• Published 4th Jan 2016
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Principal Celestia Hunts the Undead - Rune Soldier Dan



The faculty of Canterlot High battles otherworldly horrors with style

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Vampires do not Sparkle

A long day. Still, Celestia was optimistic. She’d made quiet rounds with the faculty to inform them of the Sunset situation, and no major objection had been raised. Some were even supportive, like Redheart:

“Well, Principal, I think you’re doing the right thing. You’re right – if we refused her, Sunset would just hare off on her own, and who knows what trouble she’d get into? I’ll patch her up when she needs it, same as the rest of you.”

Cranky Doodle was fine as well, which genuinely surprised Celestia. He was a pessimist, but also a realist.

“Miss, we don’t know two darned things about most of the monsters we fight, and not even one darned thing about their magic. If Sunset can help us even the odds, I say we let her.”

Iron Will, the gym teacher… he always had his own perspective on things.

“If Sunset’s a hunter, I’ll still be a thumper!”

“Ah… yes, Iron. But what do you think of it?”

“When zombies be bunching, IRON WILL BE PUNCHING!”

And then he did that thing where he rips off his shirt and vibrates his pecs.

The one Celestia was least confident about had been saved for last. While most of the faculty had by now accepted Sunset’s change of heart with good cheer, Nagatha Harshwhinny remained suspicious and hostile to the girl. She taught history, Sunset’s academic weak spot, and had zero reluctance to remind her of the Fall Formal. Celestia had learned second-hand that Harshwhinny squabbled with Luna, disliked the Rainbooms and Redheart… honestly, Celestia wasn’t too sure what the stern woman thought of her.

More to the point, she was the only member of the faculty who had been in “the business” longer than Celestia. Her opinion mattered, and Celestia would be a fool to ignore it.

In the end, the hours spent worrying about the talk proved needless. When the subject was broached, Harshwhinny simply glanced up from her papers, shrugged, and said, “Good luck.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but neither was it an objection. When classes ended and Sunset came to the office, Celestia had been able to greet her with the honest statement that the faculty more-or-less approved of her joining.

“Even Miss Harshwhinny?” Sunset asked.

Celestia nodded, rationalizing that it was probably not a lie.

A few hours of informal chatting passed, this time with Luna playing a far more active role. To both parties’ surprise, they learned many of Earth’s monsters had equivalents in Sunset’s Equestria. Both worlds had fact-based legends of vampires, werewolves, and darker creatures from beyond time and space. Stranger still, when shown a photograph of a chalk-drawn symbol, Sunset had immediately identified it as a necromantic rune, and stated with confidence that it summoned zombies. She was not incorrect.

Other subjects found her rather more lacking. She had zero skill with firearms or explosives, and her only combat experience had been brawling with other students. She once had a switchblade knife for intimidation, but had long since thrown it away.

No one brought up the idea of using the Rainbooms’ magic. Celestia’s goal was to protect the student body, not involve them in the fight. Sunset’s unique knowledge made her an exception, but the exceptions ended with her.

As the conversation wore on, the boundaries between principals and student began to slide. They chatted and laughed over a delivered pizza, exchanging theories and comments.

Luna didn’t laugh, of course. But her glare grew marginally softer, and her smile came readily. The evening’s shadows grew long, and the sisters shared another near-telepathic glance.

“I think this was a good move,” Celestia communicated with an eyebrow wiggle and light laugh.

Luna’s arched eyebrow returned, “Don’t forget, it was my idea.” Celestia rolled her eyes, reaching for another slice of pizza.

And the lights went out. Three heads snapped upwards as the doorknob slowly turned.

Sunset stood bolt upright and looked around wildly, patting her belt for the weapon that was not there. “Where’s my backpack!? It’s got the gun!”

“You put it in the backpack?” Luna growled.

“Of course I did! Seriously, what were you thinking giving me that in front of–”

“It seems the hunters have recruited.”

The voice slithered through the door, loud and low, but distinctly feminine.

With a rush of cold air, the door swung open. A cloaked figure stood on the other side, very tall and with a bent, conical head. Arms too low for the shoulders pressed long fingers together in a mockery of prayer. Little else could be seen – the hallway and office were both dark, casting the creature in shadows.

“Such a young one. A little chick, ordered to hunt foxes. You poor things would be lost without the friendlier foxes, wouldn’t you?”

As the adrenaline gave way, Sunset blinked and squinted in the gloom. Something was… off, here. Neither principals were scrambling for weapons, or even giving the newcomer their full attention. Instead, Celestia pinched the bridge of her nose, while Luna groaned and looked away.

The stranger seemed off, too. Its voice came not from the conical head, but from a place below. Almost as if the cone was nothing more than a hat.

The coin dropped. Sunset couldn’t believe it, but… “Trixie?”

“In the undead flesh!” Trixie cried, raising her arms and returning to her normal voice.

“Seriously!?”

“No,” Luna said. “Not seriously.”

Ever the diplomat, Celestia explained. “She stumbled onto one of our meetings a few weeks back. Ever since then, she’s been a little…”

“Pain in the ass.” Luna finished.

“Wait. If you were a real vampire…” Sunset turned back to Trixie. “Wouldn’t they kill you?”

“Nuh-uh!” Trixie protested in a way that struck Sunset as distinctly un-vampireish. “Trixie is a good vampire! She helps protect the school! And she is a vampire! Here, watch!”

The girl’s right hand threw something to the ground. It cracked and popped just as the left hand switched on the lights. The return to vision brought Trixie’s details into view, with bright glitter swirling around her.

“Behold!” Trixie called, pointing a finger above her hat. “The Great and Powerful Trixie sparkles in the light!”

Sunset… lost her words. Without breaking her gaze, she pinched the palm of her left hand and wondered if the whole day had been just a really weird dream.

Luna, as it happened, was not at loss for words. “We all saw the glitter bomb, Trixie.” She had stepped closer during the darkened moments, and now pushed Trixie none-too-gently from the office.

Trixie squawked and protested, but Luna walked behind and continued pushing her in the direction of the exit. Soon they were out of sight, and Celestia scratched her head with a sheepish smile.

“Sorry about that.” She twirled a set of keys around her finger. “It’s pretty late. Where do you live? I’ll give you a ride.”

Sunset – as Celestia learned in that moment – had become a very, very poor liar. She opened her mouth like a fish, snapped it shut, and grinned like an idiot.

“Me? Ha-ha, don’t worry, I’ll just walk. Really, it’s right around the corner.”

“Sunset.”

Once more, Celestia deployed her authoritative voice. Sunset straightened instinctively, and her grin wavered.

“Where do you live?”

The voice of a principal – the voice that demanded answers. Sunset could only oblige. “I crash in Applejack’s barn.”

“She makes you sleep in the barn?” The authority dropped, leaving confusion and a hint of betrayal.

“She, uh…” Sunset fidgeted with her hands, laughing nervously. “She doesn’t know. Her brother makes his deliveries well before school starts, so I sneak in the truck and slip out when we’re close enough. I snag a few apples for breakfast… heh, don’t tell Applejack.”

“Interesting,” Celestia said, maintaining her stern tone. “Have your friends never asked?”

“I told them I live with my dad.”

“But… they know you’re from Equestria.”

“Yeah.” Sunset glanced to the side, and her smile shrank to a small, effacing grin. “I love my friends. And I love them even though they can be… kind of oblivious.”

“We all can be,” Celestia said, quickly assuaging the other’s guilt. A comforting pat on the shoulder bought her time to ponder Sunset’s condition, but only one choice came to mind. They could look elsewhere later.

“Come on home with us.” Celestia smiled welcomingly, and pressed on before the protest. “I… I’m not offering to adopt you. That’s not something I can decide on the fly. But you’re a growing girl, and a growing girl needs a real bed to sleep in.”

“Really?” Sunset laughed. “You’re pulling the ‘growing girl’ line on me again?”

“Absolutely.” Celestia beamed. “And consider this a condition for remaining ‘in.’ Refuse, and you’re out.”

“Alright, alright.” Sunset raised her arms in mock surrender. “Message received. Thanks for this. I’ll be out of your hair as soon as I figure out something else.”

“Let me handle that,” Celestia said. “In the meantime… oh, Luna! Sunset will be coming home with us.”

Luna had materialized in the doorway, sans Trixie. She sent a glance to Sunset that could best be described as ‘baleful’ and turned back to Celestia. “Don’t you think you should check with your roommate, first?”

Celestia’s eternal smile remained unchanged. “It’s my house, sis.”

Luna’s voice never rose, but it somehow intensified with anger. “Oh, you’re playing that card. I see how it is.”

“You two live together?” Sunset squeaked, hoping to preempt their argument. Staying at Celestia’s place would be awkward enough without adding family drama to the mix.

“Yeah,” Luna huffed. “We share a room, too.”

“Really?” Sunset laughed. “What do you do when one of you brings… you know, a boyfriend? Someone that you want to spend the night with?”

She meant it as a light, friendly barb. “A hotel,” or something would be the answer, and the conversation would be drawn further from the drama.

Instead… silence. Cerlestia’s smile remained, but it was a painful, frozen thing. Luna just looked away.

The breaking of the silence was no less awkward. Celestia coughed weakly into her hand and stepped through the door. “Let’s go.”

With her sister’s back turned, Luna stepped close to Sunset, punched her once on the shoulder, and turned to follow.

As she trailed in their wake, Sunset gave her own punch – a rap of the knuckles on the side of her head.

Author's Note:

SHOUTOUT TO ALL MAH SINGLE FOREVER PEEEEEEEEPS


Anyway, next chapter out within the hour, because we don't end postings here on downer notes.

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