• 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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SEVEN YEARS AGO: Long Way Down (Look What the Cat Drug In)

SEVEN YEARS AGO
Reston, Virginia

“And so Softy calls me, right? Says she’s walking bowlegged all weekend and can barely move!” Glitter laughed, moving so animatedly that she nearly knocked over her beer. “And she asks, ‘How do I put them back together’? And I’m like, ‘What do you mean “Put them back together?”’ And then she tells me she’s been having so much sex with my brother during the last two days that she literally can’t close her legs!” At that point the woman just died laughing, doubling over until she was gasping for breath. “She later told me she was a virgin when she slept with Sky. Looks like he took care of that in spades!”

Velvet took a drink of her own beer, rolling her eyes. “My kid sister, ladies.”

Armonia giggled. “You know, when I was dating Sky, we never really got that far – we decided that we were just better off as friends – but I could see how he could be the kind of man that would satisfy a woman.”

“And you just broke my brain, Moni,” Luna grunted. “Sky’s like a big brother to me, and you’re talking about his—”

“He’s a man,” Celestia said sardonically. “Yes, we’ve all been a part of each other’s lives, but at the end of the day, Sky is a man with needs just as we are women with our own.”

“Tia, I really did not need that image of my brother, thank you very much,” Velvet growled and Celestia laughed.

“Still, she made him happy. Never thought it would work,” Glitter said. “But for all that time, she was what he needed. Damn those fucking doctors for fucking up.” She angrily grabbed her beer mug and threw it across the room, where it shattered into so many pieces. “DAMMIT!”

“Hey, that’s enough!” the bartender shouted.

“My sister’s devastated,” Velvet apologized. “Our sister-in-law just passed away and they were best friends. Cut her some slack, okay?” The bartender nodded sympathetically and moved on.

Luna lifted her beer and looked at the brown bottle. “To think that women still die in childbirth at this day and age. And to lose both mother and child. It’s not a fair world.”

Armonia nodded. “No, it’s not. And even though she was only with him for a short time, Softspoken loved him for a lifetime’s worth. But right now, ladies, we need to be there for Sky. Let him know that he can turn to us.”

“I’m more worried about the girls,” Glitter said. “I just got in from Singapore two days ago and I haven’t seen them yet. Where are they?”

“My daughter’s watching them,” Armonia explained. “I’m sure it will be good for both them and Cadenza.”

“Cadance also has Twily with her, so it will be good for them to socialize,” Velvet added.

“I hope so. The triplets have a fiercely independent streak. They’re a little too independent, truth be told.” Glitter signaled to the bartender for another drink. “That’s probably my fault. Or maybe it’s Sky’s. Sure as hell not Softy’s.”

“It’s no one’s fault, Glitter,” Celestia told her. “Some kids are just like that.”

“Not at that age, Tia. Not at that age.”

“Twily, they’re your cousins,” Cadance gently admonished the girl. “You should get to know them.”

“But they scare me,” young Twilight admitted. At the moment, she held onto a thick book like a lifeline. Meanwhile, outside in the backyard, three girls did what they usually did in their house: Sonata puzzled over what looked like a lawnmower engine she was repairing without supervision, Aria practiced with a kid’s bow and arrow set, sinking shot after shot into a target a distance away. Finally, Adagio practiced martial arts katas.

“They’re just normal girls your age.” Cadance watched the three and had to admit that was a falsehood; there was nothing normal about these three, even that she could notice. For starters, they were acting far older than their peers, Twilight included. While the latter tended to be introverted and often only opened up to Octavia, her other cousin and probably only friend her age, there was an unnatural rhythm that the triplets had settled into, one that Cadance was pretty sure wasn’t supposed to be on the minds of just children.

She turned back to her charge. “You won’t know until you try, Twily.”

“I wish Tavi were here,” the younger girl whined.

“I know you do. But Tavi couldn’t come. And besides, these three need your help. Their mother just died, and they probably could use a friend.” Cadance kissed the young girl on the forehead. “If nothing else, do it for me, okay, ladybug?”

Twily smiled, showcasing a missing tooth whose adult equivalent had yet to grow in. “Okay!”

Twilight looked at the three and decided that Sonata was the most approachable. Leaving her book with Cadance, she walked over to where Sonata was, grease on her hands and staring at the motor as if it were a misbehaving puppy.

“What are you doing?” Twilight asked.

Without looking at her, Sonata reached for her wrench. “Fixing Mr. Acorn’s lawnmower,” she said, matter-of-factly. “He was going to throw it away, but Softy…Softy said….” She suddenly became very quiet.

“Are you okay?”

“NO!” Sonata shouted, tears in her eyes. “I can’t fix this! Softy said I could, and I can’t! And I couldn’t fix Softy, either!” Sonata started crying, and Twilight had no idea what to do, looking at Cadance for help.

She found out a second later as she was shoved to the ground. Looking up, tears filling her eyes from the pain she suddenly felt as Adagio stood over her, fist cocked, ready to hit Twilight at the first chance. “What did you do to her?” she yelled.

But that wasn’t the part that horrified Cadance as everything went south practically instantly. No, it was the fact that without even considering what was going on, Aria had trained her bow and arrow on Twilight without even thinking twice.


“ARIA! ADAGIO! BEHAVE YOURSELVES!” a voice ripped through the air. The two standing triplets immediately complied at the sound of that voice.

“Aunt Glitter!” both of them said at the same time. From the tone, Cadance noted the words may as well have been synonymous with mother.

Glitter stood there, an angry look on her face. “Girls, I saw what happened,” she said in angry tones, “and I am disappointed in you both.”

“But we were just trying to protect Soni!” Adagio insisted.

“By hitting your cousin? And Aria, what did I tell you about bows and arrows?”

“Never point them at people because they could get hurt,” the middle triplet replied.

“Twily was just trying to talk to Soni, and she cried. That happens, because she’s sad about what happened to Softy. Don’t you feel the same way?” Glitter walked over and looked at the two. “I’m not going to say violence isn’t the answer, because sometimes it is. But unwarranted violence is the same thing as bullying! And we taught you two better than that.”

Aria and Adagio immediately started crying, hugging their aunt and begging forgiveness. In turn, Glitter cried along with them, both for the loss of her best friend and sister-in-law and the loss of the triplets’ childhood. They had been forced to grow up – no, they forced themselves to grow up – far faster than any child should have.

Sonata, meanwhile, went over to Twilight and did something truly wonderous. She hugged her, saying, “It’s okay. I’m sad right now, but I have Ari and Dagi and they make me happy. Do you have sisters?”

“Sorta. I have Tavi and Cady,” Twilight explained in a non-explanation. Going over the fact that the first was actually her cousin and the second one was her babysitter and a friend of her older brother’s was going to take too long.

“See! You have sisters too!” Sonata chirped. “And sisters never let you down.”

From where she sat, Cadance allowed herself a sigh of relief, glad that an adult was on hand to defuse the situation that had spun out of control before she could even leave her chair.

Then she realized her mother was going to hear about it – and Cadance realized she was probably as good as dead when that happened.

Shining felt out of place in the funeral home, given that it wasn’t a place for the living. Even though he was an accomplished DM at Dungeons & Dragons, he really didn’t have much experience with death – he wasn’t even really a fan of horror films, truth be told. And he definitely didn’t want to be here. Of course, the alternative was staying with his mother and sister…and a group who was entirely female, save for his newborn brother.

“Shining, you okay?” Night asked.

“Yeah, Dad,” he lied, tugging at his tie. He hated them and swore he wouldn’t wear one when he grew up. “Just thinking about the situation.”

“No one expected it,” Night commented. “Just like no one expected your uncle to fall for a girl half his age. But honestly, I think Softspoken was good for Sky.”

“Really? How so?”

He grinned sadly. “Lotus’ death really hurt him. They’d been together forever and they really loved one another – the kind of love you don’t see often.” He then elbowed his son in the side gently, adding, “Well depending on whether you end up with Cadance or one of her friends.”

Shining rolled his eyes. “Dad, Cady is sweet, but I don’t think that’s going anywhere, not with Buck Withers being an ass about it. And besides, Hearts, Lemony and Sandy are just friends, and I can guarantee none of them are looking at me that way.”

“Sure, son,” Night said in a tone that implied he didn’t believe it at all. “But anyway, your uncle had the love of a lifetime with your aunt Lotus. And that life was stolen and it halved Sky. You might be too young to get this, but sometimes a guy just needs a girl, or else he’s incomplete.”

“Maybe,” he said, his mind thinking about a beautiful young lady with three-toned hair.

“So when he suddenly announced he was eloping with a girl he’d known for years but was half his age, needless to say, your mother thought he’d lost his mind. But I knew that when I met Softy that she was perfect for him. She made him feel young and alive again and taught him how to love again. It was enough to bring him back from the dead – and living or not, he was just as dead as Lotus was the day she was murdered.” He shook his head. “And now she’s gone and I think we’re all worried.”

“About him?”

“About him and your cousins. Velvet said that he might not have been the most involved in their lives, and speaking as a father who has tried to be in yours…if that’s true, I don’t know what that’s done for your cousins’ psyches.”

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