• Published 13th Aug 2016
  • 6,284 Views, 161 Comments

The Sun Shines No More - CGPH



After getting attacked on the street Sunset’s life begins to spiral out of control. As her mental and physical condition worsens, she soon finds that her salvation may lie with an unlikely trio.

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Chapter Two: Broken

A sudden vibration brought Sunset back.

She opened her eyes, only to have her cornea immediately singed by the sun. She winced and shut them again.

As her thought process began to boot up, it went every direction but straight. It went up, it went down, it backtracked, it brought up memories of long ago and some she didn’t even knew she had. She was playing with her younger brother as a foal. Then discovering dark magic in the Canterlot archives. Earning her cutie mark. Being accepted as Celestia’s private student. Escaping through the portal. Buying her first apartment. Joining CHS. Stealing the crown. Her reformation. Becoming an angel.

These images and more danced around in front of her. Then as things got closer to the present they slowed and began to fade. There was an orange glow, darkness, and then… redness.

The air around her was warm and sticky. The sunlight beating down on her wasn’t helping matters. She could smell her sweat and could felt its dampness as her clothes clung to her. She took a breath. Her throat was a desert and her mouth tasted like the backend of a skunk. A dull throbbing pain begin to arise in the back of her head.

Shifting her head so it was out of the sun’s trajectory, Sunset opened her eyes again. It took a second for her eyes to focus, but as they did she found herself -much to her own confusion- sprawled out on her kitchen floor. She frowned and scanned the room slowly, still in a daze. There was broken glass beside her in a small pool of water. She spied something more; blood on her shirt. Moving her head to get a better look, Sunset discovered there was a lot of blood on her shirt.

Lifting her head caused the throbbing pain to worsen, so she relaxed it back and stared up at the ceiling.

What the hell had happened?

She began to recollect her most recent memories. The last thing she remembered was showing Twilight a card trick she’d learned. Twilight had selected the ace of spades (though Sunset pretended to be none-the-wiser) and she’d then proceeded to pull the card out from behind Twilights ear. Her scream of delight was more than enough to get a laugh out of her and the rest of the girls.

That was all in the library, the library she was at yesterday. The library she walked home from. She walked home from it… she…

The person descended upon her.

“Wha-“ Sunset tried to get out.

A fist collided with her face. She felt the dull knuckles cut their way through her cheekbones, and an audible crack as her neck was forced to the side. Her world span as a white daze overtook her vision. Her body went limp.

Sunset blinked, recounting the memory to make sure she wasn’t mistaken. All of last night’s events came flooding back in one big gush, and her heart rate begin to pick up.

She had been attacked on the street. They held her down and took turns hitting her. Then stomped on her before leaving her to die out in the cold. They had targeted her a-and waited for her to be alone. They c-could have done anything they w-wanted, she could have been stabbed- she could have been murdere-she could have bee-shecouldhavebeen…

She sat bolt upright, as a world of pain hit her like a freight train. Her abdomen felt like a knife had been jabbed deep inside of it, which sent a red hot stinging right through into her soul. Sunset gasped in pain. She clenched her fists and pushed herself towards a work surface.

She threw herself back against it as a panic began to set in. She needed to call her friends. She needed to call the police. She needed to call Celestia. The people who attacked her were still out there, and they knew where to find her. They could come back for her. They would come back for her.

Her chest spasmed and constricted, her breathing shortened and she began taking quick raspy breaths, unable to catch up to herself. She found each breath worsened her ability to breathe; she was suffocating. Sunset’s fists opened and she dug her nails into the kitchen titling. The thumping pain in her head was now screaming at her. Her mouth opened as wide as it would go, desperately trying to take in as much air as she could. All that did was make matters worse as Sunset suddenly found herself unable to breathe at all.

She grasped at her throat with her hand. Tears began rolling down her face. She tensed her stomach up in the struggle, hoping the pain would cause her the breath. But the only thing that came was more pain. Her nails clawed the kitchen floor beside her as her knuckles turned white. She felt like she was drowning on air.

Sunsets panic was interrupted by a harsh knock at the door.

Her eyes snapped to the door with the look of dread.

It was them.

Her attackers had come for her. Who else would it be? She didn’t get visitors without it being prearranged, a-and why would somebody she knew knock that hard? Sunset was in no state to fight. She n-needed to get to her bedroom. She kept a bat under her bed for e-emergencies. But even with a bat she was no match for three of them! NO WAIT, she didn’t need the bat! She was already in the kitchen. She had knives. Lots of knives! She had a big meat knife. She could see it now. Just beside the sink. Its handle was sticking out of its display stand. All she had to do was reach out and grab it, then she was safe.

“Sunset darling, are you in there?”

Sunset stopped reaching for the knife. That wasn’t the voice of an attacker. That was… Rarity?

Her thought process began to calm down. She looked at her hand, up and the knife, and then slowly brought it back down. She’d began breathing again, taking slow, deep breaths. Stretching her lungs out was painful to her, but she needed it right now. Sunset blinked a few times and licked her lips, regaining her composure.

Rarity was at the door. Why was Rarity at the door? It was a school da-

Sunset looked at her kitchen clock.

4:32PM.

She’d completely missed school. Oh Celestia, that was all she needed. Her friends were probably worried sick about her. Another quick vibration in her top pocket caused her to flinch in surprise. She recognized it as the same sensation that woke her up. Wincing in pain, she lifted her hand up and dug it into her top pocket. She brought out her iphone, the screen still illuminated from its most recent alert.

Rarity (3 missed calls)

Rainbow Dash (1 missed call)

(None-Pony) Twilight (3 missed calls)

Applejack (2 missed calls)

Fluttershy (2 missed calls)

Pinkie Pie (22 missed calls)

Sunset closed her eyes and sighed. In a way she was touched. In another way, she was extremely stressed right now.

“Sunset, its Twilight and Rarity!” another voice came from behind the door.

Her eyes were drawn back to her front door. She needed to let them know she was okay. But she was in no state to answer the door.

Sunset coughed, trying to clear her voice. Instead all she did was pouring salt onto a sandpaper wound. She winced and took a deep breath.

Hey guys,” she started. Her voice was raspy and quiet. She’d have to try a lot harder than that.

“Hey guys,” she tried again, a lot louder, “I’m here I’m just… busy, right now.”

There was a second’s silence, and Sunset swore she heard whispering.

“So busy that you missed school?” Twilight’s voice came.

“Er… Yeah. You know me, busy busy busy, haha.” Sunset’s attempted humor turned into a very violent cough. Her stomach struck again and whiteness began to form around the edges of her vision. She leaned back against the counter, trying to bring her breath under control. She leaned up and grasped the side of her worktop, pulling herself up against it slightly.

“Sunset dear… Are you okay? You don’t sound particularly, er…”

“Alive.”

“… I was going to say okay, but that works too.”

Sunset took a deep breath and pulled herself up by the counter. The throbbing in her head told her she didn’t have long before it completely exploded. It had become so loud now she found it difficult to decipher what the girls were saying. As she pulled herself to her feet, her legs began to shake as they took more of her weight. Almost fully up now, with both hands on the kitchen counter she began to pull herself out of the kitchen.

As she reached the kitchen door, she took the wooden frame with both hands and pulled herself through it. Now she wasn’t using them as much her stomach muscles were no longer throwing a temper tantrum, but they still rumbled and gargled like a naughty child on the time-out step. Taking her full weight onto her feet, Sunset limped her way down her small hallway and towards the front door. She peeked through the eye whole, and saw the recognizable but blurred silhouettes of Twilight and Rarity, who seemed to be currently whispering between themselves.

Sunset pulled away from the door. There was a mirror in the hallway, she typically only used it for last minute outfit and makeup checks whenever she left the house. And true, she’d seen many a strange sight in this mirror; Cosplay, Halloween costume, fancy dress parties. This one had all of them beat by a mile.

Her mouth and neck were stained with blood. If she had to guess, it was blood from her mouth that had dripped out and then dried. Her left eye was bloodshot and the area around it purple. If Sunset couldn’t know any better, she’d say she could physically see it pulsating. Blood, dirt and oil stained her shirt. Even her leather jacket had managed to retain some of gravel from the alleyway floor. In short, she looked a vampire/homeless/zombie apocalypse survivor/actual zombie cross. Or put shortly, a wreck.

“Guys I’m fine,” Sunset croaked. “Just go away, okay? I’m… super busy.”

There was a silence from the other side. Sunset could feel the girls trying to think of how to react to her request. Asking something so harsh and straight forward was extremely out of character for her. She just prayed that on this one occasion her friends wouldn’t be smart enough to figure out something was wrong.

“Sunset dear, are you sure everything’s alright?”

Sunset sighed, still locking eyes with her reflection.

“Yeah, just… fine.”

“Then… I’m sure you wouldn’t mind coming to the door and telling us that. It’s extremely rude to turn a guest away in the first place, never mind not telling them face to face.”

Sunset’s heart sank. She knew from the moment she heard Rarity’s voice it was going to go this way. If it had been Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, or even Applejack, she’d had a chance at getting away with it, but not Rarity. She looked back towards the door and picked her keys up off the bookshelf.

She put the key in its hole and twisted until she heard a metal clank. Leaving it in the lock she then took the metal chain off the door.

“Time to face the music,” Sunset thought.

She pulled open the door.

It took Rarity and Twilight a moment to react. First their expressions were of confusion, which changed quickly in surprise, and then into panic. Not unlike Sunset’s reaction when she woke up, in fact. The two girls pushed into her apartment and started pampering her.

Twilight ran straight past Sunset and into the kitchen, while Rarity took Sunsets hand in her own and bombarded her with a million questions at once. Questions Sunset couldn’t entirely hear, if she was being honest. She wasn’t paying attention. She knew that just like last night, she was completely under these girls control now. They were going to do whatever they wanted to her and she just had to accept it, no point putting up at fight. Hopefully this would go a lot more painlessly than last night’s encounter.

Sunset stared blankly at Rarity as the questions kept coming, and the fact she wasn’t getting any answers didn’t seem to faze her. Twilight returned from the kitchen holding a green box. Sunset recognized it as the first aid box given to her by the landlord when she moved in. She hadn’t seen that thing in years, so props to Twilight for finding it that fast. Sunset didn’t think she would have been even able to find it at all if she had looked… truth be told, she’d forgotten she had it.

Twilight put the box down in front of them. She opened it up and after some messing around inside, pulled out a damp rag. She dabbed the rag lightly on Sunset’ face, causing a burning sensation that finally brought her out of her trance.

“Ow!” Sunset recoiled, pulling her hand from Rarity and shielding her cheek with it.

Twilight recoiled a bit. “Erm... yeah, it will do. I’m just cleaning you up.”

“Sunset dear, what the hell happened!?” Rarity snapped finally, losing her lady like composure completely.

Sunset looked at Rarity, and then back at Twilight.

She gave a sad sigh and took the rag from Twilight’s hand. Closing the front door, Sunset began to dab the rag on her own face, as she prepared to inform them entirely of the previous night’s events.

“On the way home last night I was… I was jumped. By some girls. They beat up and… well, they didn’t take anything.”

Rarity and Twilight’s faces both expressed horror to the greatest degree.

“You were jumped?!”

“Are you okay!?”

“Have you called the police!?”

“They take anything?!”

“Do you know who they were!?”

“Did you see what they looked like?!”

“I don’t know who they were,” Sunset put her hand up to silence them. “I didn’t get a good look at their faces, they had their hoods up.”

Rarity sank a little. “You have no idea who they were?”

Sunset shook her head. “If I know them, I didn’t recognize them. I don’t…”

“Sunset?” Twilight asked.

“Sunset, what’s the matter?”

“Aria please stop! She’s had enough!”

Another fist crashed into her face. Sunset spat blood. She felt the third party run around to her other attacker.

“Adagio you said we weren’t going to kill her! We need to go, please!”

“…Adagio.” Sunset mumbled.

“What was that?” Rarity asked.

Sunset looked up. “Adagio. Adagio and Aria. Those are the names of the girls who attacked me.”

Rarity frowned. “Well I haven’t heard the name Aria before, but Adagio… wasn’t she-“

“The leader of The Dazzlings,” Sunset said.

A wave of coldness swept over her. Goosebumps arose and the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end.

It had been the sirens that came after her last night.

Adagio and Aria had attacked her… which meant it was the blue one (Sonata?) that came in at the end. It made sense now why they targeted her out. She wasn’t just in the right place at the right time, they had gone after her deliberately. Nobody had seen nor heard of The Dazzlings since the Battle of the Bands. A week after they disappeared they’d never crossed Sunsets mind again, if she’d thought about them she’d presumed they’d skipped town.

How wrong she was. They’d waited for her in that alleyway. Waited for her to go past and then took their revenge.

“We know all about you, Sunset Shimmer.”

The words echoed in her head. When she first heard them she took them as nothing but an idle threat. They’d obviously just heard about her off another student, she’d thought. But now she knew they were serious. They knew all about her. About her enough to know that she had made plans to meet up with the girls yesterday. About her enough to know the exact route she’d be taking home. About her enough to know she’d have left at the exact time so she could watch the sunset on her way home. About her enough to know where she lived, and probably even which apartment number.

Her breaths began to grow quicker and quicker.

“Sunset… you okay?” Rarity asked, noticing Sunsets ever increasing state of panic.

“I-I... I c-can’t… b-b…” Sunsets hands tightened around her neck again as she began gasping for air

“Sunset! Sunset breath!” Twilight took her by the sides and shouted.

“I’ll call an ambulance,” Rarity dashed off into the living room.

Sunset reached out an arm in protest but found herself unable to speak.


The ambulance men had told them they’d be with them within twenty minutes, and gave the girls specific instructions on what to do with Sunset until then. They took her into the living room and laid her out on the sofa, from there it was only a matter of helping her take control of her breathing, which wasn’t easy with the tightness Sunset was feeling in her chest. But it had worked, and Sunset had eventually began to calm down. Her first request was a glass of water, which Rarity had immediately ran and gotten her. While in the kitchen Rarity happened across the mess Sunset had made from the night before. As Rarity cleaned, Twilight used her time alone with Sunset to ask her something.

“So… who are The Dazzlings?” Twilight asked cautiously, hoping not to set Sunset off again.

Twilight had only joined them a few weeks ago and since then most of the magic based discussions they had were questions about Sunset, the pony Twilight or Equestria itself. It had never occurred to Sunset that nobody had actually explained to her what happened at the Battle of the Bands.

Sunset handed Twilight her now empty glass (which she had drained in a matter of seconds, thank you very much) and explained.

“They’re evil sirens from Equestria. Or, they were. They came to CHS last year and tried to feed off negative energy by turning everybody against each other. We stopped them but… only barely. That’s the first time we discovered we pony up when we play music.”

“Sirens…” Twilight seemed to let the word sink in a bit before continuing.

“What do you mean were? Are they not anymore?”

Sunset nodded. “When we blasted them with our magic, we took away their magic. They could still speak, but they couldn’t control people anymore. They’re just regular teenage girls now.”

“Huh… They must have been the source of the readings that pointed me to your school, then.”

Sunset looked up. “What do you mean?”

“Last year there was a really big surge of, well, what I know now was magical energy. It took me a while to figure out where it originated from… but when I did I went to go investigate. That’s when-“

“-That’s when I saw you messing around with the portal,” Sunset finished.

Twilight blushed and nodded.

A few minutes later Rarity returned with the ambulance men and they all helped Sunset down the stairs of her apartment block. Travelling down them was agony, but it was an agony she could deal with on the painkillers they’d dosed her up on. They’d put her in a stretcher and loaded her into the back of the ambulance, reluctantly allowing Rarity and Twilight to travel along with them.

The journey was taken in near silence. A single nurse accompanied them in the back. She sat beside Sunset, asking her standard questions and then jotting her responses down on a note pad. In between her answers Sunset shot an occasional dirty glance towards Rarity.

Sunset didn’t want an ambulance. She hated hospitals. She’d tried telling Rarity that while she was having her… whatever that was. But Rarity had gone ahead anyway, and now here they were.

True she shouldn't entirely blame Rarity, let’s be honest Sunset was fooling herself if she thought she wasn’t going to end up in hospital over this sooner or later, but still. Rarity was the reason she was heading there, and Sunset was going to be mad at her for it, with or without logic.

But by the time they arrived at hospital, Sunset was so high on painkillers she didn’t care about being mad anymore. She didn’t care about anything anymore, actually. Life was a rollercoaster, and she was strapped in and ready for the ride. Literally, as it turned out. To avoid causing her any unintentional damage from not knowing the specifics of what was wrong with her, the Doctors had kept Sunset tied down on her stretcher. They had tried asking her what was wrong with her, of course. But apparently there was no medical term for ‘being attacked in the back alley by evil mermaid horses’.

A number of medical examinations, a change of clothes and some serious sobering up later, Sunset found herself settled down in a hospital bed. It was night out, and most of the other patients on her ward seemed to be sleeping. The redhead nurse from the ambulance was by her bedside, pinned to her chest was a card that read “Redheart”.

“Ahh, the sun finally rises I see,” Redheart smiled at Sunset.

“Mmmhmmmm... how long was I out?” Sunset spied the darkness of a nearby window.

“Technically you haven’t been. Just been very off your head on painkillers. Not surprised either, if what the doctors are saying is true you’re a much tougher girl than I was at your age.”

Sunset frowned. “What’ve they said?”

Redheart nodded and made her way down to the bottom of Sunsets bed. She unhooked a clipboard from the railing and began to read it aloud.

“Diagnosis: Black eye, ribcage cracked in two places, fractured toe and a number of serious bruises on abdomen, arms and legs.”

Sunset nodded, surprisingly not taken back by this news.

Could have been worse. The cracked ribcage made sense. That must have happened towards the end of the attack, when one of the girls kicked her. She lifted her hand and pressed it between her breasts. As her chest rose and fell she could still feel the tightness trapped inside it. Like inflating balloons far past the size they were supposed to reach.

“Well… that explains the tightness when I breathe,” she thought.

“Which reminds me, I’ve been told to give you these,” Redheart continued. She placed a small bottle of pills on Sunsets bedside table.

“One four times a day. I could tell you what they’re for but honey honestly, when you’ve worked here for as long as I have this stuff all blurs together.”

Sunset laughed, or tried to. It actually came out as more of a wheeze, which sent her into a coughing fit.

Oh how she hadn’t missed that pain in her stomach. Sunset sat up, keeling over and coughing viciously into her hands. Comfort came in the form of a hand rubbing along her back.

“Note to self, making jokes is a no-no,” Redheart sympathized.

Sunset swallowed and breathed. It took a second for the pain in her stomach to calm down, but when it did she allowed herself to relax back down into her bed. It was now Sunset got to take a good look around the room.

White walls and a shiny floor, pretty standard hospital scenery. There was a sign above the door that read “SHORT STAY UNIT”, a sight which pleased her greatly. There were other people in the ward as well as her, a gathering of maybe six other beds, all of whom somehow managed to stay asleep during Sunsets coughing fit.

Nurse Redheart made her way down to the bottom of Sunsets bed again, this time returning the clipboard and taking out a second one.

“Just got a few standard questions to double check with you sweetie, if that’s okay.”

Sunset nodded.

“Full name?”

“Sunset Shimmer.”

“Date of Birth?”

“Ermm…. Nineteen years ago.”

“Nineteen, yeah that sounds about right.” Sunset said to herself. The age difference between ponies and humans was inconstant at best when travelling through the portal, it appeared humans aged much slower than ponies did. Whether travelling through the portal actually de-aged somebody, Sunset wasn’t of yet. She still had to work out the finer details, but being twenty-two in the pony world… nineteen would be a good estimate.

“You don’t seem awfully sure about that. Those painkillers not worn off?” Redheart squinted at her.

“No no, Nineteen, I’m sure.” Sunset laughed. “Which would make my birth date… June Ninth, Nineteen Ninety-Seven.”

Nurse Redheart stared at Sunset a moment longer, before shrugging and writing her answer down.

“Now, have you taken any illegal substances within the past 48 hours?”

“No.”

“Do you drink alcohol?”

“Occasionally.”

“How occasionally?”

“Parties usually. Sometimes a glass of whiskey when I read. Not loads, though. Not enough for it to be worth mentioning, anyway. I don’t know why I did, sorry.”

“Mmhmm. Sexually Active?”

“No, Mom.”

This earned Sunset a giggle from Redheart, which pleased her.

“And who’s your next of kin?”

“I don’t have one.”

“No parents? Relatives of any kind? Legal guardians?”

Sunset shook her head.

Redheart gave her a sympathetic nod and wrote down her answer. It was probably against the rules of her job to comment on a patient’s family life, but Sunset could tell she wanted to say something.

The worst part is it wasn’t true. Sunset had a loving family. She had both her parents, and a younger brother. But they were back in Equestria, and she hardly thought, “Yes, but they are in a different dimension” was an answer she could give. Not if Sunset fancied leaving the Short Stay Ward anytime soon anyway.

Redheart put the clipboard down and locked eyes with Sunset.

“And last one… how you feeling, honey?”

Sunset smiled and gave a casual shrug. She liked this nurse, her attitude reminded Sunset of her grandma.

“I’m okay… better than I was.”

Redheart nodded. “That’s good, because you’ve got visitors.”

Sunset gave a confused frown. “Really?”

“Mmmhmm. The two girls who came with you and four other girls.”

Sunset sighed and closed her eyes.

“Great, just what I need.”

“Not looking forward to seeing them? I can send them away if you like?” Redheart asked, noticing Sunsets distaste.

“No, no, nothing like that, just…” Sunset thought for the right words to use. “I don’t really like having a fuss caused about me, is all. I didn’t even want to come to the hospital in the first place.”

Redheart nodded. “Being here is for the best honey. And don’t worry, they can’t stay long. Visiting finished three hours ago, but you get special treatment, being a new arrival and all.”

Sunset gave a sarcastic smile, “Lucky me.”

“I’ll go get them. Try and keep the noise down,” Redheart left Sunsets bed and traveled further down the ward, out of Sunsets view in the low light.

What happened next could only be described as a flood of pastel.

“SUNNY ARE YOU OKAY?!”

“Oh my goodness, we were so worried!”

“How are you feeling darling?”

“Did ya get a good look at em?!”

“Why, when ah get my hands on those good fer nuthin’…”

“Girls!” Redheart snapped. “Quiet, please. You have ten minutes.”

Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity, Rainbow Dash and Applejack hurried around her bedside, with Twilight hanging back a few feet to exam one of the clipboards Redheart had left behind. They all looked at her with expecting faces, waiting for her to respond.

“…I…er...”

She didn’t know what to say.

Fluttershy looked on the verge of tears, while Rainbow Dash and Applejack couldn’t look angrier. Rarity retained her concerned look but stayed in her fixed posture, arms folded and in deep thought. Pinkie on the other hand, just looked happy to see Sunset was okay. It was a rare occurrence to see Pinkie stressed, but this was one of those times. Her hair was a mess (more than usual) and it looked like she was only awake due to caffeine’s sweet influence.

“I’m… fine, girls. Don’t worry.”

This caused a few of them to deflate a little. They all exchanged glances with each other, unsure of how to proceed.

“What prescriptions did they give you?” Twilight asked, looking up from the clipboard.

“Erm.. I’m not sure… I’ve got to take these pills four times a day, and I’ve got this thing,” Sunset gestured first to the bottle of pills on her bedside and then at the drip in her arm.

“Ouch, that looks painful,” Pinkie Pie moved in for a better look.

Sunset examined the drip. She couldn’t see the exact point where the needle penetrated skin as it had all been covered by a bandage. But she wasn’t feeling any pain from it, so no complaints. She could feel it sure, but it was more just kind of a nuisance than a pain. Like a stone in the back of your shoe.

“Eh, it’s not too bad, and I’m on a bunch of painkillers.”

“What’d you even need that for?” Rainbow frowned.

That’s the painkillers,” Twilight spoke again, “first few hours in the hospital are always the worst. It’s probably either morphine or tramadol.”

Sunset looked up at the IV and spotted the words “Morphine” on its label. Again, fair play to Twilight.

“Oh Sunset, we were so worried when Rarity told us what happened!” Fluttershy said, reaching out and taking Sunsets hand.

“Rarity told you, did she?” Sunset shot Rarity another glare.

Rarity groaned.

“Oh, what was I supposed to do? You couldn’t breathe dear! And even if you could, I’d have still insisted you come to the hospital anyway… You were in no fit state to stay at home, I stand by my decision!” Rarity defended herself.

“She’s right Sunset, heck the way she described it almost had the rest of us thinkin ya weren’t gonna make it...” Applejack scratched the back of her neck.

Bit of an over exaggeration,” Sunset said under her breath.

“This is Rarity we’re talking about, ain’t it?” Applejack asked.

The group all shared a giggle at Rarity’s expense.

Sunset sighed. “It’s okay Rarity, I forgive you. I just… don’t like hospitals. I don’t like feeling helpless. And you guys aren’t helping by all fussing about me.”

“That’s the spirit, Sunny! Even when you’re down you still aren’t out!” Pinkie smiled.

“And none of us think you’re helpless,” Fluttershy held Sunsets hand tighter. “You’re being really brave after what happened to you.”

“Speakin of what happened to you, spill,” Rainbow demanded.

Sunset frowned. She turned to Rarity and Twilight.

“You didn’t tell them?”

“Oh, one minute I’m telling people too much next minute I’m not telling them enough, I swear there’s no winning with you tonight Sunset Shimmer!” Rarity exaggerated.

Twilight shrugged. “Wasn’t really our place to say?”

Sunset nodded and turned back to her other friends. They all stared back at her with wide eyes, waiting on her next words.

She looked away from them.

“It was when I was on my way home from the library last night. I was attacked, on the street.”

Sunset didn’t know how much Rarity had told them, but her best guess was not a lot. They all grew wide eyed, but stayed silent. Fluttershy grasped her hand tighter.

“…When ya'll say attacked,” Applejack began slowly. “What… is it ya mean by that?”

Sunset gave a sad shrug.

“They held me down against my will and then took turns hitting me.”

“Did they take anything?” Fluttershy asked.

Sunset shook her head. “Still had my keys and my phone when I got home.”

“You sure all they did was hit you?”

Sunset frowned and looked up at the cowgirl. “Yeah… I mean what else would they…”

She caught on to what Applejack was implying.

“Oh… oh, god no. No no, nothing like that. All they did was hit me. One of them stamped on me as well, that was fun.”

Applejack let out a sigh of relief. “Good... ya never know these days.”

“Did you get a good look at their faces?” Rainbow Dash asked.

Sunset nodded.

“You recognized ‘em?” Applejack asked.

Sunset nodded again.

“Who were they?” Pinkie asked.

Sunset sighed.

“It was The Dazzlings. Adagio, Aria and Sonata. They had their hoods up so I couldn’t see their faces, but I heard them calling each other by their names. Technically it could be a different Adagio and Aria, but I doubt it. Not when they didn’t take anything.”

The group was silent again.

Applejack took off her hat.

“Heck, I thought we’d seen the last of those lot. Thought they skipped town or summat.”

“I knew they were evil but…” Fluttershy began. “I didn’t know they were that kind of evil.”

“Yeah, well if they have any common sense skipping town is something they’re gonna be doing,” Rainbow scowled.

“Yer not saying yer gonna go after them?” Applejack frowned.

All eyes in the room fell on Rainbow.

“No, I’m saying we’re gonna go after them,” Rainbow gestured to them all. “They beat up Sunset. Straight up attacked her! They need to be taught that first, they can’t get away with something like that and second, you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us!”

Applejack shook her head. “Now don’t be silly Rainbow, if we go after em we’re just as bad as they are. And what would we do if we found em?”

“Pummel the heck outta them!” Rainbow smashed her fist into her hand, causing Fluttershy to flinch.

Applejack laughed her off. “Oh yeah, because Rarity, Fluttershy, Twilight and Pinkie Pie are really the pummeling type.”

“Hey!”

“Excuse me?”

“Well, she’s not wrong…”

“Well fine then!” Rainbow threw her arms in the air, “Just me and you. We can take the three of them! Better yet we wait for Sunset to come with us, get some revenge of her own!”

“Sunset ain’t going anyway fer a long time, look at her!”

“Well duh I’m not saying we do it now, it can be like in a week or two, we can wait.”

“Couldn’t they have skipped town by then?” Pinkie Pie asked.

“Hmmm good point Pinks… Sorry Sunset, you’ll have to leave this one to me and AJ.”

“Now hold on just a sec, I ain’t going anywhere near those Dazzlin’s, and neither are you! What we should be doing is going to police and reportin’ this.”

“Pffftt the cops,” Rainbow waved her off, “Those pigs won’t be able to do anything, and even if they do catch them it won’t teach them a lesson!”

“The law exists for a reason Rainbow Dash, we need to go to the proper authorities on this.”

“The law doesn’t care about revenge!”

“She doesn’t need revenge she needs time to recover, let the police deal with it! What you got against them anyway?”

“Nothing! I just want to send a message. Let them siren gals know we’re a force to be reckoned with!”

“Erm, girls?”

“A force to be recko-Do you hear yourself?! We’re a bunch of teenage girls, what are we gonna do, shoot them?”

“Girls…”

“Don’t be stupid! I just mean we lay into them a bit. Smack the leader around, tell them to stay away from Sunset or they’ll be seeing us again.”

“Girls.”

“Since when did you start confusing pony powers for the mafia?!”

“Why don’t we ask Sunset what she wants to do?” Fluttershy raised her voice suddenly.

Every eye in the room shot to her. Even Redheart poked her head in the room, glaring daggers. Fluttershy gave her a nervous smile and mouthed an apology.

“Fluttershy’s right, we should ask Sunset what it is that she wants to do about it,” Rarity told them all.

Twilight, Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy all nodded, while Rainbow mumbled something very unlady-like under her breath.

“Well, Sunset?” Twilight asked.

Sunset looked to her lap.

“I… er, I….”

It had never occurred to her what she wanted to do about this.

She hadn’t had the time to sit down and think about everything properly. From the second she woke up today she’d been busy or dosed up on painkillers, and last night her top priority was just getting back to her flat in one piece.

So… what did she want to do?

“We should go to the police,” was the first thought that hit her.

The police would be able to handle it. They’d come see her in the hospital and listen to her statement. They’d find The Dazzlings, Sunset would confirm it was them and they’d do time. There would probably be a court case thrown in there somewhere, but she imagined that’s the gist of what would happen.

It’s not like The Dazzlings would be too tricky to find would they? Canterlot wasn’t that large of a town. It might be trickier if they really have skipped town by now, but Sunset had faith in the police’s ability.

So… why wasn’t she agreeing with Applejack?

Because going to the police would drag everything out. Sunset could be fully healed and her life back to normal by the end of the week. Involving the police would be a big event in both her and her friend’s lives, they’d probably all be taken in for questioning and asked all manner of ridiculous questions. “Why do you and the three girls who attacked Sunset not like her?” was one question that’d be difficult for them to answer.

It’d probably be on the news, which would mean everybody at school would hear about it. Now that was the last thing she wanted. She already hated everybody fussing about her right now, she couldn’t imagine having the entire school doing it. Snips and Snails opening doors for her, Trixie letting her cut in line in at the cafeteria, Miss Cheerlie letting Sunset’s lateness to lesson slide. It would be like back when she was evil again. Except this time people’s reactions to her wouldn’t be out of respect or fear, they’d be out of pity.

So she didn’t want to go the police. She wanted this to be over as quick as possible. But… she also didn’t want the sirens to get away with what they did. If they did it to her, they could just as easily do it again to another person.

But she definitely didn’t want them to go after The Dazzlings either. It was a stupid suggestion, and Sunset felt even Rainbow would come to admit that in time. She was just lashing out, she wasn’t thinking. Right now Rainbow was just angry and aggressive, she’d simmer down eventually.

As if Sunset would really send her friends after them like that. Even if she was well enough to go with them, that’s not her style. The whole reason her friends were together was because of friendship. Not just the act of it, but the lifestyle. Accepting others for their differences, being open minded, having a willingness to share, Sunset had spent the last two years learning about all of that. She wasn’t about to throw it all away over some pity revenge scheme.

And like Applejack said, who among them was actually a good fighter? Applejack and Rainbow Dash seemed like they’d be able to hold their own in a fight, but the rest of them? Fluttershy and Rarity look liked they’d be the first to scarper when things got physical, and Pinkie didn’t have a mean bone in her body. Twilight would probably just surrender immediately. That’s not to say anything bad about her friends… she just knew what they were like.

But…

If she was honest, her pacifist nature wasn’t the main reason she didn’t want to go after The Dazzlings.

It’s because the thought of seeing those girls again… it did something to Sunset.

The feeling of exposure she felt during her attack, the feeling of being powerless, it came back when she thought of them. When it was happening she was completely under their control, and they showed her no mercy. Sunset dreaded to think about what would have happened if they hadn’t stopped. She dreaded it, but it that didn’t stop her. They would have killed her. If those girls had been allowed to continue beating on her... if nothing had distracted them... Sunset wouldn’t be in this hospital bed right now. She’d have been in the morgue, nothing more than cold body laid out on a slab.

They had the mental capability to go through with killing her. Sunset had never been driven to violence before, no matter how much she hated somebody or something. But these girls hated her so much that they were willing to kill. They were driven to the point of wanting to end a human life... The very thought of her doing something like that sent chills down her spine.

Sunset didn’t want to get the police involved because she didn’t ever want to see or think about them again. She wanted this whole thing to blow over, she wanted to return to her normal life. Because the thought of seeing those girls again, even if it was through bars… the thought of it again terrified her.

It didn’t scare her, it didn’t make her feel anxious. It terrified her.

Sunset realized she’d started taking shorter and shorter breaths again. Tears had begun swelling in her eyes, which didn’t go unnoticed by her friends. Applejack took a step forward and placed her hand on Sunsets shoulder. She opened her mouth to speak, only to be beaten to it by Sunset.

“I want to focus on getting better right now. If I do decide to take action, it'll be after I’ve recovered… and it’ll be going to the police.”

“Look, Sunset…” Applejack began.

“I’m fine,” there was a harshness in her words. “Just… stressed.”

She wiped away the forming tears and faced the group before her.

“You can’t really be letting them get away with this?” Rainbow said quietly.

Out of nowhere Sunset’s temper flared. She sucked in a sharp breath to answer, but this time it was Applejack who beat her to it.

“She dint say she was letting ‘em get away with this, she said she wanted to focus on gettin better! Then she’ll go to the police.”

“Awwww but the police won’t do anything! Trust me...” there was an air of sadness to Rainbows tone. “If we want this doing properly we need to do it ourselves.”

Although Rainbow’s offer was tempting, Sunset doubted even she would be able to take on all three of them. Even if it did mean that Sunset wouldn’t have to see them again, she refused to put her friend in danger. Sunset wouldn’t be able to live with herself if she was to blame for Rainbow ending up in the same situation as her.

“No Rainbow Dash…” Sunset began, “Promise me you won’t do anything to them without me telling you to?”

Rainbow groaned again.

“I’m telling ya, gimme a few days to figure out where they’re staying and I can be in and out, piece of cake!”

“Rainbow. No. I don’t want you or anybody else getting hurt over this. I don’t care if you can handle it, I refuse to put you in harm’s way,” Sunset said firmly.

After a grumble, Rainbow crossed her arms and sighed.

“Fine. I promise I won’t do anything without your permission,” her words made it sound like she was talking to a parent rather than a friend.

“Good, well, now that’s settled… how are you feeling Sunset?” Rarity moved them on quickly.

Sunset gave a smile at Rarity’s ability to handle disagreements.

“I’m okay. Better than I was, I mean,” she shrugged. “Not in the best of moods, but painkillers are doing their jobs.”

“You should have a pretty quick recovery,” Twilight finally put down the clipboard. “Doctor’s know what they’re doing, you should only be in here two days, tops.”

Sunset smiled. “Good. I can’t wait to get out of here, actually.”

Her friend’s responses were cut short by Nurse Redhearts return. She clapped her hands together and began shooing her friends out.

“Right girls, ten minutes are up. Miss Shimmer needs her rest.”

Begrudgingly, the girls detached themselves from Sunset’s beside and after each of them had exchanged hugs with her, began making their way towards the end of the ward.

“Wait a minute… Do I… know you?” Redheart asked.

“Ermm.. Nah! Never seen ya before in my life lady,” Rainbow swallowed nervously. “See ya Sunset.”

Sunset laughed and waved them all off. As they disappeared around the corner, Redheart handed her some pills and a glass of water.

“Kicked them out two minutes early, hope you don’t mind… you didn’t seem terribly comfortable with them arguing like that.”

Sunset smiled mentally thanked Redheart. She was a nurse who definitely had experience with people in her position. She seemed to know all the right things to say.

“Now I gotta warn you, those are pretty fast acting. They’ll knock you straight out.”

“Thank you, I could… really use that right now,” Sunset popped the pills into her mouth and gulped down the water.

“There. N’night sweet pea, just press the buzzer if you need anything,” Redheart turned off the light above Sunsets bed and left her alone.

Angling herself in a way most like her usual sleeping position -but with the extra room for the cannula in her arm- Sunset lay back into her pillow. She closed her eyes, took a heavy sigh and tried to enjoy the softness of the pillow pressed her face. It felt the last time she could genuinely say she felt comfy was a lifetime ago. It was definitely an improvement over the wet concrete of last night.

In fact all in all Sunset felt the best she had done since her attack. Not that that was saying much, she was still pretty high on the morphine, and even with that she had to be careful when tensing her stomach and breathing. But finally everything seemed quiet now. She didn’t know how long she was going to be here for, but she didn’t care. Nurse Redheart seemed a joy to be around, and while she was here she was getting some well needed rest. And as much as she hated to admit it, she was getting the care she did need.

“Maybe hospitals aren’t so bad afterall,” she thought to herself.

Sunset thought back to her friends. They had all looked so concerned when they came charging in. It both broke and warmed Sunset’s heart. She felt bad for worrying them, for taking them all out of their beds and forcing them to wait on her. But she also felt so happy that they had all done it willingly, not one of them had passed up the opportunity to check on her, they had all wanted to see she was safe with their own eyes.

Knowing them she’d probably be seeing them again tomorrow actually. A thought which again, both pleased and saddened her. She didn’t mean to be the center of everybody’s attention, that was something the old Sunset would do. But she knew there was no fighting it, her friends loved and cared for her. Almost to the point of wanting physical revenge on the Dazzlings in Rainbows case.

The smile on Sunset’s face disappeared.

As the feeling of sleep began to cloud her consciousness, there was one thought that lay dominant in Sunset’s mind.

She was terrified of The Dazzlings.