, three masked men in blue uniforms stood, the only discerning factor between them being a different coloured jewel in the centre of their masks.

Floating above these men was a pack of mechanized canines radiating a light blue glow, gears visible across their bodies and some with two or even three heads per canine. They remained motionless however, scowling just as hard as their masters at the interloper that had interrupted their Hunting Game, leaping onto the bridge on his motorcycle to get in-between them and their prey.

One of the men narrowly avoided getting run over as this new challenger sped past him, shouting “My turn! Draw!” over his shoulder.

“From my hand, I summon the Tuner monster, Speedroid Tri-Eyed Dice!” In a flash of light, a creature resembling a blue four sided die that, true to its name, was covered in three markings of eyes and with three glowing orbs floating around it, appeared next to another creature, this one a mechanical card with jets on all four corners.

Riding his motorcycle towards a chunk of debris, the rider revved his engine and accelerated up it like a ramp, sailing into the air and arcing over the heads of his three bewildered opponents. “Now, I tune my level three Tri-Eyed Dice, with my level four Speedroid Menko!”

Tri-Eyed Dice suddenly vanished in a burst of light, leaving behind a trio of glowing stars that sailed into the air to form three rings that glowed a light green. Hovering over Speedroid Menko, its form faded until only an outline remained, revealing four glowing stars within it. As the body faded away, the three rings shifted horizontally, the four stars floating between them as a burst of light lanced through the centre, radiating outward until it had eclipsed the stars and rings in a column of light.

Landing the wheels of his bike against the side of a building, the motorcycle sped down as its rider began to chant, “Spread those wondrous and beautiful wings and strike down your enemies at the speed of light! Synchro Summon!

“Appear, level seven, Clear Wing Synchro Dragon!” With a mighty roar, a massive white dragon, with a striped barbed tail instead of legs and wings that glowed a fluorescent green, flew out from the column of light, flying beside its master as he kicked his bike off the building, coming to a dead stop before the trio of masked duellists.

Twilight and Sunset watched all this play out on the screen of Sunset’s computer, Twilight gasping in surprise as she watched the bike sail through the air. “Did he just…”

“Yep.”

As the dragon appeared, Twilight glanced up at Sunset, smirking as she asked, “I’m going to assume you can’t do that with your bike, can you?”

Sunset couldn’t keep herself from chuckling. “Not unless I wanted to end up in traction with a trashed bike.”

“Dichroic Mirror!”

Twilight looked back at the screen in time to watch the dragon let loose a burst of energy, blasting and destroying one of the mechanical orthrus controlled by the opponents. As the orthrus was destroyed, an armoured mass of gears and cannons on wheels sitting behind the three whirred to life and fired, blasting the one who played it in the back and knocking him to the ground. “Wait… I thought that was their card? So if their monsters are destroyed, they’ll get hit too? That sounds like a real design flaw.”

Sunset nodded. “Seems they didn’t think that far ahead, or just assumed nobody would ever make use of that particular flaw.”

In seconds, the motorcyclist proceeded to wipe the floor with his opponents, all three falling to the ground unconscious as their own weapon simultaneously blasted them in the back. The scene then cut to a control room watching all this on a monitor, all in attendance just as disbelieving of the motorcyclist’s complete victory. Just as the one in charge expressed his shock, the screen cut to black, signaling the end of the video.

“That was… interesting,” Twilight remarked after a moment of consideration. “How did you even find this?”

“Fluttershy. She watches a ton of stuff like this, and I caught her watching it one day during lunch. I should show you the one with the masked rider who transforms using a belt to fight evil. I think it was called ‘common’ something…”

The mental image alone made Twilight’s face scrunch up. “That sounds silly.”

“It is, but in a strangely entertaining way from what I’ve seen. Hey, would you mind getting up? I was thinking about making us some popcorn.” Sunset knew she could have just lifted the mare up off her lap, but she could already tell Twilight was getting sick of being carried around.

While Sunset went to make some popcorn, Twilight couldn’t shake the nagging feeling in the back of her mind that she’d forgotten something. Trying to jog her memory, she took another look around Sunset’s apartment, not for the first time noticing how beat up the couch looked. She wondered if that was just a sign of age, or if Sunset had gotten it at a discount due to damage…

Twilight’s ears shot up as it hit her like a bolt out of the blue. “Oh! I just remembered! There was something I was going to ask you before we were interrupted by Dash.”

Having already retrieved a bag of instant popcorn from her cupboard and tossed it into the microwave, Sunset looked up from keying in the time. “Oh? What was it?”

“It’s just I was wondering how you’ve managed to afford all this for so long. This apartment can’t be cheap, especially since you’ve been living here for a while. I’ve never asked where you worked, but it must pay alright if… Sunset?” Twilight stopped when she saw that Sunset was frozen in place, her hand shaking slightly as it hovered over the keypad of the microwave. “Did… did I say something wrong?”

Snapping back to reality, Sunset quickly hit the start button on the microwave, the machine whirring to life. As the slow sound of popping kernels filled the air, Sunset stepped back, sighing as she ran her hand through her hair. “You know, you’re the first person to actually ask me that. I don’t know if the others are just being nice or if they still believe the lie I told everyone the first year I was here.”

“What lie was that?”

“That I was living off the inheritance from my rich family. Throw a little money around once in a while and no one asks otherwise. Obviously it’s a bit more complicated than that, and since you asked, I might as well tell you.”

Walking over to her bed, Sunset crouched down and pulled a small chest with a number lock out from under it. Picking it up and sitting down onto her bed, she keyed in the combination and opened it just as Twilight settled down next to her.

Inside were a few assorted items, including what looked to be a second ID and a random flash drive, but what was most apparent was the purple velvet bag taking up most of the space.

“This is how I’ve been able to afford all this up till now.” Pulling out the velvet bag and undoing the string, Sunset tilted the bag and shook it over her hand. From within, several gold coins and a pearl too large to fit on an earring or necklace tumbled out.

Twilight’s eyes widened at the sight of the coins, the unmistakable image of a sun and moon printed on either side. “Those are Equestrian bits!”

“Yep. Took me a while to find the right buyer, but it turns out the exchange rate on solid gold coins and jewels is absurd. Right before I passed through the portal, I bumped into a mare that clearly had more money than common sense and… borrowed her bit pouch.”

“… Borrowed? You ‘borrowed’ her bit pouch?” Twilight narrowed her eyes at Sunset, a rebuke already forming on the tip of her tongue. “Sunset—”

“Don’t even start, Twilight,” Sunset said much harsher than she intended to, though that didn’t stop her from glaring right back at the alicorn. “This mare clearly wasn’t hurting for money considering all the jewellery and fancy threads she was wearing, and it’s not like I can go return it now! Besides, out of all the things I regret, this isn’t one of them. I don’t know how I would have survived otherwise.”

The pair locked eyes for several tense moments, before Twilight reluctantly relented and looked away, sighing. “I guess I can’t fault you there. Even though I don’t condone how you got the money, I can’t argue with needing a way to survive. Although, I am still amazed you were able to make it last this long.”

“It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure. I have to be frugal where I can.” Sunset pointed at her computer, the screen now displaying an image of multiple colored pipes looping across it. “My computer, for instance, is several models out of date so I was able to get it cheap. It’s not going to be able to run anything high-end and it has a tendency to freeze once in a while, but it still works just fine. Same with my phone, which has none of the bells and whistles that the latest models do.”

“I take it the same applies to the couch, right?”

“Pretty much. Some guy was throwing it out because it had a stain on it, so I managed to pawn it off him for fifty bucks, seventy to drop it off here. A bucket of soapy water, some fabric cleaner and an hour or two of work later, and it was… mostly good as new.” Sunset chuckled as she started returning the coins and pearl into the bag. “Come to think of it, the only thing I’ve really spent a ton of money on was my bike.”

Pausing, Sunset held up the last bit to her face. Printed on every bit was the image of Celestia’s cutie mark, a crescent moon inlaid in the centre and the words “In Celestia, We Trust” along the rim.

I certainly didn’t trust her like I should have… Sighing, Sunset tossed the bit back into the bag, tying it shut before stashing it back into the chest and slamming the lid closed.

This did not go unnoticed by Twilight. Ok, enough is enough. Reaching out, she put her hoof onto Sunset’s hand, causing the girl to jump a little at the sudden contact and look down at her. “Sunset, something’s bothering you, isn’t it?”

Yanking her hand back, Sunset nervously chuckled as she set the chest aside. “N-nothing’s bothering me. I’m fine, just fi—”

“That’s a lie, and you know it,” Twilight interjected, her eyes displaying a fierce determination that bore into Sunset and vividly reminded her of Celestia. “Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve noticed you acting strange, and I doubt I’m the only one. When you talked about your life back in Equestria, you sounded… disappointed almost. Then there was your reaction to Rarity’s drawing and how you acted just now from just seeing an Equestrian bit.” Her piece said, Twilight breathed in, her features noticeably softer when she spoke. “Sunset, as your friend, I want to help if something’s bothering you. So please, tell me what’s wrong so I can help.”

Even under Twilight’s pleading eyes, Sunset remained silent, her throat having gone dry and refusing to even let her utter a sound in denial. She wanted to say something, anything, but some part of her still held her back, praying that Twilight would take her silence as an answer and let it go.

But Twilight was not so easily deterred, especially in matters relating to her friends. Based on how Sunset had been acting, Twilight had already guessed as to what the problem might be, but had been waiting for Sunset to admit it personally. If Sunset wasn’t going to, then it fell to Twilight to force the matter out into the open.

“You miss Equestria, don’t you, Sunset?”

Sunset looked away, wanting more than anything to refute it, to tell Twilight she was just being silly, and to go back to watching silly videos. And yet… finally hearing it said out loud succeeded in draining every last ounce of energy she had left to try and push it aside, the feelings of loss and emptiness flaring up, just crying out to be set free.

“…Yeah, I do.” Sunset finally admitted, unable to deny it any longer. “I miss Equestria, Twilight. I miss being a unicorn, I miss being able to use magic, I miss walking up to a café and ordering a daffodil and Swiss sandwich, I miss seeing a pony staring back at me when I look in the mirror, I… I miss… I miss…” As everything she’d worked to hard to keep suppressed came pouring out, Sunset’s emotions overwhelmed her, her breaths coming in gasps, eyes clamped shut as tears streamed down her face, wrapping her arms tightly around herself in a futile attempt to fend off the chill that had flooded her body.

Adrift in a sea of sadness, Sunset felt a warmth press up against her side. Eyes snapping open, she looked down to see Twilight holding onto her side, her front hooves and wings against Sunset’s waist as she tried to give the much larger girl a hug. Pulling her arms away from her body, Sunset reached down and scooped up the mare and held her against her chest, an action that Twilight offered no resistance to.

Minutes passed as they sat there, the loud beeping of the microwave going unanswered as the last of Sunset’s tears ran down her face. Once Sunset felt composed enough to speak, she released Twilight from her embrace, holding her at arm's length. “Thanks for that, Twilight. I needed that.”

“Anytime,” Twilight replied, a reassuring smile on her face as she was set back down. “How long have you felt this way?”

Wiping the tears away with her sleeve, Sunset rested her hands in her lap as she thought on her answer. “I guess… I guess it started a week or so after we beat the Dazzlings. For the first time in a long while, I actually felt like I belonged. I had friends that I cared about and who cared about me, and more and more of the school were willing to give me a second chance. And yet… I still found myself thinking back to Equestria from time to time, remembering the days I’d spent studying up a new spell so I could get it just right, even if I was a total jerk about it.

“The more and more I thought about it, the more things I realized I missed, many for the first time in years. When I first crossed over, I swore that I would only return when I proved I was the best and strongest there was.” Sighing loudly, Sunset stared off as she remembered the disastrous Fall Formal. “And we both know how well that turned out…”

“But things are different now,” Twilight was quick to reassure her. “You’ve learned from your mistakes and become a better person for it. Plus, now that I can open the portal whenever I want, there’s nothing stopping you from coming over for a visit. All you’d have to do is ask and I can have one of the guest rooms in the castle set up in no time.”

Sunset still appeared uneasy. “While I appreciate the offer… it’s just not that simple, Twilight.”

“Huh? What do you me—” Twilight’s eyes widened. “It’s Princess Celestia, isn’t it? You’re afraid of facing her again after so long.”

“Wouldn’t you be, if you’d been as terrible to her as I was?”

“Sunset, I may not know exactly what happened, but I do know that the Princess has forgiven you for all of it. I know that she would give anything for the chance to see you again after all this time.”

Sunset scoffed. “I doubt that. You weren’t there when she had me removed from the castle, when she took away my title as her personal student.” Sunset began to fidget, squeezing her hands together so tightly her knuckles were turning white. “Twilight… I said such horrible things to her, things I can never take back. I’ll never forget the anger in her eyes when she called the guards on me, or the sheer disappointment on her face while I was being taken away. It hurt, Twilight. It felt like I’d been stabbed in the heart… and all I could think about was myself, how I was being denied what I believed was rightfully mine, like some spoiled child!”

Sunset buried her head in her hands, ashamed at how she had acted to the pony that had always given her everything she could have asked for. She doubted Celestia ever wanted to see her again. If she did, it would only be to have me arrested for treason.

“Sunset, do you know the first thing Celestia said to me after I returned with my crown?”

“W…what?” That was enough to make Sunset look up, caught off guard by Twilight’s seemingly random question. “I don’t know, ‘Congratulations?’ ‘I never had any doubt you would succeed?’ ‘Are you alright?’”

Twilight shook her head. “No, the first thing she said to me had nothing to do with me. Right after I stepped from the portal, she asked me if you were alright.”

“She… she did?”

Nodding, Twilight continued, “When I told her that not only were you alive, but that I’d left you in safe hands, it was like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. Just seeing the look of relief on her face is all I need to know that, despite what happened in the past, she never stopped caring about you, Sunset.”

Sunset was left speechless. By all accounts, Princess Celestia should hate her, and yet her first concerns after Twilight had returned hadn’t been for her fellow princess, but for her. Could it be true? Could Celestia still care about her, even after everything she’d done?

“However,” Twilight went on, “if you feel you can’t face Celestia yet, then I won’t force you to. Whether or not you decide to see Celestia is your decision, and I’ll support whatever you decide to do.”

“I… I don’t know what to say.” Sunset finally managed to utter. “Thanks.”

“You don’t have to thank me, that’s what friends do. Regardless, that still shouldn’t keep you from coming back to Equestria, especially if you’re feeling homesick. Once the portal’s been fixed and is up and running again, you can come over anytime and be back before dinner. I could introduce you to my pony friends, show you around town, and we could practice magic together!” Twilight giggled, unable to hide her excitement at the prospect. “What do you say?”

As apprehensive as she had been at first, Sunset couldn’t deny that Twilight’s offer was tantalizingly tempting. All she had to do was ask, and she would be back in Equestria before she knew it. She’d have her magic back, she’d be a pony again and, maybe someday, she’d be able to face Celestia again. It was like a dream come true.

And yet…

“And then what?”

“W…what?” Twilight asked, this time the one caught off guard. “I… I don’t—”

“Suppose I take you up on your offer and go back to Equestria. I get to use magic again, a chance to meet the pony versions of all our friends, maybe make new friends while I’m there and even potentially get the chance to apologize to ponies I was a total jerk to in the past. Hell, maybe I could even work up the nerve to face Princess Celestia again and learn that you’re right after all and that she really does forgive me for everything. What then?

“What reason then would I have to ever come back here?”

Unable to come up with an immediate answer, Twilight remained silent. Sunset took that opportunity to go on. “Even if it was originally only because you asked them to keep an eye on me, five girls I used to go out of my way to bully have become my best friends. They helped me when no one else wanted to even be near me, and for that I am truly grateful to them.

“But if I go back to Equestria and use everything I’ve learned about friendship from them to make up for everything there, then what’s keeping me from just staying there indefinitely? What’s stopping me from going, ‘Hey, thanks for everything you’ve taught me, but I’m just going to go back to Equestria for good. So long!’” Sighing, Sunset hung her head at the very idea of leaving them behind. “I couldn’t do that to them, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop myself.

“If that wasn’t enough, I… I don’t know if I’d call wanting to go back to Equestria being ‘homesick’. I might have grown up in Equestria, but… but it’s not my home. Not anymore, and I’m actually wondering if it ever was. But here… I have friends here, Twilight. I’ve made a life for myself here, I’m… I’m happy here.” Holding her hand to her chest, Sunset’s next words were filled with unwavering conviction. “This city, this apartment, this world… this is my home now.”

A heavy silence hung in the air following Sunset’s declaration, during which all Twilight could do was stare in stunned silence as she took it all in. After several moments without a response from Twilight, Sunset sighed. “I’m sorry. I know I must sound silly, saying that the place I was born and grew up in isn’t my home—”

“Not at all,” Twilight finally said, a smile slowly spreading across her face. “In fact, I understand exactly what you’re saying.”

“You’re just saying that to make me feel better.”

“No, it’s true! I don’t know if I ever told you this, but I lived almost my entire life in Canterlot. Though I ventured outside of the city sometimes with the Princess, the majority of my life was spent within the city walls. At the time, it was the only ‘home’ I’d ever known.

“When Celestia sent me out to Ponyville to oversee the Summer Sun Celebration, all I could think about at the time was getting this over with so I could prove to her that I was right about Nightmare Moon and getting back home to Canterlot as quickly as possible. And yet, by the very next morning, the idea that I would have to return to Canterlot so soon made me sad.

“In less than twenty-four hours, I’d gained five friends I had come to care about, and wanted to get to know better. When Celestia agreed to let me stay in Ponyville from then on, I couldn’t have been happier. Even though I still visit Canterlot from time to time, I stopped thinking of it as ‘home’ a long time ago, and when I became a princess, the idea that I might have to leave Ponyville and my friends behind scared me the most.”

Pumping her wings until she was hovering almost eye level with Sunset, Twilight reached out and put her hoof over Sunset’s heart. “I know it sounds cheesy, but I’ve learned that old expression saying ‘Home is where the heart is’ couldn’t be more true. The memories I’ve built with my friends and will continue to build are what makes Ponyville my home, just as the memories you’ve built with our friends here makes this your home, and no one can say otherwise.”

Slowly, a genuine smile began to spread across Sunset’s face. Before Twilight knew what was happening, she was drawn into another hug by the fiery-haired girl, letting out an undignified “Eep!” as she was pulled in.

“Twilight, I can’t thank you enough for understanding. I’ll think about it, but I just want you to know I couldn’t have asked for better friends than you and the girls.”

Despite the sudden hug, Twilight felt herself smiling as well. “Anytime, Sunset.”
Almost a minute later though, Twilight was less than enthusiastic about suddenly being used as a stuffed animal. “Uh, Sunset? Would you mind…”

“Oh! Sorry!” Sunset felt herself beginning to blush as she set Twilight back down. As she did so, a mischievous idea popped into her head. “Hey, Twilight… did the Princess ever tell you how she got her nickname?”

“Nickname? What nickname?”

Author's Note:

There you have it. I've been building up to this ever since I wrote the first chapter, so of course actually getting this out gave me no end of trouble. In that time, Friendship Games revealed it cut out an identical subplot regarding Sunset's homesickness.

I'm of two minds regarding this subplot being cut. On the one hand, I understand why it was cut, given the writers didn't want to make it sound like Sunset had grown tired of the human world was planning on leaving. On the other hand though, I would have liked it if they at least kept in the duet with Twilight and Sunset, because that was even better than the version put into the movie.

And yet, as I hopefully made clear, I believe that Sunset's "home" is the EQG's world, something I've believed every since I listened to My Past is Not Today, in-particular the line, "That's when you came and got me, and I felt like I was home."

"Home isn't where you're from, it's where you find light when all grows dark."
- Pierce Brown