• Published 4th May 2016
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Cheer Princess - MythrilMoth

After following Sunset Shimmer through the portal and becoming stuck in the human world, Princess Celestia struggles to adapt while blocking Sunset's ambitions with her own popularity.

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Book One, Chapter 1 (Side Celestia)

Principal Celestia sized up the teenage girl who looked just like her. For a long time, she said nothing. Then, a wry smirk graced her lips. "Haha. Very funny, Luna. You had me going with this one. Very good job with the hair dye, though. How hard was it to find a girl whose skin was the same shade as mine and who had the same eye color, though? Or is that makeup and contacts?"

Luna shook her head as she reached for the large cardboard bucket on the table. "You think this is one of my practical jokes, Tia?"

"Well, it's a little different from your usual style, I admit."

Luna groaned as she extracted three pieces of chicken from the bucket and placed them on a paper plate, then dug through one of the bags that accompanied it. "Seriously, is anybody here but me going to eat? Help yourself," she said aside to Princess Celestia.

Princess Celestia shook herself and tentatively reached for the bucket, pulling out a chicken drumstick and eyeing it dubiously. She gave it an experimental sniff. "What is this?" she asked curiously. "If I didn't know better, I'd swear it smells like meat."

"It is meat," Luna said as she dumped a huge spoonful of mashed potatoes and gravy on her plate, then plopped two large, golden biscuits next to it. "What, you've never had fried chicken?"

"No, I...I haven't," Princess Celestia said.

Principal Celestia raised an eyebrow. "You seriously don't know what fried chicken is?" she asked as she began serving herself.

"She also doesn't know what seat belts or cell phones are," Luna said, rolling her eyes. "Hey, Tia, pour us all some sodas. You, uh, do at least know what soda is, right?"

"Yes, of course," Princess Celestia said as her counterpart stood and walked to the refrigerator. "We do have it in Equestria. I'm afraid I don't have it very often. It's terribly frowned upon in Ca—err, in the city where I live." Luna added some mashed potatoes and cole slaw to Princess Celestia's plate, along with a second piece of chicken and two biscuits.

Principal Celestia placed three glasses full of ice on the table and began filling them from a two-liter bottle of cola. "Well, it's not exactly good for you," she said. "I try not to drink too much of it myself. Unlike some people I could name."

"Hey, I burn off the calories," Luna protested as she took a giant bite out of a chicken thigh.

Once Principal Celestia finished pouring the drinks, she sat and studied the two seated across from her, particularly the younger version of herself. "Okay, so what is going on here?" she asked.

Princess Celestia sighed as she struggled to emulate the way Luna handled her own fork with less than complete success. She managed two bites of mashed potatoes before she started picking at her biscuit with her fingers. "I had a falling out with someone very important to me. Her name is Sunset Shimmer. I followed her here, but our way home...well, it's cut off. It will be thirty moons before I can return to my own land, and Sunset Shimmer is out there somewhere, in this city, doing who knows what..."

"Thirty moons?" Luna asked, snorting. "Are you Eweropean or from the Buffalo tribes? Make up your mind, kid."

"Luna, hush," Principal Celestia chided. She frowned at Princess Celestia. "And your name is—?"

"Celestia," Princess Celestia said. "The same as you." She swallowed a bite of biscuit, then added, "This...might sound completely crazy, but—"

"You're me, right?" Principal Celestia asked. "Is that what you were about to say?"

"Sort of."

"Thirty moons," Principal Celestia said thoughtfully. "That's...a little over two years, right?" She frowned. "You know, strange things happen every two years or so at CHS. There's been a school legend since long before I was principal that the school statue is haunted or cursed."

"That old story?" Luna snorted. "Please. Kids have been blaming that statue for everything from missing homework to losing the Friendship Games for years."

Princess Celestia took a deep breath. "I know how crazy it sounds that...that you and I are the same being."

"It'd be easier to accept 'daughter from the distant future' or 'distant cousin who freakishly looks exactly like me'," Principal Celestia said. "Or 'obsessed stalker fangirl', though that wouldn't make sense under the circumstances."

Luna snickered. "You forgot 'yourself from the past because time travel'," she added.

Princess Celestia stood up and slammed her palms on the table. "I WILL NOT BE MOCKED!" she yelled. "My kingdom, my subjects, are without their Princess for the first time in three thousand years! I cannot return home and have no way of assuring them that I am alive! My entire kingdom could well descend into chaos! All because I foolishly chased one petulant student...through..." She slumped back into her chair, burying her face in her hands, heedless of the grease from her dinner. "Sunset," she moaned, a sob shaking her slight frame.

Principal Celestia and Luna fell silent, staring at her, then at one another, with wide, startled eyes. Principal Celestia wiped her mouth with her napkin and cleared her throat. "Why don't you start at the beginning?" she asked gently.

* * * * *

Over the course of the next two hours, Princess Celestia had spoken at length to the human counterparts of herself and her sister. She had, in her despair and vulnerability, told them everything. Who she was, where she came from. That she was not human, though she did not tell them exactly what she was. She told them of her kingdom, her own sister and her tragic downfall. She named names—particularly Blueblood and Cadance—and learned of some differences between the two worlds, such as Cadance not being Principal Celestia's adopted niece, but rather Luna's old friend from college and the Dean of Students of a private school in the city. She told them of the mirror portal, and of Sunset Shimmer. She told them of Sunset's ambitions, the rift between them, and ultimately, of the argument that led to Sunset's departure through the mirror.

As she spoke, she ate, though she was very picky about the chicken, eating very little of it even though she seemed to enjoy it. By the time she finally wound down, her voice was hoarse and raw, and her eyes drooped with exhaustion. Luna took her to the guest room and helped her change into a spare nightgown, then gently laid her down in the guest bed.

Now, Luna and Principal Celestia sat on the living room sofa, nursing cups of coffee. "What do you think, Tia?" Luna asked.

"I don't know what to think," Celestia said, shaking her head. "I don't think she's making it all up. Or rather, she seems to believe every word of what she said." She frowned. "The name 'Sunset Shimmer' is ringing some bells in my head. It seems familiar somehow, but I can't place it."

"Well, the bad news is she wasn't carrying any identification at all," Luna said with a grimace. "I stripped her bare-ass naked and other than the dress, shoes, jewelry, and panties she was wearing, she doesn't have anything. No identification, no phone, not even a bra."

"I kind of noticed the lack of a bra," Celestia said with a dry chuckle.

"And another thing," Luna said. "The hair's natural." She glanced significantly at her sister. "If she's not you, she's your clone, because nobody else on this planet has your freaky pastel rainbow hair."

Celestia sighed. "Do you really think she's me from a parallel magical world?"

Luna snorted. "I don't believe in things like that," she said. "Now, cloning, time travel, that I believe in."

Celestia slapped her upside the head. "Be serious," she said. She pulled out her phone and idly searched the web for 'Sunset Shimmer'. She frowned at the results. "I knew that name sounded familiar. Sunset Shimmer...a girl by that name was reported as a runaway two years ago. She was never found." She showed Luna the article, which had a photo of the missing teen. "Is that her?"

"I didn't get a good look at her," Luna said, frowning. "All I really saw was a leather jacket, maybe a streak of red hair..." She tilted her head. "Could be her. We'll ask Celes—the girl when she wakes up."

Celestia groaned. "I think for simplicity's sake, we should just call her Tia," she said. "At least until we have a better handle on who she really is."

Luna shrugged. "Fair enough. So, umm...what are we going to do with her?"

Celestia sighed. "I don't know," she said. "We should take her to the police, but..." She grimaced. "Without identification, without any clue where she's really from, the police are going to take one look at her and one look at me—"

"They're going to think she's your daughter and you're wasting their time," Luna finished with a frown. "Yeah, I was kind of thinking that myself." She set her coffee cup down on the table. "I think we're stuck with this kid," she said. "At least, until we know what the hell's going on here."

Celestia ran a hand through her hair. "All things considered, we don't really have much of a choice," she said. "Though to be honest...I get the feeling taking responsibility for her is the right thing to do. That...that we should help her ourselves. Not...not pawn her off on child services or some psychiatrist."

Luna smirked. "She could be the daughter you always wanted," she teased.

"Niece," Celestia corrected. "Or cousin. If we're...if we're really doing this, we're pretending she's our cousin."

"Suit yourself," Luna said with a laugh. She stood up and stretched. "I guess I'd better take her shopping in the morning. She's going to need some more clothes. And a phone. And a bra."

"I'll enroll her at CHS while I'm working on the student rolls for the coming year," Celestia said. "The good thing about being principal is I can fake her enrollment information and nobody will ask questions."

"That's a felony, sister," Luna cautioned.

"No, it's a clerical error," Celestia corrected with a sly smile. Luna shook her head and padded off to her bedroom. Celestia finished her stone-cold coffee with a grimace and stood, stretching. She took both cups to the kitchen, washed them, then headed to the bathroom to brush her teeth. On her way to her own bedroom, she stopped by the guest room to check on the sleeping teenager. She was tossing fitfully, murmuring the names 'Luna' and 'Sunset' over and over.

Celestia's eyes softened, and she leaned down to brush the girl's hair out of her face. "If you really are me," she whispered, "I know how badly you're torturing yourself over your mistakes. I hope...I hope we can help you."

With that, she headed for her own room, where she lay awake for hours, deep in thought, before sleep finally claimed her.