• Published 24th Sep 2016
  • 1,500 Views, 105 Comments

Rogue Sun - Jninja15

Sunset Shimmer begrudgingly joins the Cutie Mark Crusaders to find their deceased sisters in the wasteland that is now Equestria

  • ...

Chapter 10: The Crystal Empire

Rogue Sun chapter 10: The Crystal Empire

Sunset could hear the screeching roar of ion engines approaching fast.

“Take over!” Sunset commanded Sunburst as she jumped out of the pilot’s seat.

“Wh-what? I don’t know how to fly this thing!” Sunburst protested as Sunset shoved him into the seat.

Sunset set her little brother in the pilot’s seat. “You’re a bright kid. Why don’t you use one of those Ph.D.’s you probably got in school?” she said as she gave a backhand love tap on his cheek as she left the cockpit.

“YOU were the star student- I’M A FLUNKIE!!!” Sunburst shouted over his shoulder. He then took a deep breath as he took the controls. “And I know for a fact that NEITHER OF US TOOK FLYING COURSES!”

“Quit your babying and fly this damn ship!” Sunset yelled from the cargo hold as she put on some magnetic boots, strapped a harness to herself, tied her car down, using the boots attached to the ship’s floor, and began opening the cargo bay door as music blasted from her car radio.

[Shoot to Thrill by AC/DC]

As the song played and the door was opening, Sunset spotted a large crate and grinned widely when she opened said crate and discovered that it contained some unique ammunition cells.

Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom, and Scootaloo hung back in the cockpit, just on the other side of the door and away from the veritable vacuum threatening to throw everything in the hold out into the open air.

“What’s she doing?” Sweetie Belle asked, glancing between Sunburst and Sunset.

Sunburst turned his head a little to catch a better ear on the music, playing surprisingly clearly. “I’d say she’s lookin’ to ‘shoot to thrill.’” Refocusing on the skies ahead of him he spotted some large black clouds, often flickering with a little bit of light. "Sunset," he spoke through the ship's intercom, "I'm takin' us into some storm clouds. Hopefully, we can lose them in there. Be careful."

A big smile broke out on Sunset's face. "This is gonna be fun." and the doors were now fully opened.

All you women who want a man of the street

Don't know which way you wanna turn

Sunset hefted her weapon that was now loaded with the special ammunition. A DOOM class gauss cannon. She had been waiting for a special occasion such as this to finally use this weapon, the occasion being the proper ammunition to load it with. This thing was effectively collecting dust in her pocket dimension for the longest time.

Just keep a coming and put your hand out to me

‘Cause I’m the one who’s gonna make you burn.

She fired her first shot and a bright blue pulse of a superheated metal spike flew out of the barrel, through the sky and hit dead center of one fighter’s right wing, exploding on impact and tearing off the entire wing with it.

According to the pamphlet that came with the gun, “While the gauss cannon has a high damage potential, it demands a fair amount of accuracy from the user.” And now that the second fighter has an idea of what’s coming, it begins flying in a more erratic pattern, making accuracy that much harder for Sunset, as he began to fire back.

Sunset fired three more rounds as Sunburst piloted them through the storm clouds. All of them missed. The first one barely clipped the fighter’s left wing, merely causing superficial damage with sparks flying off harmlessly. The second one was heading straight for the cockpit before the pilot performed a barrel roll (or was it an aileron roll) to the side, barely avoiding the projectile.

“Could you just shoot down him already!?” Sunburst yelled to Sunset.

Sunset grunted as she loaded her third shot and just before she pulled the trigger, the ship jolted as Sunburst weaved around a lightning bolt that appeared just before him, causing Sunset to miss her mark by a mile.

“I would, but your fancy flyin’ is making this difficult!” she yelled back as she loaded up a fourth shot but never got to fire it as a lightning bolt struck the edge of the opened platform, jostling the ship, and shorting out Sunset’s mag boots. The deactivation of the mag boots activated her harness and drew her back towards the relative safety of cargo bay interior. The sudden pull of the harness caused her to lose her grip on her gun halfway across the room as she flew backward. The gun clattered on the floor and began to skitter across it slowly towards the opened door. Slamming into the far wall, near the doorway to the cockpit, Sunset shook her head to quickly regain her senses as she stretched out her left arm toward the gauss cannon, hand, and horn alight with her magic as she enveloped it in a telekinetic grip and sent it flying into her opened hand. The momentum of the heavy firearm coming into her grip revealed an injury she didn’t realize she had over the adrenaline of almost losing her possibly new favorite weapon and chance of survival in this aerial pursuit. A massive burn on her left bicep and potentially several bruises everywhere else. Though mostly superficial, the wound hurt enough to where it made even holding the gun virtually impossible.

“Gah!” Sunset yelped, gripping her arm as much as she was gripping the gun.

“What’s wrong?” Apple Bloom asked, rounding around the doorway. She looked at the burn on Sunset’s arm, part of her jacket around her wound still smoldering. “Oh my...”

Sunset looked at Apple Bloom with one eye squinted in pain. “Here- urk- use this.” She yelled over the wind as she painfully lifted her arm to hand Apple Bloom the gauss cannon.

Apple Bloom took the gauss cannon and hoisted it rather easily for a girl her size, but looked perplexed. “Me? Why me?”

Sunset shrugged. “You’re right here. And you can hold it up real easy. Why not? But you are goin’ to have to get further out there if you want a change of hitting that guy.”

The earth pony’s face began to pale at the thought of having to get closer to that vacuum leading to thousands of feet up in the air and having to face down a fighter jet alone out in the- relative- open.

Sunset got up and unstrapped the harness from herself. “Don’t worry. I’ll hook you up to the harness.”

Well, that’s one worry lessened.

Sunset strapped Apple Bloom into the harness as she continued to yell over the wind, “Unfortunately, we don’t have enough time for you to put on some mag boots. So you are goin’ to have to approach carefully and activate the siege mode before you go over the edge. If you activate siege mode while you still have ground below you, it should hold you in place.”

~And now we’re back to square one.

Sunset finished strapping the harness onto Apple Bloom as she took a deep breath and slowly strode forward to the TIE fighter, careful not to slip and lose her footing. Sunset was controlling the harness reel, slowly unreeling it as Apple Bloom reached the edge of the platform. Once she did, Apple Bloom flicked the switch on the gauss cannon that turned on ‘siege mode’ and saw the barrel open up and feel as if the entire gun locked its physical position into space- relative to the ship. Apple Bloom’s breathing was quick as she looked down the sights, struggling to take aim at the remaining aircraft. Suddenly there was a voice inside her head.

”Stretch out with your feelings.”

Apple Bloom blinked, her eyes darted around in hopes of finding the source before she centered them back on the assailing aircraft.

”Let go.”

She blinked again. After a short pause, she flicked the switch to siege mode back off. She felt the ground slowly slipping out from under her as she closed her eyes, and took a deep breath.

“What is she doing?!” Sunset said to herself.

The noise around Apple Bloom seemed to disappear as she focused on only her breathing. Two seconds later her eyes snapped open, and she pulled the trigger. The recoil launching her into the rear bumper of Sunset’s car. But, be it luck or fate, the shot made its mark, hitting the aircraft dead-center of the cockpit, causing it to explode like a brilliant display of fireworks.

“I got him!” Apple Bloom yelled proudly.

Sunset slammed a big red button to close the cargo bay door as she slowly reeled Apple Bloom back in. Once the door was sealed, Sunset went about unhooking Apple Bloom from the harness as the other two Crusaders joined them in the room.

“Did you see that?!” Apple Bloom yelled excitedly.

“Great job- don’t get cocky.” Sunset said as she undid the last latch holding the harness together.

“That. Was. Awesome!” Scootaloo chimed.

“You were all like- pew- and he was all like- KABOOM!” Sweetie Belle, oh so eloquently, recounted, pantomiming her choice of onomatopoeia.

“Hey.” Sunset interjected as she took her gun out of Apple Bloom’s hands and interdimensionally pocketed it, “What about me? I shot one down too.”

“Yeah, but your explosion wasn’t as big as hers.”

Sunset scoffed as she threw aside the harness, picked up a first-aid kit, and sat down in the co-pilot seat next to Sunburst as she began to apply first-aid to the burn on her arm. By the time Sunset had applied the burn ointment and wrapped her arm in gauze, Sunburst had navigated them out of the storm cloud.

Sunburst glanced at his sister and said, “You want to take over now?”

Sunset reclined in her seat, letting out a relaxed breath. “No. You seem to be comfortable flying now. Right?”

He grinned as he tilted his head and nodded, “Yeah, I think I’ve got the hang of this. Wanna see me do a barrel roll?”

“No!” Sunset jumped up in her seat, pointed at him and shook her head.

Sunburst chuckled at his joke; Sunset relaxed again, laying back in her chair.

A moment of silence, save the Crusaders in the background, passed before Sunset spoke up again. “Where are we heading?”

“The Crystal Empire.” he responded

“Is that where I'll get paid?”

Sunburst spared a glance at Sunset. “Is money all you really care about now?”

Sunset rolled her head on the headrest to face Sunburst. “Straight A’s and perfect attendance can take you only so far in the real world.” she rolled her head back to facing forward, “Less so now that the entire educational system has been shot to hell.”

Sunburst let out a gruff exhale as he focused his sights back on the sky in front of him. “If money is all you want, then it’s money you shall get.” he grumbled irately. His grumbling was a little louder than he liked, because Sunset ‘hmph’-ed a short fit of laughter as a response.


The Crusaders were in a group hug as they were dancing around in a circle and squealing with excitement.

“I can't believe we survived that!” Scootaloo said.

“Ah can’t believe that Ah shot down a fighter jet!” said Apple Bloom.

It was Sweetie Belle’s turn, and she began to slow down her pace in dancing as her face fell from one of excitement to one of sadness, “I can’t believe that Shining Armor is dead.”

The dancing died out in the other two friends after that sentence was uttered. Everypony in the room felt the air get heavy with despair. They all sat down on the floor, leaning against the car. Sweetie Belle sat in the middle with Apple Bloom on her left and Scootaloo on her right. Sweetie Belle pulled out a small magical device from her jacket pocket. The device was a thin slab of shiny black stone with four large buttons on its side and two small glowing circles imprinted on its broad face. She presses the second button from the left and, with an audible click of the button, some music began playing.

[I’m not in love by 10cc]

I'm not in love

So don't forget it

It's just a silly phase I'm going through

When Sweetie Belle heard those first three lines of the song, she blushed a little and shifted her eyes to see if her friends noticed. They didn’t, both of them were too busy staring at the ground in front of them to even notice that Sweetie Belle started playing her music again. Sweetie Belle always liked listening to her music whenever she felt sad, or to help calm her nerves, or to get her excited, or just about any other excuse she could possibly think of.

“There wasn't anythin’ we could’ve done.” Apple Bloom said, as she lifted her head and rested it against the car door. She looked to her right and saw Sweetie Belle pull her legs closer to her chest and wrap her arms around them, resting her nose in the space between her knees as she stared at the device she held. As water welled up in Sweetie Belle’s eyes, Apple Bloom shifted her sitting position closer to Sweetie Belle and wrapped an arm around her, pulling her in to comfort herself as much as she was trying to comfort a crying friend. While her arm was outstretched, Apple Bloom tapped Scootaloo on the shoulder and waved her in to help give Sweetie Belle a hug, which Scootaloo complied.

The three of them sat together in silence as the music continued to play.


“We’re there.” Sunburst said.

Sunset woke up from her nap, rubbed the sleep from her eyes, stretched and yawned loudly.

“The Crystal Empire, huh?” she said as she took in what sights she could see. A ginormous central tower apparently made entirely of crystal with a network of roads spreading out from it like a spider web or a snowflake. Houses dotting each city block like little pebbles compared to the foot that was the central tower. Where the urban area stops a lush open field of green grass surrounds every bit of it for a two-mile radius outside the city limits, a single river cutting through the landscape before ending directly at one of the roads and going into the aqueduct system. And a mountain range surrounding it all. “Looked better in the brochures.”

Sunburst scowled while barely looking at her through the corner of his eye. He let out an exasperated sigh as he turned on the radio and began transmitting a message. “‘Crystal Spire’ this is ‘Red 5’ reporting in, requesting permission to land.”

There was a period of static before a response. “Red 5 acknowledged. You will be escorted to landing pad 3 on the south mountain ridge for inspection.”

“Acknowledged.” Sunburst responded as he banked the ship to head for a landing pad built into the side of a mountain in the southern range.

They made landfall and Sunset, Sunburst, and the Crusaders all stood at the door, equal distance apart, as it opened. The doors opened to a mixed group of soldiers- earth ponies, pegasus, and unicorns- all dressed in crystalline plate mail armor and standing in a line as they held rifles at the ready to shoot down any unwanted surprises. Everypony on the ship held up their hands in the air as two soldiers from the ends approached the group and began inspecting them for anything suspicious before calling them clear for entry and proceeded to examine the rest of the ship.

As the line of armed soldiers dissipated a small, light magenta alicorn filly with curly magenta hair and arctic blue highlights wearing a hot pink princess style dress burst through the line and ran up to Sunburst. The alicorn filly was closely followed by a pale pink, full-grown alicorn mare with a mane that was violet with rose and pale gold streaks, wearing a teal blue dress with cobalt blue highlights and gold trim.

“Uncle Sunburst!” the little filly yelled excitedly.

“Flurry!” Sunburst responded just as much excitement as he scooped her up into his arms. “Oh! How’s my favorite little alicorn?”

“I missed you so~ much!” she said wrapping her arms tightly around Sunburst's neck, almost choking him.

He returned the hug, gently patting her on the back. “I missed you too Flurry.”

Flurry Heart released her grip on Sunburst as she pushed off from him to face him directly in the eyes, and with a straight face she asked, “Where’s Daddy?”

“Uh...” Sunburst looked to the other alicorn approaching, she shook her head as she waved a hand across her throat, “He- he’s still out there- somewhere. He said he had to take care of some other things first. Sorry, Flurry.”

With a straight face, Flurry blinked, glanced downward and said in a monotone, “OK.” she perked up and looked towards Sunset, “Who’s the scary pony?”

“Ah knew it wouldn’t be jus’ me.” Apple Bloom whispered to her friends.

Sunset crossed her arms, shifted her weight onto one heel and quirked an eyebrow at Flurry and her bluntness.

“This- is Sunset. She’s- my sister.” Sunburst said hesitantly.

“Your sister?” Flurry tilted her head quizzically before a huge smile grew on her face, “Does that mean she’s my aunt?”

Sunburst chuckled, “Well, if I’m your uncle, then it stands to reason that my sister would be your aunt.”

“Yay!” Flurry Heart exclaimed as she jumped out of Sunburst’s arms and fluttered over to Sunset. Expecting Sunset to catch her, Flurry stumbled a little bit as she landed on her feet when Sunset took a step back and didn’t catch Flurry. Flurry looked up at Sunset and could see a face that was a mix of confusion, annoyance, and disdain. Walking up to her, slowly, Flurry Heart reached out a hand to try and take Sunset’s, but Sunset merely craned her neck backward as Flurry approached. Flurry recoiled her hand as she and Sunset stared into each other's eyes for a long three seconds before Flurry turned around, smiling, and ran towards the Crusaders; introducing herself.

Sunset let out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding.

Before Sunburst could say anything, the adult alicorn approached and spoke up.

“Sunburst.” she said, embracing him in a hug, “I’m glad you made it back alive.”

“Me too, Cadence.” he replied, returning the hug. “Oh! Princess Cadence, this is my sister, Sunset Shimmer.”

Cadence broke the embrace and faced Sunset, approaching her with an outstretched hand. “Sunset, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”

Sunset merely lifted a hand out of her crossed arms and waved ‘Hello’ with a forced smile before returning to a neutral state. “So, Sunburst has mentioned me?”

Returning her hand to her side, Cadence responded, “Yes... only once.”

Sunset furrowed her brows, wondering why that was the case, but then brushed it aside as she remembered their little... scene in the trash compactor.

Sunburst quickly ran up to Cadence as he glanced back at Flurry to make sure that the little alicorn couldn’t hear what he was about to say next: “Cadence, about Shining Armor. Did you know-?”

“-That he is dead?” Cadence finished, turning her head to Sunburst. This stunned both Sunset and Sunburst.

“How did you-?”

“I saw it in a dream, a prophetic dream- of sorts. It was more like a vision. And Flurry Heart saw it too.”

Sunburst glanced at Flurry, who was cheerfully talking to the Crusaders. “How do you know? If she really did, she wouldn’t be acting like this... Would she?”

“I know because she told me last night. She said it was a bad dream.”

Sunset took a step forward, Cadence and Sunburst turned their attention to her. “Shining Armor was her father, wasn’t he?”

Cadence nodded, “Yes.”

“When do you plan on telling her?”

Cadence was silent.

Sunset subtly shook her head, “You can’t hide this forever. News of a dead parent will get to their children eventually.” She glanced at Sunburst. He opened and closed his mouth slowly as he subtly nodded in confirmation.

Cadence lowered her head in contemplation for a few seconds before she whipped it up, looking Sunset in the eye. “I’ll tell her this afternoon.” she declared. “Until then, I’ll take Flurry to those swordsmanship lessons I promised her last night.

Sunburst stuttered, “D-do you think she’s ready for that?”

Cadence looked sternly in Sunburst’s eyes. “After what happened to her father. Yes, she has to be.” she then relaxed as she began to walk off, “Why don’t you take our guests on a tour around town? I’m sure the young ones would love to see more of the Crystal Empire.”

“Hold it!” Sunset interjected. Cadence paused. “I was promised payment for bringing this little dweeb back.”

Cadence turned to face Sunset. “And you will be paid. How much did Shining Armor promise you?”

“Seventeen hundred bits.” Sunset said flatly.

Huh. He actually followed my budget for once.

“Very well then.” Cadence said aloud. “You shall be paid in full. Just let me gather the funds while you take the tour.”

Sunset gave a wry smile as Cadence gathered her child’s attention and the both of them flew off towards the town.

Sunburst clapped his hands together. “Well then! Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo; Sunset. Allow me to give you a grand tour of the Crystal Empire.”

“Here we are at the outskirts of the Outer South district,” Sunburst said as they approached a line of houses on the fringes of the rural area and the urban area. “Better known as “the Warehouse District.” Here, you will find... mostly warehouses. While the majority of the warehouses are built closer to the center of the district, you will still find plenty of warehouses scattered throughout; inbetween many of the residents of the place...”

While Sunburst continued to give his tour, he was interrupted when a pony shrouded in a heavy, tattered cloak carrying a crate full of groceries bumped into him, spilling the crate’s contents all around them.

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you there.” Sunburst said as he and the Crusaders began to help pick up the pony’s groceries.

“Oh, no worries. This happens all the time.” the pony said in an old, straining, gruff voice as he waved a gloved hand.

Just as quickly as the groceries had been spilled, they had been picked up. The old stallion then grasped Sunburst by the back of the neck, pulled him in and whispered something in his ear. Sunburst didn’t move any further for a few seconds before the old stallion thanked him for his help and walked away with his crate full of groceries, Sunburst smiling and waving goodbye.

Sunset had decided not to help with picking up the groceries, but in that time she could not help but notice a few peculiarities about the stallion. The entire time she could never see his face, not once did the stallion make eye contact, not even when saying thank you, this was unusual behavior for both townsponies and oldtimers. Even though he had gloves on, Sunset could tell that his fingers were unusually slender for a pony, and everything he grasped at suggested as if he expected the things to wriggle out of them out of its own volition. While his slouch did suggest that he was old, Sunset could tell that if he were to stand at full height, he would stand a full two heads above her. A veritable giant among ponies, but his frame was too thin for a pony with possible gigantism.

“Who was that?” Sunset asked.

“Hmm? Oh. Nopony.” Sunburst responded nonchalantly. “Just some old pony getting their groceries.” He smiled as he resumed the tour.

Sunset narrowed her eyes suspiciously as she followed Sunburst and the Crusaders. Out of the corner of her eye, she thought she saw a blur move across the rooftops.


Empress Twilight was in her private quarters overlooking the horizon where her prisoner had escaped to. Her face was the definition of serene, with a glint of cold and calculating; the jewels floating around her matching that serenity.

A ring came from the door, a signal that somepony was requesting permission to enter the room. “Come in.” she responded.

Starlight Glimmer entered the room, looking none worse for wear after her experience with a falling elevator. Granted, she levitated herself out of the elevator about halfway through the fall after managing to destroy the gravity-amplifying lacrima crystal with a blast of her magic.

“Our spies in the Crystal Empire have spotted- HIM.” Starlight reported, “Do you want them to engage?”

Twilight smirked, “Yes. Tell them they may engage- him- with extreme prejudice. Prepare an invasion force, we strike the Crystal Empire tonight.”

Starlight said nothing as she nodded her head and began to walk out of the room.

“And have them deliver a message for me,” Twilight added, “Be sure to tell- him- I said ‘Hi.’”

Starlight silently nodded again and left the room, leaving Twilight alone to her thoughts.

“If you wish to wake the dragon...” Twilight said aloud, as the blue diamond jewel hovered into her hand, “... then give him fangs.”


Back on the tour of the Crystal Empire, Sunburst had guided his group through a couple other districts, and they were now in the shadow of the central tower. He was taking his sweet time too, and Sunset was getting impatient that she hadn’t gotten paid yet. The sooner she gets paid, the sooner she can leave this place. Not that there was anything bad about the place specifically, she just didn’t want to be anywhere near that mockery of an alicorn named Flurry Heart. Sunset had been told by Celestia herself that one had to do great things to become an alicorn. What did this child do that was so great? And how could she have done so at such a young age? It was more of an insult to Sunset, personally, than it was to anypony else, including Cadence.

Sunset’s mind wandered back to the old stallion with the groceries before another pony ran up to them, calling for Sunburst’s attention before stopping just short of running into him, panting to catch his breath.

“Crystal Hoof." Sunburst said, "Where’s the fire?”

“You’ll never guess who was in the bar earlier today!”

Sunburst quirked an eyebrow, “Princess Cadence?” he responded sarcastically.

“Well, yes. But it was who was there before that.”


Crystal Hoof opened his mouth when he was interrupted by a loud explosion coming from the central tower, and a loud, ear-piercing roar rang through the air afterward. Everypony could see a giant purple dragon with a pale green underbelly and lime green spines crawl out from the smoking hole in the tower and down the side. A thick black smog spewing forth from its maws and a gash in its left shoulder as a purple haze trailed its eyes.

It jumped down from its great height and fractured the crystal ground as it landed. Many ponies ran away in terror; more were shocked at the sight of what they were witnessing as the dragon let out another great roar and exhaled a torrent of black smog with sparks of purple and green swirling within in a random direction.

“Him.” Crystal Hoof answered, pointing at the dragon.

Author's Note:

Whoo-ee! What a daring escape for our heroes! Out of the frying pan and into the dragon fire, eh? Let’s see how they will fare against this dragon after we find out who he is. A little something I’ve been itching to get to recently after a random epiphany I had in the middle of the day.

If you have any questions about this fic and the world I’ve made around it, please share them with me in the comments. I’ll make a Q&A/FAQ at the end of the next chapter. Don’t forget to leave a like, make a comment, and share this with anyone you believe may be interested in this.