• Published 18th Mar 2016
  • 5,603 Views, 181 Comments

By Her Side - Lady Froey

After losing her powers at the Battle of the Bands, Adagio separates herself from the Sirens and spent the last several years adjusting to living as a regular individual in the human world. Attending the local college, she runs into Sunset Shimmer.

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Chapter 3 - Awakening

“Such a pain in the ass.”

Adagio groaned and wiped the fog from her breath off the mirror. She stood in her bathroom, hunched over the sink with her face so close to the mirror that the tip of her nose nearly touched it. The reflection staring back at her looked like a monster, one of her eyes pinned wide open by her fingers as the other carefully drew a tiny brush across her lash line.

She hadn’t worked on her appearance like this since the Battle of the Bands all those years ago. Her old stock from that time filled the trashcan by her feet, covered with the receipts and shredded packages of hastily purchased replacements.

Why are you trying to make yourself look good? Are you trying to impress her?

She tried not to rush her application of dark mascara and eyeshadow; one slip and it would all be ruined. Finishing the last agonizingly slow brush stroke, she let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding; her eyes were now surrounded by a dark shadow which stood out boldly against her pale foundation. Was it too pale? No, no. Everything was going to be fine. She looked great. As a final touch-up, she applied a contrasting lipstick in a satin dark red.

Adagio took a step back from the mirror and tried smiling at herself. It looked weird. Still, she looked better without a smile anyway.

Her phone buzzed on the bathroom counter. Picking it up, she read her latest notification.

At the stoplight near your place will be there in a few minutes!
— Sent by Sunset, 12:17PM.

Grabbing a small side bag, Adagio placed her wallet, phone and some of her cosmetics in it, in case she needed to reapply her makeup.

Walking out of the bathroom, she left the apartment and locked the door behind her. She could hear the rumble of an approaching motorcycle.

She turned toward the source of the noise and soon saw Sunset’s familiar bike riding down the hill. She wasn’t going fast, but even so, her engine and exhaust sounded like a plane getting ready for takeoff.

Adagio walked down the steps as Sunset drove into the parking lot. Sunset pulled up her helmet visor and waved at Adagio. She waved back and walked up to Sunset’s bike.

“Hey, Adagio.” Sunset said, eyeing her striking appearance. “You’re looking good.” She cut her bike off so she didn’t have to talk over the loud idling exhaust.

“Thank you. I always look my best.” Adagio grinned. “Though… I didn’t know we were going to ride downtown on this,” she said, eyeing Sunset’s bike.

“Unless you want to spend half an hour walking downtown, yeah, we are riding there.” Sunset took off her backpack, unzipped the large pocket, retrieved a helmet and held it out to Adagio. “You’re going to need this.”

“Um, okay.” Adagio grabbed the helmet and placed it over her head. Her large volume of hair struggled to fit inside and covered her vision. Some pieces of hair even stuck out of the front of the helmet.

Sunset laughed and got off her bike.

“Here, let me help you.” Sunset gently took the helmet off of Adagio. “Hold your hair back while I put this on, so your hair doesn’t go over your eyes.”

“Sure.” Adagio grabbed her large volume of hair and held it behind her while Sunset placed the helmet over her head. Her hair now came out the back of the helmet and didn’t impede her vision.

“Looks like it fits just right. Sorry if your hair gets ruined, though. I can’t do much about that.” Sunset stepped back onto her bike. “Well, get on.”

“Where do I sit?” Adagio said, looking at the bike again, not sure where to sit, much less place her feet.

“On the back here.” Sunset pointed to an open spot on the back of the bike. “I recently installed some foot pegs on the back there, just sit your feet on them and hold onto me while we ride.”

Adagio nodded and sat on the back of the bike, sitting her feet on the pegs, just above the exhaust hanging out the right side of the bike. She wrapped her arms around Sunset’s stomach.

“Like this?” Adagio asked.

“Perfect.” Sunset gave a thumbs up. “Also when I am making a turn, be sure to lean in the direction I am turning. I can give a hand signal just before so you can prepare to lean in that direction. Also, if we are at a stoplight you can set your feet down, just be sure to keep your eyes on the light and watch out for the exhaust.”

“R-right,” Adagio gulped. It was a bit of info to take in, but she more or less got it. “So, you aren’t going to go fast, are you?”

“I drive the speed limit.” Sunset paused. “Most of the time.” She winked.

“Just try not to get us killed,” Adagio huffed.

“I didn’t plan on it.” Sunset started up the bike and revved the engine several times, the sound itself was a surprise for Adagio, making her jump. “Ready?”

Adagio nodded, holding onto Sunset tightly, not sure how the ride was going to go.

Sunset slowly turned the throttle and the bike began to move, she raised her right hand to signal Adagio and began turning once she placed her hand down. Adagio leaned a bit to the right, only focusing on what was in front of her.

Pulling up to the entrance/exit to the parking lot of the complex, the world around Adagio felt like it was rushing by as they moved.

Sunset looked both left and right for traffic and raised her left hand, she then took off and turned with Adagio leaning to the left side again. The bike then began to pick up speed.

Even when riding the speed limit, Adagio held tightly onto Sunset for dear life. She had ridden on various types of transportation before. Unlike a car or train however, everything sped past her and she almost felt like she was one with the road.

The warmth of Adagio’s arms around her waist felt nice as Sunset rode into downtown Canterlot. The pressure, however, was less pleasant. She signaled with her right hand and pulled into a parking lot, parking her bike in a small motorcycle section of the lot.

As soon as Sunset cut off the bikes engine, Adagio stepped off the bike and took her helmet off. She pulled a mirror out of her bag and looked over her makeup and fixed her hair; it had become a bit of a mess throughout the ride, but nothing she couldn’t manage.

Sunset took off her helmet and stepped off the bike. Opening a compartment on the backseat, she retrieved her wheel lock and secured her bike.

“Have you been down here before?” Sunset asked.

“Plenty of times. I never really went to anything here though” Adagio wrapped her arms around herself, looking at a few buildings across the street. “I am guessing you know some places of interest. What do you want to do first?” she said, placing her attention back on Sunset.

“How about lunch? I know a nearby lunch cafe. They have some good healthy choices there.” Sunset smiled.

“You’re aren’t trying turn me into a veggie girl, are you?” Adagio grinned.

Sunset giggled.

“Not exactly, but looking at your fridge a few days ago, I figured I could introduce you to some healthy alternatives.”

“Fair enough. I’ll trust your judgement again seeing how the pizza last time was good.” Adagio walked up to Sunset and stood next to her. “Lead the way.”

Sunset nodded. She lead Adagio out of the parking lot and the two began walking along the sidewalk downtown. They passed several shops including a hair salon, record store, and a bar.

They soon arrived at the lunch café. Outside there was a shaded seating area with a few tables. Adagio took a quick glance at the building and noticed it was smaller compared to the other businesses they passed earlier. Before going inside she read a sign above the front entrance, saying: ‘CanterFresh, The Freshest Food Downtown.’

Walking inside, there were several tables and a lunch counter next to the open kitchen where employees took orders and prepared meals.

“Sunset, good to see ya!” an older man said, standing behind the register.

“Hey Green, good to see you.” Sunset waved.

“The usual? Veggie salad with a vinaigrette and water?” he said.

“Yes please.” Sunset pointed to Adagio. “It’s my friend’s first time here, though. She needs some extra time.”

“No rush; let us know when y’all are ready.” Green added Sunset’s meal to the order, waiting for Adagio.

Adagio looked at the menu for a minute. She was in no mood for a salad and eyed the wraps menu instead. There were quite a few choices with large descriptions. Then she placed her attention on the cashier.

“I’ll have the…” Adagio paused, reading the wording again for the item on the menu. “My Hammy Vice wrap, and a water as well.”

“Alrighty.” He nodded, adding Adagio’s order. “That will be $17.25 total.”

Sunset went through her bag, retrieving her wallet, when Adagio raised her hand.

“I got this,” she said, pulling her wallet out of her bag.

“Thanks, Adagio, but you don’t have to do that.”

“You drove us here today.” Adagio passed her card to Green at the register. “It’s the least I can do.”

They waited behind the counter, seeing the cooks go to work on their orders. In only about a minute both of their orders were ready and they went back outside. They sat across from each other, at a table next to the window.

Sunset immediately began digging into her salad. Meanwhile, Adagio took the tinfoil off her wrap and could only stare at it, surprised by what she got. Sunset noticed Adagio’s change in expression and raised an eyebrow.

“Something up?” Sunset asked.

“It’s…” Adagio paused, poking the wrap with her fork. “Green.”

“Yeah, it’s a spinach wrap. Did you even check to see what you ordered?”

“I saw that it had ham, and that’s one of the three things I know I like,” Adagio said with a shrug.

Sunset sighed, shaking her head.

“I am just not used to eating stuff like… well, most things,” Adagio added. “To be honest, before I lost my powers I never had to worry about eating food. The girls and I got our energy from fear and hatred. Everything about biological digestion looked like such a hassle. There were exceptions, of course, for special occasions. Pretty much the only thing worth going through all that for was ice cream.”

“Ice cream?”

“Yeah. It’s cold, soft, and flavored like whatever you want.”

“Hmm, it does taste good and is definitely more of a comfort food than anything else.” Sunset shrugged. “Ice cream aside, I guess having to eat three meals a day and maintaining a diet is a new concept to you as well?”

“More or less. You saw how much fresh food I had in my fridge.”

“You mean the lack of it?” Sunset snarked.

“Exactly.” Adagio sighed.

“Well, you have to start somewhere. Maybe I can teach you some recipes. Unlike me, you actually have a working kitchen to store ingredients and make meals.”

“What kind of home doesn’t have a kitchen?” Adagio asked. Sunset frowned and Adagio bit her lip. That came out a lot meaner than she’d meant. “I didn’t mean it in a bad way,” she added hastily.

“Oh, no no. It’s cool. I, um.” Sunset paused, taking another bite from her salad. “I live in a garage, around the old industrial area here downtown.”

“A garage? Like, an oil-stained, concrete floors garage?”

“When I first bought it, yeah. Over time, however, I renovated it into a place I can happily call home.” She paused before adding, “Mostly.”

“Better than under a bridge, I guess.” Adagio picked up her wrap and took a deep breath, suspiciously eyeing its greenness.

“What are you so afraid of? Just take a bite.”

“Can’t be too bad.” Adagio took a quick bite and began chewing. The taste wasn’t striking or pleasurable like her regular junk food. At the same time however her taste buds were able to separate the ingredients in the bite she took. Not to mention it wasn’t a greasy mess like other meals she had.

“How is it?” Sunset asked.

“Not bad.” Adagio nodded her head, taking another bite, and took her time to enjoy the flavor. She soon swallowed and smiled. “Good choice again, Sunny.”

Sunset was taken by surprise at the nickname Adagio had given her, but she smiled back and they both continued with their lunch.

Canterlot Central Park was a little windy and though the brunt of winter’s chill had passed, everyone there wore long sleeves at least. Adagio and Sunset only wore their light jackets to keep warm while they walked past other individuals and couples in the park. The park itself was mainly a plain of grass with trees towering all around the area, with short bushes sitting along the edges of the park’s border.

Throughout their walk they stopped to watch street performers play music, and looked at several statues of influential people in Canterlot, mainly past politicians and activists.

After walking about for about an hour, they sat on an empty bench.

“So, what do you think of the park?” Sunset asked.

“It’s nice,” Adagio said, looking at the trees, seeing the light pour through them. “Also relaxing. I’ve been here before, but I never bothered to take in the surroundings. I only cared about feeding off of those who came here.”

“How did you do that?”

“Hmm?” Adagio raised an eyebrow at the question.

“I’m just curious.” Sunset fidgeted with her hands. “I had my ways of gaining control over people; I just want to know how you did it.”

“Well well, Ms. Reformed wants to know how an evil woman like myself does her work.” Adagio smirked. “But really, don’t you know? The girls and I would come here and we’d sing.”

“I know that,” Sunset huffed. “I mean… what was it like?”

Adagio thought for a moment, then grinned. “It was fun. We easily pulled people in and took their energy, and once we were done, the adoring crowd would be little more than a mass of squabbling couples, bickering friends, and hostile strangers. All the love they’d had for everyone else was ours and ours alone. It felt… like we were Goddesses.”

“But, you regret doing that stuff, right?” Sunset said shakily. Adagio’s expression as she talked wasn’t one of a criminal filled with regret. It was more like an old person recalling happier times.

“Not entirely. Sure, I know it was wrong, but I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t enjoy pulling in our prey.” Adagio’s smile then went to a more blank expression. “At the same time, however, I wish we did more regular activities as well.”

“Regular activities?”

“You know, like what we are doing now. Just going for a walk downtown, having lunch, watching Webflix, whatever. We hardly ever did stuff like that. We were always on the move, always on the hunt. Sure, the three of us were always together, but…” Adagio lay back against the bench, letting her head hang free and staring up at the rustling tree branches overhead. “Sometimes I wonder if we ever were what you’d call ‘friends.’ On the inside, maybe we each were alone.”

“Reminds me of myself a few years back.” Sunset said, with regret in her tone.

“I told you about myself; your turn. Quid pro quo, Clarice.

Sunset tugged at one of her locks, trying to think of what to say. She was taking too long, so Adagio prompted her again. “How did a sweet little girl like you manage to get on nearly all of Canterlot’s bad side?” Adagio asked.

“Me?” Sunset said, eyes wide.

“No, the other girl directly behind you,” Adagio deadpanned. “But really, I’ve heard bits and pieces from the students at CHS, wild stories of a flying demon nearly destroying the school or something like that, but it was all just gossip. All I really know is that you did something very bad in the past and you’re ashamed of it.”

“Well…” Sunset placed her hand over her chin. “It was when I first came here: I ran away from my home world and ended up at CHS. That school would take anyone, so I attended and got to know everyone.”

“What made you leave your home in the first place?” Adagio asked.

“Celestia.” Sunset lay back on the bench and placed her arms behind her head. “She accepted me into her school for gifted unicorns, and she watched over me throughout my time there. She always told me if I put my mind to it, I could grow up to be the most talented unicorn in Equestria.”

“A unicorn…” Adagio paused to think. “So, you dealt with magic?”

“Mhm.” Sunset nodded. “Even when I was little, I had a gift for it, and when Celestia took me in, I wanted to learn it all, including forbidden arts.”

“So what happened?”

“She wouldn’t allow it; she warned me that gaining too much knowledge about certain magic could make me end up like her sister, who became corrupted by dark magic over time.” Sunset sighed. “I didn’t listen, however, so I was expelled from the school, so she could protect me.”

“I bet you were furious.”

“I was.” Sunset clenched her fist. “But that was nothing compared to Mom and Dad. I can still remember the looks on their faces when I had to leave. The day that I’d gotten accepted was the happiest I’d ever seen them.” She smiled at the thought of her parents, but then became sullen. “And I let them down. I still resent Celestia some, even though we’ve made amends. That school was what kept me motivated, and she took it away from me.”

Adagio remained silent, listening to Sunset. She saw similarities between both of them. Only, Sunset was still resentful. She was still angry, even now, when she was living in this world.

“Being expelled, however, didn’t keep me out of the library. I learned to sneak myself into the libraries at night and I always read the forbidden archives. Then, I learned of the portal.”

“And that’s how you ended up here?” Adagio said.

“Yeah, I attended CHS as a freshman, and built up my influence until Twilight showed up and ended it all.” Sunset sighed. “I miss home sometimes, but like I said before, there is nothing for me there.”

“Things here are not much better,” Adagio said.

“Not exactly. Here, we have the luxury of changing what we do at any time. It’s not like home where you dedicate your life to a single talent. For example, you lost your singing talent. Rather than giving up entirely, you are now pursuing business with your remaining talents.”

“Fair point,” Adagio said. “So what are you doing here then, Sunset? I know you are taking art classes. Are you looking to be an artist or something?”

“Sort of; I want to be a musician.”

“Really?” Adagio placed her hand over her chin. “I, uh, remember your brief stint with the Rainbooms. Still got the bruises to prove it.” She laughed hollowly to fill the silence. “Are they still around?”

“I was with the Rainbooms throughout the rest of our senior year, both playing guitar and doing vocals. We had to disband after graduation, however, so I’ve kinda been doing the solo thing since then. Open mic nights and whatnot, nothing special.”

“Well, I hope you succeed. Your talent shouldn’t go to waste.”

Sunset frowned.

“…I wish I didn’t take your talent away Adagio, you had a beautiful singing voice. On an even higher level than a star like Countess Coloratura,” she said.

“Didn’t I tell you to stop doing that?” Adagio tensed.

“Yes, I know. I wasn’t lying about how talented you are, though,” Sunset murmured.

“Well.” Adagio smiled. “I’m flattered. Although…” she trailed off, nervous about whether to say this to Sunset or not. “I actually can still sing. Sort of.”

“Y-you can!?” Sunset yelled.

“Relax; it’s not like it was before. I’ve been teaching myself to sing again little by little, but I haven’t gotten far and my voice still cracks. Humming’s a lot easier, though.” Adagio cleared her throat and closed her eyes, then began to hum a gentle tune.

It sounded like a lullaby. At first Adagio hummed softly, but as she went on, it grew in volume and intensity. Sunset closed her eyes and laid her head on Adagio’s shoulder as she continued humming the tune throughout the park.

A few individuals and couples passed them, noticing her tune, with some even stopping to listen. Adagio continued on and only opened her eyes when she finished the tune. To her surprise, several people were standing around them, clapping for her performance.

“I was not expecting that. It was lovely,” Sunset said dreamily. The surrounding crowd began to disperse, carrying on as though they’d never stopped. “Though, I guess I’m not the only one who liked it,” Sunset said, lifting herself off Adagio.

Adagio froze, confused by the crowd she had pulled in. What is this? It feels just like…

“Adagio? Are you all right?” Sunset said, getting Adagio’s attention.

“Oh.” Adagio shook her head, focusing again. “Sorry, just lost in thought.”

“It’s fine.” Sunset smiled. “You may have lost your singing voice, but you can still make a beautiful tune.”

Adagio stared blankly at Sunset and only nodded. “Thanks.”

“I know you wanted to go back home before it gets dark, buuuuuut,” Sunset said with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, “What would you say to a sleepover at my place?” Sunset proposed.

“What do you want to do?” Adagio asked.

“Well, for one we could finish Sensation8.”


“I can make some dinner as well.”

“Hmm.” Adagio placed her hand on her chin. “That sounds kind of nice. I mean, you didn’t do too bad with lunch.”

“Oh? Not too bad?” Sunset raised an eyebrow quizzically, but smiled.

“Yeah. I’m willing to give your veggie cuisine another try.”

“I’ll be sure not to disappoint.” Sunset winked.

“You’d better.” Adagio grinned.

Adagio got up off the bench with Sunset following closely behind her. They walked out of the park as the winter sun began to sink behind the hills.

Author's Note:

Special thanks to editors Madeline L-Equine and Gardrek for helping with this chapter.