• Published 14th Mar 2016
  • 7,698 Views, 213 Comments

Seven Girls, Nine Hundred Forty Three Miles, and One Minivan. - Tumbleweed

Sunset and the gang must go on a road trip in order to save the world! There are worse ways to spend your spring break.

  • ...

Chapter 6

The Las Pegasus Strip loomed up in front of them, a riot of lights, blinding even during the daytime. It looked as if some ambitious criminal had stolen (or at least plagarized) monuments from every corner of the world, lined them with neon, and scattered them throughout the city without any thought to rhyme or reason.

Women wearing great plumes of ostrich feathers (and not much else) strutted up and down the sidewalks, mostly ignored by the other pedestrians. Electric billboards flashed with epilepsy-threatening regularity, announcing shows by a random assortment of entertainers, at least several of whom Sunset had thought dead.

“Discord!” Sunset smacked the sleeping chaos god on the arm. “You said you weren't going to make things weird!”

“Uh. Sunset?” Rainbow Dash leaned forward between the front seats. “I think Las Pegasus always looks like this.”

Discord blinked his eyes to wakefulness, and, once he realized where he was, pressed his nose against the glass of his window. “It's glorious! Even better than I thought it'd be!”

“Great.” Sunset grumbled. “You've seen Las Pegasus. Ready to go home now?”

“Please. We both know this is just a glimpse of the wonders this city has to offer! Now then-” paper crinkled loudly as Discord fumbled with the road map. “Turn here! I know just the place to stay.”

Reluctantly, Sunset Shimmer followed Discord's directions, and they pulled up in front of a gleaming monolith of shining black glass.

“Megaluxe?” Sunset Shimmer read the shimmering LED sign. “... is that even a word?”

“Who cares?” Discord said, smiling. “It's the tallest, shiniest, most exclusive hotel-slash-casino in town! I wouldn't settle for anything less.”

“How are we going to pay for this?” Sunset Shimmer said, wary.

“Just leave everything to me!” Discord patted Sunset on the head. “Now, give me the keys.”

“What?” Sunset clenched her fingers around Fluttershy's teddy-bear keychain.

“Trust me.” Discord said.

“You're kidding.”

“I have an idea. I won't even have to break reality. Promise.”

Against her better judgement, Sunset Shimmer turned off the van, and dropped the keys into Discord's open palm. No sooner had the keychain clinked into his hand, Discord shot an eager look into the back of the van, and the other six girls crammed together therin. “Just follow my lead, ladies! I have a plan.” With that, Discord swept out of the passenger's seat, and strutted towards the lobby doors. He tossed the keys to a bewildered-looking valet, and winked. “Take care of her, my good man!” Discord leaned in, and held a hand to his mouth as he stage-whispered. “Staying on the 'down low.'” Discord made the appropriate air quotes. “You know how it is.” He gave the valet a conspiratorial wink, and breezed into the Megaluxe.

Sunset and the rest followed close on Discord's heels, staying close to each other.

The lobby of the Megaluxe looked like it'd been designed by someone who had gotten their definitions of “luxurious” and “shiny” transposed, perhaps with a bit of “expensive” thrown in for good measure.

The meticulously groomed young man behind the main desk sized up the motley group with a disapproving air. Discord smiled, and gestured for Sunset and company to stand back. He veritably glided up to the desk, and gestured for the receptionist to lean in close.

Sunset and her friends did their best to remain as inconspicuous they could manage while still listening in on Discord's murmured conversation. Sunset edged closer, only to catch the tail end of it.

“Presidential suite?” Discord drummed his fingers on the gilt marble desktop. “What's the step above that?”

More murmuring.

“Imperial suite? Perfect!” Discord exclaimed. “And that'll be seven, sorry eight keycards. Enough for my … entourage.” The concierge passed the keycards over obligingly, and Discord swept over towards Sunset and company. “And that's that!” he said, slinging the keycards out as if he were dealing poker. “Follow me, ladies! Our accommodations await!”

Sunset waited until they made it into the glass-paneled elevator before she spoke.

“You didn't hypnotize him, did you?”

“What? Of course not! You told me, no magic, remember?”

“Then … what did you do?”

“I just talked to him, that's all! I'd hardly be much of an immortal chaos-being if I couldn't talk my way past a simple hotel clerk. I merely introduced myself as one David Ischord, eccentric billionare, that's all. I arrived in a van so as to travel incognito, in the company of my executive assistant, tailor, personal trainer, bodyguard, event coordinator, veterinarian, and … “ Discord's eyes fell to Sunset Shimmer. “Associate.”

“Eccentric billionaire?” Sunset said, deadpan.

“Have you seen how I'm dressed?” Discord spread his hands wide.

“Unfortunately.” Rarity seethed.

Before the inevitable argument over fashion could ensue, the elevator doors opened, revealing the Megaluxe's Imperial Suite.

Spread out across two whole floors of the Megaluxe, the Imperial Suite had more square footage than most of the towns they'd driven through. Two-story tall windows offered a stunning view of Las Pegasus' skyline. Everything else was done up in modernist marble and glass, providing a luxurious (and easily cleaned) environment. No less than two hot tubs and six flatscreen televisions were visible from the elevator alone. Of course, since it was Las Pegasus, most of the décor was unified in a gambling theme, from the portrait-sized playing cards hanging on the walls, to the roulette wheel pattern on the coffee table, to the small stack of complimentary playing chips sitting next to the minibar.

“A bit gauche, but certainly luxurious!” Rarity said.

“Anybody feel like Batman's gonna come in and start punching dudes?” said Rainbow Dash.

Sunset glared at Discord. “We can only hope.”

“Nothing for the best, for the most magical young women in this dimension! And for Sunset Shimmer too, I suppose.” Discord strode into the Imperial suite like he owned the place. Which, technically, he did, if only for the next two days. “Now then! I shall lay claim to the main bedroom, but the rest of the Imperial Suite is yours! Enjoy yourselves to your heart's content, friends! That is, after all, what Las Pegasus is for!” Discord twirled, and ascended the spiral staircase. “Drink! Gamble! Indulge!”

“Um.” Fluttershy said. “Aren't we too young to do all that?”

“Pshaw!” Discord said, and leaned dangerously over the balcony railing. “The good management of the Megaluxe thinks we're rich. You-- er, which is to say, we can do anything you want!”

Sunset Shimmer squinted up at Discord. “And just what do you want to do?”

“Oh, I'll find some way to entertain myself!” Discord said, and disappeared into the main bedroom. “Ooo. Cashews!”

Sunset Shimmer watched the door shut behind him. “Okay girls. Planning time.”

The other six girls clustered in tight, just outside the elevator.

“Here's what we're gonna do. Twilight and I are going to work on some way to handle Discord. Magical, technological, it doesn't matter. The rest of you, take turns keeping an eye on him, to make sure he's not up to anything. Just … try to make it subtle, okay? And try to look like you're having a good time. We don't want to make Discord suspicious.”

Pinkie Pie's clear blue eyes strayed to a conspicuously placed booklet with the words 'ROOM SERVICE' emblazoned on the front. “I don't think that's going to be a problem.”

“Now this, Applejack, is more like it!” Rarity let out a decadent sigh, and leaned back in the bubbling hot tub in the middle of the Imperial Suite's first floor. “Certainly beats splashing around in some fish-infested mountain stream, any day.” The sun had long since set, but the neon lights streaming in through the Imperial Suite's windows lit everything with a stark, somewhat garish light.

“Uh huh.” Applejack sat in a nearby chair, boots propped up on an ottoman as she watched bull-riding on TV.

“Oh please. You needn't play the stoic, darling. I'm sure there's even something here you'll enjoy.” Rarity poked the toes of one foot out of the water and wiggled them. “Mmm. I'd better get out of this tub before I get pruney. Hand me that robe, will you?”

“You sure it's the right kind of robe?” Applejack held the robe out at arm's length and turned her eyes away politely as Rarity climbed out of the water.

“It's the best kind of robe.” Rarity said as she wrapped herself up in the fluffy fabric. “Egyptian cotton. Ooooh!” She pulled the black cotton robe tighter around herself.

“Don't get too comfy, Rarity.” Applejack grumbled. “Sunset says this Discord feller is bad news, n' I'm inclined to believe her.”

“Yes, yes. We've all taken our turns keeping an eye on him. And we've all seen the same thing. All Discord's doing is watching TV. In his underwear.” Rarity shuddered at the thought.

“I swear, don't anybody wear pants 'round here?”

“Nope!” Pinkie Pie said as she sauntered by in a feathery showgirl outfit that was mostly headdress.

“Where'd she even get that?” Applejack said.

“I've found it's best not to ask.” Rarity mused.

“I don't like any of this.” Applejack grumbled. “You're in love with a bathrobe, Pinkie Pie's struttin' 'round like a fightin' rooster, n' Fluttershy got herself a baby tiger from them magic fellers with the shiny shirts.”

“She's not a baby, she's a juvenile.” Fluttery said from a couch about half a soccer field away. She petted the fluffy white feline curled up in her lap. “Her name is Samantha.”

“It's all part of our cover, darling! We've got to enjoy ourselves, to make sure Discord doesn't get suspicious.”

“I'm just afraid y'all are enjoyin' yourselves too much.”

“Please, Applejack. You're hardly one to talk. That's the third pay-per-view rodeo you've dialed up tonight.”

“Gal's gotta pass the time somehow.”

“Relax. Between Sunset's occult knowledge, and Twilight's scientific acumen, I'm sure they'll think of something!”

“I've got nothing.” Sunset propped her elbows on the Imperial Suite's kitchen table and held her face in her hands. “We've been here so long, and I can't think of anything to counter Discord. Every spell I've tried just kind of … sputters out.”

“Don't feel bad.” Twilight sat down opposite Sunset Shimmer, cradling a pint of imported Italian gelato in her hands. “I haven't been able to come up with anything, either. I mean, Discord registers on an M-meter, just like you do … but at the same time, as best I can figure, he's not actually doing anything. I've gutted half the electronics in the suite for parts, but I'm still not sure if it's enough. If Discord's as powerful as you say he is, he'll blow through any containment measures I can put together. His entropy factor is just too powerful.”

“You'll think of something.” Sunset forced her head upwards. “I believe in you.”

Twilight bit her lower lip. “When's the last time you slept?”

Sunset's eyes fell to the gelato. “Is that caramel swirl?”

“You didn't answer my question.”

“Fine.” Sunset said, and began rummaging around the kitchen drawers for a spoon. “I'm pretty sure I haven't slept since you did.”

“I've been awake since we left Appeloosa National Park.”

“Exactly.” Sunset Shimmer found a spoon, finally. “I've been awake so long, I'm turning evil again and stealing your gelato. Gimmie.” She grabbed the frozen solid pint-cup and pulled it towards her side of the table.

“Oh no!” Twilight said with a half-mad giggle. She knew she should have been working on magic-containment units, but her brain had shut down beyond a basic 'get ice cream' directive. A directive that was now being threatened.

“Too late. Mine now.” Sunset Shimmer wet her spoon in her mouth, and then gouged out a chunk of gelato, which she ate in short order. Sunset Shimmer's eyes widened as the creamy, sugary concoction melted on her tongue. Garish as the décor might be, the Megaluxe certainly had good taste in ice cream. “Got my germs on it. You can't have any more. Wouldn't be sanitary.”

“Ha!” Twilight said, and pulled the gelato closer to her. “Joke's on you! We kissed that one time, so I've already been exposed to your oral bacteria!” That said, Twilight ate a large, purposeful spoonful of caramel swirl. She savored the taste … and then finally blinked, coming down from her sugar-induced insanity. “That sounded really weird, didn't it?”

“To be fair, this stuff is worth getting weird over.”

“I know, right?”

The gelato didn't last long, but the laughter lingered long after the cardboard cup was empty.

“As nice as this is, we should go to bed.” Sunset registered the faint blush tinting Twilight's cheeks. “Separately, I mean. I, uh, didn't mean it like that. Argh. It's late. Brain not working.”

“I know.” Twilight said, and patted the back of Sunset's hand. “I just want you to know, even if things get, uh, weird, between us, I'm still glad to have you as my friend.”

Sunset smiled. “Thanks. I appreciate that.”

“Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go pass out.” Twilight left the kitchen. Moments later, a steady snore began to issue from the open door of one of the Imperial Suite's bedrooms. For such a slim girl, Twilight could make a lot of noise.

“Good thing she slept in the van last night.” Sunset said, and indulged in a yawn of her own. She turned to head for her own bedroom- only to bump into Discord- who was still wearing his human form (and, thankfully, a fluffy bathrobe over it).

“Well, if it isn't the other one!” Discord said, smiling.

“What're you doing here?” Sunset glared.

“Oh, that is quite the question, isn't it? As a more advanced and more enlightened sentience, I have the luxury of knowing my place in the grander scheme of things. Which is to say, there is no grander scheme of things, so why not just have a little fun before the eventual heat-death of the universe? I've seen it, you know. Terribly dull.”

“I meant what are you doing here.”

“In the kitchen? Why, I ran out of cashews.” Discord started opening up cabinets and cupboards, tossing foodstuffs and cooking utensils carelessly over his shoulder as he sought out his new favorite snack.

“You can't fool me.” Sunset growled. “I know you're planning something.”

“Planning?” Discord laughed hard enough to make tears well at the corners of his eyes. “You think I have a plan? My dear, I am the very embodiment of chaos, madness, and entropy! I don't plan. I just … do. Twilight Sparkle would've known better.” Discord paused, and held up a finger. “Princess Twilight Sparkle, that is. The one who's better than you.”

“How did you--”

“Please.” Discord rolled his eyes. “You've got that in-betweeny smell of all dimensional travelers. I bet you knew you couldn't keep up with the real Elements of Harmony, so you decided to set up shop in a lesser dimension.”

“That's not true.” Sunset said.

“No? Then tell me, why would one of one of Celestia's most promising students-- a fallen one, but those are the best kind –spend the rest of her life in a boring, out of the way dimension, where she's been reduced to a child? Oh no. You don't like thumbs that much. I can tell. You'd rather be a big fish in a small pond. Or really, given the air of mediocrity hanging around you, a medium fish in a miniscule pond.”

“Stop it.”

“Hit a nerve, did I?” Discord crooned. He finally found a jar of cashews and twisted off the top, letting it clatter to the floor. “I haven't even gotten to the best part! As I imagine it's quite flattering to have the cross-dimensional-doppleganger of the pony who defeated you trailing after you like a lovesick puppy.”

“She's not—”

“Why, if you take off the glasses, you'd never know the difference!”

“Shut. Up.”

“I bet she'd even call you Princess if you asked. Or is it the other way around?”

There was no glowing, no sparkling, no magic whatsoever when Sunset Shimmer punched a chaos god in the face. It was a wild, rage-driven blow, at an honestly awkward angle.

It was enough.

Discord slammed into the cupboards. He dropped his plastic jar of cashews, scattering nuts in all directions. He blinked a few times in shock, and then stood up, looming far taller than Sunset Shimmer. “You hit me.” He said, mildly bewildered. He dabbed at his lip, and marveled at the smear of red on his fingertips. “You made me bleed. Quite a novel sensation, actually. I'm half inclined to thank you.”


“Please. No need for posturing.” Discord waved a hand airily, and smiled. “We both know I could render you into your component atoms just. Like. That.” He snapped his bloody fingers, and the loud sound made Sunset flinch.

“But I won't!” Discord said, gleefully. “Because, just like I told you. I'm reformed now. Plus, it's quite entertaining to watch you flail about. Not to mention I've promised to refrain from using my magic.” Discord scooped up the fallen jar of cashews, which was still about a third full. “Something to keep in mind, hm?” He rattled the nuts in the jar, and then spun around, heading back towards his upstairs bedroom. “Now, if you'll excuse me, I've TV to watch.”

Discord cackled, as was his nature.

Sunset Shimmer waited until his door closed before she let herself cry.

Author's Note:
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