• Published 5th May 2018
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Seven Days in Sunny June, Book V: The New Frontier - Shinzakura

The conclusion of the Seven Days in Sunny June saga! The world has changed, and those within it must cope with the aftermath of what has happened.

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August 23, AM: The Show Must Go On

“Pinkie, are you okay?”

Her hair straight, Pinkie Pie sat up in bed in the room that she was currently sharing with Raspberry Beryl. After the night before, when the alien girl had explained her curse to the cheerleader, Pinkie wasn’t as fazed to see the strange shape approaching her. Granted, she hadn’t been really bothered by it the day before, but for some reason Raspberry felt the need to explain herself.

“What do you mean?”

Raspberry gave the other girl a smile. “You were a lot bouncier yesterday, asking me to change into a bunch of things. You reminded me…well, actually, you reminded me of the Pinkie I regularly know.”

“Oh? How so?”

“Well, she’s very happy-go-lucky,” Raspberry said, casting a spell. Yellow magic cascaded over her body and she found herself in the human form she was normally using. “But you look like something’s bothering you.”

Pinkie was quiet for the longest time. Finally, she asked, “Does the Pinkie you know have a special someone?”

“No. Truth be told, she’s probably the least romantically-inclined pony I know.”

Pinkie sighed. “She must be one lucky bitch,” was the only thing she said.

As with the day before, everyone met at the Storyteller Café for breakfast. Of the newcomers, Piano was the first to arrive. “Hey, Mint and Milk said they’re running a few minutes late, but that they’ll be here soon enough,” the girl promised.

“Is everything okay?” Sonata asked.

Piano waved it off. “Oh, yeah. They were just working out in the gym last night and lost track of time is all.”

“Working out in the gym?” Adagio asked.

Piano nodded. “Girls, they’re dancers and celebrities. They have to keep their bodies in tip-top condition for everything they do. Trust me, there are days when I can’t even keep up with them, and I’ve known them my whole life.”

“Well, they’ll catch up soon enough, I’m sure,” Twilight responded sleepily, eyeing the coffee carafes. “Shall we get started?”

Applejack sniffed the air. “Applewood smoked bacon. Ah think Ah’m in heaven.”

“You can tell?” Shimmer asked her.

“Ah lived on an apple farm when Ah was a kid. And even though Ah grew up here in Canterlot, our organic store sells a lot of special deli products, like applewood-smoked bacon,” the blonde explained.

“I have no idea how you human….” Raspberry began, but then realized there were several people present who didn’t know her secret. Her words trailed off as she suddenly realized she had no idea how to end the sentence without sounding weird.

Fortunately for her, Rainbow came to her rescue: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, you keep saying it over and over: you have no idea how we think eating meat is humane. For fuck’s sake, you sound like a broken record already. Besides, I told you repeatedly we’re not all vegans here, Razz, so get off your high horse about that already, okay?” she said in a mock-annoyed tone.

“Hey, don’t sweat it, Razz,” Piano told her. “I’m not vegetarian or vegan, personally, but eating meat all the time kinda makes me feel bloated, so I try to minimize it. Different strokes for different folks and all that.”

“Well, let’s not just stand around,” Bon-Bon suggested. “Let’s get some food and then when the twins come down, we can figure out what to do about the day, okay?”

As they all walked towards the buffet, Raspberry grabbed Rainbow. “Thanks for the save.”

“Hey, it’s what I do for friends,” Rainbow replied with a grin. “Don’t sweat it.”

“I just have one question, though.”

“Sure, what is it?”

“Uh…what’s a ‘high horse’ mean here? Back in Equestria, it’s an insulting thing to call pegasi.”

Rainbow laughed, then pulled out her phone and brought up Wikipedia. “At the risk of being an egghead like Twily? Read it yourself,” she insisted, handing it over to a completely confused Raspberry.

Standing with a cup of coffee in her hand and feeling clear of mind, Twilight flagged Sunset; not surprisingly, their cousins were behind her. “Hey, sis, can we talk to you for a second?”

Sunset looked at her sister. “Okay, what are you five up to?”

“We had a talk last night,” Octavia said. “And I’ll be honest: Twily and I don’t think you should go on with this. The date with Pinkie, I mean.”

“Actually, none of us think you should go through with it,” Aria added, and the others nodded.

“Girls, we’ve been through this like a billion times! This is just having fun with Pinkie, and while I know how she feels about me, she also knows that nothing’s going to happen.”

“Does she really?” Sonata asked. “Didn’t Bonnie tell you about what they were discussing the day we got here?”

Sunset sighed. “Yes, she did. And yes, I was a little shocked. But as much as we’re all family and I adore you all, you have to remember: Pinkie is in love with me. She’s not just lusting after my body—”

“Sunny, she has a few pairs of edible undies with your name on them,” Adagio pointed out.

“Okay, I think I could have lived without knowing that,” Sunset admitted. “But we’re all friends. I trust her completely, and so should you. And frankly, I’m a little shocked that you’re acting like this.”

“Sis, we’re just looking out for you,” Twilight told her. “You’ve been doing that for us, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t look out for you as well.”

“We’re just worried that she might go a little overboard,” Aria stated. “It’s not like we don’t trust Pinkie, it’s….”

“Let’s not split hairs,” Adagio said. “We do trust her. We just don’t trust her judgement entirely on this situation. And as your family, we’re just looking out for you, okay?”

“No. Not okay.” Sunset crossed her arms. “I think you’re being a little unfair to Pinkie. Have you brought it up with her?”

The others suddenly found the ground interesting. “No, we didn’t,” Twilight mumbled.

“Okay then. This conversation is over.”

“But sis—!”

“‘But sis’, nothing! You’re being completely unfair to Pinkie!” Sunset hissed. “I’m going on a date with her and whether it ends with nothing or me sleeping with her is my business, got that?” At that statement, several people turned around and looked at the young goddess, and more than a few appreciatively.

“Sunny! You’re making a scene!” Twilight said.

“You made it first.” She walked over to Pinkie. “C’mon, let’s get going.”

Unlike the day before, Pinkie’s leaning tower of pancakes had been replaced by a small pyramid of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls. “But I haven’t even eaten anything yet!” In response, Sunset bent over and whispered something in the shorter girl’s ear. Pinkie immediately looked up at her with all the love in the world. “You mean that?”

“Completely,” Sunset smiled.

“Then let’s go!” Pinkie chirped, setting Mt. Cinnabon on a random table, taking Sunset’s hand and leaning against on her shoulder. With that the two headed towards the door.

“Sunny, wait!” Shimmer called out just as the older twin had reached the door.

“What? You going to give me grief as well?” Sunset asked. Pinkie, still leaning against Sunset’s shoulder, gave the other Sunset a glare, as if she’d staked a claim to the taller one and the taller one alone.

As for Shimmer, she reached into her wallet, and then produced a card. “Here,” she said, handing it to Sunset. “You two go have fun, on me.”

Sunset gave her doppelganger a curious look. “Are you sure?”

Shimmer nodded. “You don’t have access to the family trust yet, and I’m sure you want to have fun on your date, and I probably won’t have need for it today. Go and have a good time.”

“Really?” Pinkie chirped, quickly warming up to the other flame-haired girl.

“Yes,” Shimmer giggled. “You take care of my big sister, okay?”

“YAY!” That was more than enough for Pinkie. In less than a blink of an eye, she was holding onto Sunset with a huge grin that threatened to split her face, and then a second later, both were gone and there was nothing more than a pink cloud of gas where the two had been.

As the others got back to their table, Lyra pretty much said it all. “I have no idea how she does that.”

“Shimmer!” Twilight gasped. “What were you thinking?”

“Darling, without being as, well, vocal, as Twilight here, I do have to agree,” Rarity spoke up. “Are you sure that was a wise idea?”

“Let’s hear her out, girls,” Fluttershy cautioned. “I’m sure she had a good reason, right?”

Rainbow, between bites of a large breakfast burrito, mouthed, “Ths owta beehs gud.”

Shimmer looked at them all. “Rainbow, first? That’s disgusting.”

“Sorresh.” She gulped her food down. “Uh, sorry.”

“Secondly, Twily, Sunny is special to me. I’ve never had a sister before, and now I do; a twin no less.” Looking at Sunset’s relatives, and aware of the timeskip, she told them all, “Isn’t she just as special to all of you once she came into your lives? She has a way of doing that.”

“Yeah,” Twilight and the others admitted.

A catty grin then came over the teen’s face. “Plus….”

“Plus?” all the others said at once.

“The credit card I gave her? It has a tracking chip in it, just in case.” She giggled, but when the others only responded with disbelieving stares, she elaborated, “C’mon, I’m a princess! Don’t you think that the French government would take precautions in case I was in trouble? Don’t worry, I have the frequency, and I can install the app for you on your phones, if you can stand to read French.”

Most of them said no, with only the triplets, Twilight, Rarity and Bon-Bon acknowledging their knowledge of the language.

“Now, eat up, and then we’ll get things going. We’ll be able to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t have a problem. And besides, if I may remind you, we’re here for Soni, not for them.”

“I just hope things won’t get too out of hand,” Fluttershy admitted.

“What do you mean, ‘don’t get out of hand’?” Raspberry asked.

“Well…no offense, but Sunny seems to be a chaos magnet – and Pinkie seems to be chaos in motion. What do you think will happen when you put the two together on a quasi-romantic tryst in sunny Southern California?”

All the other girls shivered as one.

It was at this point that Mint and Milk finally appeared in the café, smiles on their faces. “Okay, we ready to seize the day or what?” Milk asked aloud, then saw the variety of concerned looks on the others’ faces.

“Was it something I said?” she asked.

“Smooth, sis. Real smooth,” Mint commented.

“Wow, teleporting’s fun!” Pinkie chirped as they arrived at the front gate of Magic Mountain. “But why’d you take us here?”

“You wanted to be alone with me, right?” Sunset asked.

“Yeah, but….” Pinkie began tapping two fingers together, a sign she wanted something.

“Pinkie, we’re not going back to the hotel and—”

“I don’t want that!” Pinkie suddenly cried, much to Sunset’s surprise. “I want to know you.”

“But you do know me.”

“Not as much as I should.” Pinkie shook her head, recalling the dreams and nightmares of her last trip home. “I don’t know your favorite song, or your favorite color, or what your favorite food is – human or pony. I don’t know where you grew up, or what really makes you happy – not what turns you on, but really makes you happy.” Pinkie sidled up to the taller girl until they were practically within kissing space. “I want to know you – not just my friend, but my potential lover, too.”

“Pinkie, I….”

Pinkie boldly reached up and kissed Sunny on the side of her face. “I know my friend and I love her dearly. But I don’t know this part of you…and I want to.” She then took Sunset’s hands in her own. “Even if it doesn’t work out for me, at least I will know someone I care about a little better.”

Sunset blushed a bit; if nothing else, she was already farther along than Flash had ever been on romance. “Okay, then I should be honest: I’m really not a fan of amusement parks.”


Sunset nodded. “When I was a filly, Princess Celestia, er…you know, I’m really going to have to figure out how to disambiguate her from my mom, you know?”

“I know what you mean. Go ahead.”

“Anyway, she took me to an amusement park in Baltimare – Thrillville – but then she got called away on business. She meant to leave a guard with me, but there was a miscommunication and so I was left by myself the whole time. I didn’t think much about it at first – no eight-year-old really does – but when it came after hours, and the park was empty and I was all alone? I ran, shouting for help, looking for some place – any place – where I could get help. And that’s how I ended up at The Horrors of Humans: The Ride, the most frightening ride at the park.” She chuckled. “Even had an age limit, but there was no one at the park to tell me I couldn’t go in, because I was looking for help.”

‘The Horrors of Humans’?” Pinkie asked.

Sunset nodded as they walked away from the park’s admission booths and towards the parking lot. “It was named after a popular play at the time. Equestria – well, all of Equus, really – is schizophrenic when it comes to technology: we have advanced medical technology and musical equipment…but trains that are a century out of date here and dirigibles. We have plays, but no movies, and amusement parks that are a match for things here, but no monorails. But one thing I think we do better,” Sunset said with a frown on her face, “is dark rides, especially the scary ones. However, if you’re a foal…probably not the best place to be.

“The Princess finally found me the following morning; she didn’t even know I hadn’t been brought back to the palace and didn’t know anything was amiss until I didn’t show up for breakfast. By then cleaning crews had found me in one of the ride’s carts. I’d passed out from being frightened half to death, wet myself and my eyes were red from crying. The Princess…she…she took me home, shut down court for the week and spent that time with me in quiet, just to make sure I was okay.”

“Like a mother should,” Pinkie noted.

“Yeah,” Sunset said wistfully as she sat down on a park bench facing the parking lot. “Now, clearly the whole thing was exaggerated and humans aren’t like they were in the ride. But I think that scarred me from that point on and I’ve never really liked amusement parks. Human ones are different, and I can deal with them, but….” She shrugged, as if that was enough of an answer.

“Then let’s go somewhere you want to go,” Pinkie insisted.

“But don’t you love amusement parks?”

“Oh hell yes!” Pinkie admitted. “But I love you more, Sunny. Trust me, the Mouse House, or any other park, can wait another day. It’ll be here when you bring me back again. For now, let’s do what you want to do.”

Sunset ignored the subtle flirting and said, “Are you sure? Aren’t you supposed to call the shots since you’re taking me out?”

“Like I said, I want to know what you want to do. It’s a part of the Sunset I want to know.” Pinkie sat down next to her and leaned against her. “If I’m going to win your heart, I have to start somewhere, right?”

“True. I actually prefer museums. When I went to the Brentwood back in March, I absolutely loved it. It taught me a lot about the culture of my adopted home.”

“Awesome! Have you been to the LA County Museum of Art?” When Sunset shook her head, Pinkie grinned. “Then let’s go! Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut,” she paused, “let’s not teleport!”


“Yeah, let’s take our time going there! Besides, we haven’t had breakfast yet. Can you summon a car?”

Sunset thought for a second, and when she opened her eyes, a second later a brand-new Prius appeared before them. “This work?”

“Sure! I’ll drive! That way you can relax in style and tell me what else you like! Plus, that way we can think about what to tell the others!”

“The others?”

Pinkie giggled as Sunset tossed her the keyfob before walking towards the driver’s door. “You have three cousins who are master military experts, four other girls who have the inklings of magic and your supposed twin sister, who is the kind of VIP that probably has everything with a tracking chip, especially after what happened to us.” A pause for thought while Pinkie got in the car. “Just thinking of that makes me glad that didn’t carry over into this new timeline, or else we’d be in trouble.”

“No kidding,” Sunset agreed. “What we have now is hard enough as is.”

“How so?”

“Well, for one, all those girls that were killed and I can’t bring back – girls my grandmother wouldn’t bring back, because it would rupture the timeline,” Sunset said grimly while Pinkie left the park grounds, headed for the Interstate. “In the end, we avoided everything in the new timeline, because we were never meant to be involved.”

“Honestly, I don’t know how you keep this straight in your head, Sunny,” Pinkie said. “But let’s change the subject before we get too maudlin, okay? Any idea of where we can have some decent breakfast?”

“I’m sure we can find something,” Sunset said, conjuring a pair of sunglasses for herself, then a second pair for Pinkie. “Look at it this way: it’s a whole new world, and everything that’s there, even if it seems familiar is just something new!”

Sunset thought about Pinkie’s last words about the tracking chip. Fishing out the card her “twin” had given her, she peered at it and instantly saw the secondary chip within. She blinked her eyes, and a second later an identical card, sans chip, appeared next to it. Holding up the original card, she set it afire in spellflame.

“Sorry, girls, but this is too important,” she murmured to herself as they sped off in search of breakfast.

Sitting and tapping her phone with disgust, Adagio groaned. “Well, we boned this one, that’s for sure.”

“In hindsight I guess we should have expected it.” Seated next to her and eating popcorn, Twilight looked at her cousin. “I mean, we should’ve known that Sunny was going to find a way to make sure we didn’t find out where she was. Besides, we have to remember that we’re here for Soni, too.”

Aria watched as yet another crowd began to build around the Twins, Piano, and Fluttershy. Not surprisingly, due to Fluttershy’s exotic looks, she was getting most of the attention. Meanwhile, several of the others got into the line for the Tower of Terror. “Looks like she’s doing it again,” the middle triplet said.

“Doing what?” Twilight asked her.

“Fussing,” Aria said. “She’s focusing on something that she has no control over. She took it really hard when Softy died, remember?”

“I do,” Twilight said. “And you two were just protecting her.”

“Well, if we’d known you like we do now, it never would have happened,” Adagio told her cousin. “But Ari’s right. Soni’s always been the most emotional of us all, because she’s so big hearted. Even in the time that never occurred, she was like that. You might not believe this, but this isn’t the first time we’ve been to Disneyland. Back in the time that wasn’t, when we were seven, for our birthday, Maddie, Mezzo and Vesper took us here for a week, just so we could be little girls. I think maybe it was because they were horrified that at age seven, we’d already been taught to kill someone.”

Twilight’s eyes widened in shock and her mouth formed an O of shock.

“It wasn’t in the field – we weren’t cleared for field duty at that age.” Twilight looked at Adagio, horrified, but Adagio stared into the distance. “Trust me, they weren’t innocent by any means. They were human traffickers, men who kidnapped pretty teenage girls and shipped them overseas to willing buyers who wanted sweet young flesh for the right price. They were convicted of child rape and several other nasty things, but Canada doesn’t have a death penalty. What it did have, however, was an influential member of parliament that CSIS wanted in their pocket, an MP that wanted these guys hammered bad. And what better way to take care of guys who harmed young girls than to have them killed by little girls?”

Twilight gasped. “Dagi, that’s—”

“I can still remember that day. The knife was slick with his blood, and there was the smell of iron in the air. And it was us that did it…too young to really realize what we’d done.” Adagio’s tone was curt, but Twilight knew her cousin well enough to know when she was suffering. “But do you know what I also remember? That same day in this timeline. There was also death involved, but this time it was commemoration. Aunt Glitter took us to see Mom’s grave. It had been a handful of years since 9/11 and we were beginning to understand why we didn’t have a regular mother. We knew Aunt Glitter loved us, but she always told us she wasn’t our mother and on that day we knew why.”

“I’m sorry you had to experience that. No child should.”

“It’s okay. I have you and my – our – sisters, and I love them to death.” Despite her emotional pain, Adagio smiled. “I have a family that loves me and one I love, and that’s all I really need right now. Anything else comes after, especially since there’s a whole new world.”

“Have you thought about that? You don’t have to be Sunny’s SIRENs all the time, don’t you? You can have your own life.”

The look on the golden-haired girl was one of disbelief. “Do you really think that, Twily?”

“Yes. Sunny wouldn’t want that for you. I know I don’t, nor do my parents. And I’m sure your dad wouldn’t either, if he knew.”

“Then I hope he never finds out. And the truth is that I know this is going to be my profession. Sure, I could just get with AJ and open up a martial arts dojo, but that’s not my style. I’m a military girl, and I need to do that. And if it means protecting my cousin, then it’s all the better, especially since that’s what I’m charged with doing. Now, I’m not going to speak for Ari or Soni, but I suspect they think the same.”

“You can speak for me, sis,” Aria added. “I feel the same way. And I think Soni does, too. It’s what we were trained as in the previous reality, and even though that’s not the case here, it rang true still, because it had to. Yes, we could probably do anything else with our lives, Twily, and we love that you even consider that, but…that choice was removed from us. But we’re okay with that. Sometimes, that’s just how things have to go.”

From where she was in line, Sonata sighed. “I wonder what they’re thinking about,” she told Octavia. “Probably worried about how I’m taking everything. I love my sisters, but seriously, they worry about me just a little too much sometimes.”

“Well, you are the youngest of us,” Octavia reminded her. “It’s only natural that they – and we – would worry. Besides, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t care.”

“Yeah, I know. Just drives me nuts.” Sonata gave a smile to take away the sting of her words, and she continued. “I wonder how Pinkie and Sunny are doing on their date.”

Shimmer frowned. “I am not happy about them ditching us like that. I know why Pinkie would want to, but I’m beginning to wonder if I created a monster.”

“Twily warned you,” Octavia pointed out. “She told you that Pinkie would be up to something, and she clearly talked my cousin into doing it. I’m blaming you for this, Shimmy.”

Shimmer groaned and muttered a French swearword under her breath.

“So, here we are,” Sunset said as they pulled into the parking garage. “The LA County Museum of Art. Tavi was telling me that the last time she was here, they had some beautiful works of art, so I’ve wanted to come visit for quite some time.”

Pinkie smiled. “Sounds like fun!”

“Are you sure? I didn’t think that museums are your cup of tea, Pinkie.”

“Well, to be honest, I kinda prefer modern and contemporary ones, especially the pop art ones. Nothing wrong with Goya or Buonorotti,” Pinkie said matter-of-factly, “But I kinda like Benday Dot, Paint Splatter and Blue Phase a lot more. For example, did you know that Blue Phase originally studied under Cubismo Grafico when the latter lived in Rome? He’d initially gone there to study under Tela di Pinta, but ended up working with Grafico instead. Admittedly, their styles are radically different, but you can see the influences: Nude by the Staircase, for example, evokes a lot of Grafico’s style even though it’s considered one of Blue Phase’s masterworks.”

Sunset smiled. “Sorry, I’d forgotten that you’re a lot more cultured than people give you credit for.”

Pinkie grinned as she got out of the car. “Well, I like a little bit of everything. Auntie Cup didn’t raise me to be one-dimensional, you know. I love being well-rounded and smarter than your average Pinkie. For example, I’ve been reading Dogged Research’s biography on norules. The man was a genius in the way that he wrote his poetry without following any of the established rules of, well, anything, punctuation included. You could say he was the father of modern internet writing, although that’s entirely by accident.” She gave Sunset a sincere smile. “I want to be a girl who’s more than just her looks…although if a certain someone wants me for that, I’m not about to complain.”

“Pinkie, I….”

“I know. But I meant that sincerely. If I have any hope of winning you over, then I have to be a girl worthy of your heart, right? You deserve someone with the headspace to go along with the chassis. I refuse to be someone’s trophy girlfriend, but if I’m going to be yours, it would be an insult to you to be that way. And speaking as a friend, I would not let anyone – myself included – do that to you.”

“Pinkie, you’re going to make me blush.”

Pinkie got on her tiptoes and kissed Sunset on the cheek. “Then I’m doing my job, right?” She took her friend’s arm and said, “Let’s get inside. I really want to see some of the Greco-Roman art they have here – it’s supposed to be one of the best collections in the world!”

“Well then, lead the way.”

The two made their way from the garage to the front gates, only to run into a problem: only the Asian art building would be open that day, as the main structure was closed for a special event. Sunset frowned; she wasn’t sure if they would have time to drive down to the Brentwood, which she’d already seen but Pinkie had not. As they turned away from the gates, however, Sunset heard her name being called out. She then turned to see a familiar face waving towards them.

“You know them?” the guard at the door asked.

“Yeah, she’s a good friend of mine and I’m sure she’ll vouch for the other,” the newcomer said as she went over to Sunset and gave her a hug. “Hey, Sunny! Long time no see!”

Pinkie looked on with surprise. “You’re Midnight Moondust!” she said, a bit starstruck.

For her part, Sunset returned the hug. “Heya, Midge, how goes?”

“Just living the life of a teenage pop star,” Midnight admitted. “Who’s your friend?”

“I didn’t know you knew a pop star, Sunny,” Pinkie accused.

“You mean, like we don’t know Fluttershy?”

“That’s different.”

Midnight’s eyes opened at that. “Fluttershy? As in that girl who was with Discord during his concerts last month?”

“Yeah, that’s his daughter. We go to school with her, why?”

“Is she getting into the business or something? I’m surprised Tavi’s not jamming with her on a regular basis, if you know her.”

“Oh, they’ve started playing together. Maybe they’ll start a band,” Sunset answered. “I’ll ask them when I get back to the hotel.”

Midnight looked at her oddly. “They’re in town?”

“Oh, yeah!” Pinkie chirped happily. “They’re currently hanging out with the Chocolate Twins in Disneyland at the moment.”

That got Midnight’s attention even further. Looking at them with shock, she added, “And you two are here?” When Pinkie nodded, Midnight sighed. “Sunny…. I’m the celebrity and why do you know more buzzworthy folks than I do?”

“Luck of the draw, I guess?” Sunset said. “Anyway, I guess this whole thing is for you?”

“Yeah. Recording the video for my newest single. Wanted to try something different, so I went with something a little more elegant than half-naked teenyboppers on the beach or at the pool. And despite me wanting to move away from my previous image, I also definitely don’t want to get career advice from my parents, right? So Violet suggested that I work something in at a museum. I got my agent to start the process and lo and behold, LACMA was more than willing to close down for a day so I could film. Anyway, what are you doing here?”

“Date!” Pinkie said, leaning against Sunset’s arm and nuzzling it.

Midnight gave Sunset a sly look. “I didn’t know you were—”

“Long story,” Sunset sighed, a look on her face that Midnight picked up on immediately.

“Ah. Okay, not going to pry further. But I’d really hate to ruin your, um, date, especially since you didn’t know the museum was going to be closed and….” A thought then came over her. “Wait, why don’t you two be extras in my video? It’s a couple of hours, you’ll get to have fun and then afterwards, while the filming is shutting down for the day, you two can walk around and take in the museum with no one around.”

“I appreciate that,” Sunset began.

“Yes! We’ll do it!” Pinkie cried, then looked at Sunset. “Is that okay with you, Sunny?”

Sunset saw the look in Pinkie’s eyes. It was one that looked for fun, and so very Pinkie. This was the Pinkie she knew: exuberant, fun-loving and happy. Not the self-doubting one she saw last night. If – if – there would ever be a Pinkie that she would want a relationship with, it would be this one.

…Not that I’m looking for a relationship with Pinkie, of course, she reminded herself needlessly, but if I was, this is the Pinkie that I would want to be with. She snuck another look at Pinkie and she looked to be in Seventh Heaven, completely at peace in the world. If Sunset had to put another appellation to the joyful look on her friend’s face, it was that she looked cute.

I’m doing this for her, Sunset reminded herself. Pinkie’s happiness was important to Sunset, and if it meant sacrificing in little moments like this, then it would be worth it.

“Sure, sounds fun,” Sunset told Midnight.

“Okay, then follow me!” the singer told them. “You’ll have to sign some waivers, standard Hollywood stuff since you’ll be extras in the video, but it shouldn’t be a problem. Trust me, you just sit there and follow the director’s instructions and call it that. Should be easy! C’mon, I’ll take you over to costuming, since I need to get ready myself.”

As they followed Midnight towards a set of pre-fab trailers, Pinkie looked at Sunset. “How do you know her?”

“She’s Tavi’s cousin,” Sunset explained. “I thought you knew.”

“No, she didn’t exactly explain that,” Pinkie explained, “but given how much Tavi doesn’t like to talk about her extended family, I can understand that.”

“Well, trust me, Midge is one of the ones she gets along with,” Sunset assured her. “I wouldn’t be friends with her if that wasn’t the case. Besides, she’s a great person to know.” She turned and called out to Midnight, “How’s the home life, Midge?”

“Not bad. I moved in with Violet, and it’s been great. Yeah, my parents still offer their advice – after all, what parent doesn’t do that, right? – but Vi’s been pretty good at looking out for me. She’s even had me start working on learning how to play my own instruments so that I’m not ‘just a singer’, since those kinds of starlets end up actually needing the kind of career advice my parents dish out, and since I don’t want to be a has-been by the time I’m twenty-two, I think I’ll trust my sister’s advice more.” They headed down a short flight of steps and then Midnight announced, “Well, we’re here.”

“So, what’s the video about?” Sunset asked, looking at the one person coming out of costuming wearing an elegant gown, as if attending a formal party.

“Oh, it’s for my cover of an old 80s song,” Midnight explained. “Basically the video is going to be of a group of formal partygoers having a cotillion here, when all of a sudden a skater girl straight out of the 80s comes out and starts trying to liven things up, dancing around statues and playing with the artwork, screwing with the guards and generally having a good time. I got a chance to see some of the replica artwork the art department provided, and they look amazingly like some of the artwork we’ll be screwing around with. So much so that Vi commissioned one of them to make an additional copy of Ten Views of a Ling-bi Stone, an ancient Chinese painted scroll, for our house.”

“THERE YOU ARE!” a voice shouted and an obese man with a long white ponytail and unshaven neckbeard came waddling towards them. “Midnight, honey, we got problems!”

“What’s up?” Midnight asked.

“Who are these two?” the man immediately inquired.

“Friends of mine who are here by coincidence,” Midnight explained. “Sunny, Pinkie, this is my manager Big Direction. What’s up, Big?”

“We got serious problems,” the man said in a nasally voice, taking the time to stop and wick sweat off his forehead. “The dancer we hired? Dazzling Steps? She just quit.”

“What?” Midnight asked. “How? Why?”

“How is simple – she walked right out, saying she wasn’t going to work with the director again. As to why, well….” He leaned into Midnight’s ear and whispered a few things. Though neither knew it, Sunset could hear everything easily and the moment she heard the words sexual advances her blood boiled.

“Fire him,” Midnight said curtly.

“What? Midnight, honey, I can’t—”

“No. I don’t give a damn if Showreel’s won four MTV Video Awards or whatever. I don’t care if he’s a Grammy-winning director. I’m not going to put up with this kind of bullshit on my music video. Besides, from what I’ve heard, this isn’t the first production he’s tried this shit on.” She sighed and slumped her shoulders. “But this is going to ruin things, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it is. It took weeks to find a director that we can work with, and weeks to find a dancer that could do what you wanted,” Big told her. “And that’s just the easy parts. It took me months to work out something with the museum, and the only reason they agreed to do it today was because they were going to be moving a lot of stuff around for another exhibition they’re bringing in. We could be looking at months before we get this chance.” He groaned. “Well, let me go bounce Showreel, then we can talk things over lunch.”

“This is going to destroy my new single!”

“Hey, Midnight, this is just how Hollywood is – you know that,” he told her. “Anyway, let me hit Showreel with the bad news. Guy’s got it coming, anyway.” The man scurried off as fast as his legs could take him.

Midnight sat down morosely on a nearby bench. “This sucks.”

“You okay, Midge?” Sunset asked her.

“No. I was….” She sighed. “Look, I recorded the song as a favor for a friend of mine. Her mother has terminal cancer, and the song was her favorite. I wanted it to be a gift for Dreamscape and her mother, because she’s not expected to survive. Dreamy and her mother are going to be here any minute so that Dreamy can be in the video and her mother could watch. And now everything’s ruined because some middle-aged asshole can’t keep his hands off the merchandise!” The look on the girl’s face was a mixture of anger and sorrow. “And I don’t know what to tell Dreamy and her mother – and that hurts even more than just the fact that I’ll have to have a lyric video made for a song I put my heart and soul into.”

It was then that Pinkie had a sudden idea and leaned over and whispered something into Sunset’s ear. Sunset smiled and said, “What if I could fix it all, Midnight?”

“Look, Sunny, I appreciate the platitudes, but no, this can’t be fixed.”

“No, I’m being serious,” Sunset told her. “What if I could fix this?”

Midnight looked at the flame-haired girl and saw the serious look on Sunset’s face. “You can?”

“I probably can. Might take an extra hour to get things in place, though. Think your manager could get us an extra hour of filming today?”

“Yeah. Big’s got a lot of sway, which is why I work with him,” Midnight replied. “But then there’s the museum’s folks….”

“I can take care of that, too,” Sunset insisted, and the look in her eyes was one of drop-dead seriousness.

Midnight’s face showed a bit of relief. “If you can do that, I swear I’d kiss you!”

Pinkie frowned. “That’s my job,” she warned.

“Sorry, figure of speech,” Midnight laughed. “But seriously? If you could do this, it would mean the world to me, Sunny.”

Sunset reached for her phone while Pinkie smiled. “Trust the alicorn,” she said. “She can do anything.”

“Uh…what’s an alicorn?”

The first snows came, far faster than had been expected. Rainbow, currently on the ground, looked up and covered her eyes with a wing. “This…isn’t natural,” she said softly.

“Yes, it is a bit too early in the year for snow, isn’t it?” Rarity asked her, casting a spell to summon her muffler and saddle. But a snowflake then fell on her muzzle and she looked at it as it melted against her pearl-white fur. “What do you mean this isn’t natural?”

“From what Cloud Kicker told me, we weren’t supposed to have snow today. And unless this wandered in from the Everfree – and believe me, that place is creepy enough – then it had to form naturally. And since we pegasi don’t let that happen….” She shrugged her wings. “It’s not natural.”

“Ah think y’ might have to rethink what ‘natural’ means, sugarcube,” Applejack told her. Always the practical one, she’d come with her ever-present hat, a scarf and a well-worn duster coat. “Although if this snow is comin’, that means that it’s comin’ early – and that’s gonna harm the apple crop.”

“Girls, please, can we talk about other things right now?” Fluttershy looked at them, heartbroken. “We’re here for other reasons, right?” The others fell silent at the soft-spoken pegasi’s plea.

“Yeah, you’re right,” Rainbow said softly, turning away in shame. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Rarity said. “We’re all friends here and we make mistakes.”

They stood before Raspberry Beryl’s grave. She’d been gone three months now, and to the girls, it had felt as if it were forever. This had been a season of pain, one that had not let up. Even after the Tirek War, and attempts to rebuild, his forces and followers continued their onslaught. The small town garrison that had always been a handful of ponies at best was now turning into a full fort with a company of EUP guards. Whole sections of Ponyville had not been rebuilt, and on the far west side of town, four of those “apartment buildings” that were common in Canterlot or one of the larger cities were now climbing into the Ponyville sky. The once-lackadaisical town, so used to brushing off parasprite swarms, greedy dragons and zebra misunderstandings, was now genuinely on edge. It didn’t feel like home anymore.

And the grave of their lost friend was just one more reason why.

Sweeping the light dusting of snow off the gravestone with her wing, Fluttershy gave it a sad smile. “We’re sorry we haven’t been by in a week,” Fluttershy began sadly. “But we haven’t stopped thinking of you.”

“Your highness, here’s the current town outlay.” Mayor Mare handed Twilight the papers. Twilight was spending a rare day working on statecraft rather than her all-consuming project, and only that because she’d had the meeting scheduled with the mayor that she couldn’t get out of. Besides, with town hall destroyed and a whole floor of the palace now dedicated for use as an acting city hall office, it wasn’t as though Twilight could hide from Ponyville’s municipal government forever.

Twilight scanned the document, then looked at the mayor with aplomb. “Seriously?”

Mare nodded. “Sadly, yes. We will need the additional funding—”

“Double it.” Twilight looked at her bleakly. “I will not let my ponies go homeless for one more day. I know some ponies don’t like those apartment complexes and that they feel that they’re taking away from the town’s character, but if they’re the quickest way to make sure that we get families out of tents and back into a normal semblance of life, then that’s what has to be done.”

“Frankly, Princess, up until now I was one of those ponies,” Mare admitted. “But after touring the camp set up on the fairgrounds, and the fact that the air is getting colder quickly…we won’t have normal homes built in time, not with the extra incursions from the Forest and especially not with all the Tirek fanatics that seem to have sprung up as of late.” She gave the princess a sad glance. “After all that, if it means saving the townsponies, I’ll replace every house in this town with those blasted apartment buildings by myself with my own hooves if need be.”

“Thank you, Mayor. I know it’s a struggle,” Twilight told her, “but it is worth it.”

“TWILIGHT!” Pinkie Pie rushed into the throne room and unceremoniously interrupted the meeting. “We have an emergency!”

“Pinkie, I’m in the middle of a meeting—”

“No! It’s an important emergency!” The look on the earth mare’s face was one of stone-cold sobriety. “Like double-secret super emergency-type stuff!” She immediately grabbed her friend’s pastern and started tugging. “We don’t have time to waste!”

Twilight looked at the mayor apologetically. “I’m sorry, Mayor, but I guess I need to attend to this.”

Mayor Mare chuckled. “I understand, Princess. I certainly know by now not to interfere with Bearer activities. I will send the paperwork over tonight by courier so you can sign the final documents.”

“Done,” was all Twilight could say before Pinkie managed to successfully drag her out of the throne room. When they exited, Twilight looked at Pinkie sternly. “What’s up, Pinkie?”

“You, Twi,” Pinkie said sadly. “You’re the emergency. Don’t you know how worried we are about you? We haven’t seen you in days!”

“Pinkie,” Twilight groaned, “I’ve been busy. This project I’m working on for Luna is extremely important—”

“You haven’t held Twilight Time for Sweetie, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom in weeks. Spike says you haven’t eaten in days. You missed my ‘Yay We Beat the Tirek Invaders for the 58th Time’ party I held two days ago!”

“I don’t think you understand how important this project is, Pinkie! It might be key to saving our world—”

“Today’s Razz’s birthday,” Pinkie said flatly, her mane starting to straighten out. “And we’re all meeting by her grave to let her know how much we love and miss her.”

That took the wind out of Twilight’s sails. “I….”

“I know. You can’t talk about it. And we know something is up with Princess Celestia and we’re not supposed to talk about that, either. But you can’t do anything if you force yourself to the point of exhaustion! You might be an alicorn, Twi…but you’re only pony.” The look on Pinkie’s face was sad. “Please. We know what you’re doing is important but…we need you, too.”

Twilight turned away, ashamed of herself. “I….”

Pinkie hugged her. “We know. But you’re the Princess of Friendship – and we need that more than ever right now.”

Twilight and Pinkie hugged one another until Pinkie’s mane sprung out once more and Twilight felt more at ease. She then went to look for a guard. She finally found one she hadn’t seen before, a unicorn stallion with a purple mane, golden eyes and features similar to that of Prince Blueblood. “Excuse me, have you seen Capt. Stormbreaker?”

“Capt. Stormbreaker was recalled to Canterlot because of a family emergency, your highness,” the unicorn said simply. “I’m here to fill in for her for a few days. What can I do for you?”

“Yes, I need to step out for a few….” Twilight suddenly trailed off as recollection suddenly came to her face. “Do we know each other, lieutenant?”

The unicorn smiled. “I see you do remember,” he said with a grin, “although it’s been a few years, your highness. But I do recall you’ve grown lovelier than ever, if I may say.”

“New coltfriend, Twi?” Pinkie asked.

“He’s an extended member of the royal family, one of Blueblood’s cousins, as I recall.”

He nodded. “Yes. So far down the line that although I’m technically a prince, I rarely bother with the title,” he explained. “In fact, the only one who really does is my sister, Duchess Highfalutin.” He then looked at Twilight. “And I’m sorry about all the problems she’s been causing as of late, your highness.”

“Twilight, if you please. If we’re equals, we should be calling each other by first name, er…

He laughed. “If you insist, Twilight. But let me introduce myself to your friend, at least.” Bowing gracefully, he said, “Prince Divine Right, Lieutenant of the Solar Division of the EUP Guards, and Prince of Westermare, at your service, Lady Pie. Although, I’d rather be known for being a lieutenant than a prince. Like I said, I’m not big on titles.”

Recollection finally came to Twilight’s features. “Div! Oh, I’m so sorry I forgot!”

“It’s okay. As I said, it’s been a few years, Twilight. Anyway, what can I do for you?”

“I need to step out for errands, but they’re personal, so I was hoping I could do without the escort.”

“That’s fine; I’ll let the duty sergeant know. As it is, I need to increase patrols around the campsite. A barrow-wight apparently tried to attack early this morning and two ponies were injured. I’ll be leading a small team into the Forest later today to deal with that.”

“I wasn’t aware.”

“I know you weren’t; I only found out about it a few minutes ago myself. I’m not happy about it, though – we serve our ponies, and it won’t do to have them injured, not when I can do something to protect them.”

“Well, as I recall, you would often say that is, ahem, your ‘divine right’, am I right?”

He rolled his eyes. “I am so glad I grew out of saying that all the time. It made me sound stupid and megalomaniacal.”

“Thank you for all your help, Mrs. Armonia,” Sunset said over her phone a few minutes later. “I truly appreciate everything you’ve done.”

On the other end, Armonia laughed. “Anything to help Velvet’s daughter,” she said. “Besides, I haven’t spoken to Dr. Artifact in years, and it was nice to catch up with him on old times. As it is, though, I must get back to my work.”

“I’ll let you do that. Thanks again. Bye.” Sunset hung up her call then turned back to Midnight. “Done and done. You’re cleared to take however long you need.”

Midnight stared at Sunset in surprise. “Are you magic or something, Sunny?”

“Yes, actually, I am,” she said with a smile. She then laughed and added, “I just happen to know people, is all.”

Big looked at the girl with an impressed look. “Maybe I should take you under my wing, kid. With that contact list you got there, you’d be a natural in this business.”

Sunset had made a few calls, and an hour later, all of her friends, as well as the Chocolate Twins, Rose and Piano, had come up. At the moment, the Twins were looking over the script, and Rose was calling her brother to see if he could come and film the video himself. As for the others, they were all in costuming, having filled in parts as extras, since some extras had heard about Showreel’s firing and didn’t want to be a part of the production any longer.

“Well, I would be ruined if it wasn’t for you, Sunny,” Midnight said with gratitude. “I really appreciate everything you’ve done.”

“Well, that’s why I’m lucky she’s my cousin,” Octavia said, just having exited costuming. She was dressed in 1930s elegance, as if she’d been a time traveler from the Gilded Age, having gotten lost on the way to some swank Manhattan party. “She’s practically like a sister to me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“I don’t doubt that at all, Tavi,” Midnight replied.

“Oh, this is divine!” Rarity, now also dressed similarly, came out as well. She looked even more the bit than Octavia did currently, yet at the same time also seemed to be completely at home in the formal attire. “Although, Ms. Moondust, you may want to have your costuming department be a bit more accurate – I can see you’re going for 1930s elegance for some of the background, but that gentleman there,” she said, pointing at a man in the distance, “is wearing an ascot tie, which is somewhat anachronistic for the time period.”

When Midnight looked at Rarity with confusion, Sunset explained. “Rarity’s a fashion designer by nature, so it’s not surprising that she knows these things.”

Midnight just whistled in appreciation. “Are you sure you’re not magic, Sunny? It looks like you have expertise on hand that some experts don’t!”

“I’m just well informed, Ms. Moondust,” Rarity said simply, with an elegant shrug of her shoulders.

Rose walked up. “Okay, got a hold of my brother,” she said to Midnight. “Cam’s going to drop everything and be here within the hour. He’s really going to love doing this, and it’s going to be a huge break for him, especially since he’s still in college.”

“Look, beggars can’t be choosers, so I’m just glad that I was able to get someone, Rose, and someone I know works just as well. Besides, I didn’t know you knew Sunny or Tavi. Plus, now that we have the Chocolate Twins involved, this really makes things exceptional!”

It was then that Milk, Mint and Piano walked over to them, script in hand. “Well, we have good news and bad news,” Mint began. “Sis?”

“Yeah, we can do some of this stuff, Midge,” Milk began, “but we’re not this good. Some of these routines call for doing it on rollerblades, and that’s some precision dancing.”

“Yeah, I know Dazzling Steps personally, and she’s known for moves like this,” Piano added. “The choreography alone is going to be precision. I can make some calls, see if some other dancers are available that can pull it off, but I don’t know if I can get anyone of this caliber in time.”

“What about Twinklespin?” Mint suggested.

“Broke her ankle a few weeks ago,” Piano pointed out. “Not going to be available in time.”

“Flight Star?” Milk offered.

“Six months pregnant, so I doubt she’ll be dancing.”

“Steel Roller?”

“On her honeymoon – and she lives in New York now.”


Piano rolled her eyes. “Okay, now you’re stretching,” she said. “Just because she got drunk and started dancing on the table at your house that one time doesn’t mean she’s a dancer for a living.”

Mint blushed. “Okay, point. Well, let’s pool together our resources. We should be able to come up with something in time.”

“Can’t we just call Dazzling Steps back since that odious man is now gone?” Rarity asked.

“We could have…until they found her at a bar about thirty minutes ago, drunk off her ass and moaning about how she won’t let some guy diddle her titties,” Big said. “She’s clearly, um, broken up about the whole thing, so we sent her home, with pay. Besides, last thing we want is a lawsuit and when it comes to Tinseltown, having her drunk and paid just to sit and sober up is better than the lawsuit we’d get hit with otherwise.”

“Well, I can probably get Pure Imagination to do it,” Rose said, “but it’s going to cost you.”

“No, Rose,” Midnight said. “Not her. No way in hell.”

“Who’s she?” Big asked.

“Girl I go to school with,” Rose explained. “Cheerleader and dancer and has an ego bigger than the Hollywood sign. She’s good, admittedly – damn good – but I guarantee the moment she finds out she’s a last-minute fill in, and that all these celebs are here? All that money for this single that Midge was going to donate to charity may as well go to the Let’s Pay Pure’s Credit Card Bill fund.”

“Yeah, I know who she is,” Midnight responded, “and I don’t even go to the same school as you. No way in hell, Rose. Sorry.”

“You need a dancer who can pull it off.”

“We’ll come up with something. We still have time to think of something, right?”

Sunset coughed to get their attention. “Well, we do have one option left.”

“And that is?”

Sunset merely gestured over to her date, who was standing there – but for all of Sunset’s gestures, it may as well have been equivalent to a dozen lighted arrow signs surrounding the cotton-candy-haired girl.

Rarity grinned. “Now why didn’t I think of that?”

Everyone present turned to Pinkie. “You can dance?”

“Well, yeah,” Pinkie said, ticking off her fingers. “I’m a cheerleader, dancer and martial artist, so I do dance a little.”

“Dance a little?” Sunset blurted. “Who was the one who came up with that sexy impromptu belly dancer routine on me back in the cabin a couple of weeks ago?” A few beats went by when Sunset realized what she said.

“‘Sexy bellydancer routine’?” Midnight asked.

“I wasn’t aware of that,” Octavia said, crossing her arms and looking at her cousin slyly.

“I thought you were straight, Sunset, dear,” Rarity accused, an equally knowing look on her face.

“THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT!” Sunset blurted, turning nearly as red as her hair.

“Sure it wasn’t,” Rarity and Octavia said at the same time.

“Yay!” Pinkie glomped Sunset. “I knew you’d like it! Took me a bit to make sure I had the glistening oils on my naked body just right for you!” she said without thinking twice.

Everyone just looked at the two, without saying a word.

“Someone kill me now, please,” Sunset begged.

“But didn’t you—” Rarity began.

“Someone make it permanent this time.”

Twilight, who had overheard and was just coming out of costuming, decided to spare her sister further mortification. “Seriously, though, do you think you can do this, Pinkie?”

Pinkie walked over to where Milk and Mint were looking at the choreography script. “May I?” she asked and they handed it to her. Pinkie then looked it over with a lot of hmms and hahs before handing it back to the twins. “Oh, this is easy. But can I make some suggestions?”

“At this point, I’m all ears,” Midnight said.

“Have me, Mint, Milk, Piano and Bon-Bon do the dancing,” Pinkie suggested. “Have A-Camera focus on me and have B-Camera film the others. That way if there’s a move I can’t pull off or doesn’t look good after repeated takes, then you’ve got B-Roll of the others that you can turn to.”

Midnight hugged Pinkie. “That’s brilliant! Thank you, Pinkie!”

Pinkie blushed at the gesture. “I’m just being me, really. No need to thank your friendly neighborhood Pinkie for doing her job.”

Bon-Bon, at Pinkie’s words, had picked up the script as well; fortunately, she hadn’t gone into costuming yet. “Yeah, this isn’t hard to do at all,” she said. “A lot of this works the same way. I suggest we sit down and go over this real quick and see what we can replicate so that we can get this taken care of. In fact, given how martial artists work, we have several dancers here,” the girl said, looking at the others.

“No thanks,” Adagio demurred. “I’m not wiggling my butt out there.”

“Dagi, you’re as good as I am,” Bon-Bon told her. “For that matter, so are your sisters and AJ.”

“Nope, count me out,” Applejack said. “Ah’ll be happy to be in this video, but Ah ain’t as fast with techniques as you. Ah know my limitations.”

“Suit yourself. Ari? Soni?”

“Sure, count me in,” Aria said.

“Absolutely! Dancing with Milk and Mint? It’s like a dream come true!” Sonata chirped happily.

“Fine, fine,” Adagio said. “But I’m only doing it if AJ does.”

The others looked at Applejack.

Applejack groaned. “Ah’m gonna get you for this, Dagi.”

“If I have to suffer for art, you have to suffer for art,” she said with a laugh.

It was then that a security guard approached, escorting a girl and a woman in a wheelchair. “Ms. Moondust?” the guard asked. “These two are here to see you.”

“Hey, my friend’s here!” Midnight said with a smile. “Let me introduce you all to them and we can figure stuff out from there, okay?”

“Is there a store around here?” Shimmer asked.

“Yeah, there’s a department store two blocks north of here, why?” Rose asked.

“If they’re going to dance, they need to work on a routine, fast. Which means they’re going to need workout clothing, and I doubt anyone brought them.” She looked at the newly-chosen dancers and said, “I need your sizes; I’m going to go get you some workout gear.”

“Better yet, there’s an LA Fitness across the street,” Milk said. “We have a membership with them, so let us handle that.”

“Allow me. My twin here might have the magic contact list, but I’m the one with the credit cards,” Shimmer said with a grin. “I have my own magic too.”

“Are you sure, Shimmer?” Sunset asked her.

“Remember what I told you about being the best Sunset Shimmer you can be? That applies to both of us,” she said with a grin.

“Okay, then let’s get this done, then!” Midnight said. “We can save this, and I owe it all to you guys!”

Sunset, meanwhile, pulled Pinkie aside and looked at her. “Are you sure about this, Pinkie? I mean, I didn’t intend to ruin our date.”

“It’s okay,” Pinkie assured her. “Your friend needed help, and celebrity or not this is a for a good cause, right? I don’t mind. Besides, I’m with you and if we get this done in time, we have a whole museum to ourselves, right? And it’s not like I’m alone – I’m still out with you.”

“I really appreciate this, Pinkie. Midge is a friend and it sounds like she was in some seriously desperate straits.”

Pinkie looked at Sunset with adoration. “And it shows how much you care about others, Sunny. And you wonder why I fell in love with you.” She sighed and leaned against her. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go work on my routine with the others.”

“Good. I’ll look forward to seeing it.”

“Oh, I’ll be looking forward to shaking my cute little ass, just for you.” Sunset blushed and Pinkie laughed joyfully as she walked off to join the others.

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