• Published 5th Nov 2016
  • 2,408 Views, 118 Comments

Among Memories - Deathscar


2 weeks after Camp Everfree ended, Sunset and her friends are excited to start the Fall semester with their newfound powers. However, Sunset soon realizes that the abilities they've been given could send their friendships, and their lives, into ruin.

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Chapter 3: Under Control

The walk to school was uneventful, though Sunset preferred it that way. The silence was more than welcome, and it allowed her to gather her thoughts. She rubbed her gloved hands together, shaking slightly from her nerves. She had spent the entire night thinking of a way to help Rainbow and Flash. And though she did come up with an idea for Flash, Rainbow’s situation still left Sunset perplexed.

Looking up, Sunset saw Canterlot High just across the street. Maybe this isn’t such a good idea. She sighed. I might just make it worse. Once the light had turned green, she started to cross when a sudden shouting drew her attention to the right of CHS.

“Hahaha, I knew it! Still the same old freak!” Tangerine’s shrill voice called out. Sunset spotted Twilight just behind her, standing with her books grasped tightly against her chest. All previous thoughts emptied from her mind as Sunset rushed over.

“Twilight!” Sunset’s voice caused both girls to turn to her.

“Sunset!” The sight of her friend was a welcome relief for Twilight. Sunset stopped just in front of Tangerine, a scowl on both of their faces.

“What were you doing to Twilight?” Sunset stared fiercely at Tangerine, who stood, unmoving.

“Nothing, we were just having a talk, right, Twilight?” Tangerine turned to her, gesturing for her to agree. Twilight didn’t answer, choosing to focus her attention away from the two of them.

“By calling her a freak?” Sunset asked angrily, crossing her arms.

“It was a joke between Twilight and I.” Tangerine started to move towards the main doors of Canterlot High. “Plus, you really shouldn’t be prodding into people’s personal lives. I thought you would have learned that by now.”

Sunset watched as Tangerine entered the school. She didn’t want to admit it, but the words Tangerine had said stung deeply. Doubt and accusations started to crawl into her mind, but remembering that Twilight was still standing beside her, she quickly pushed those thoughts away. She turned back to Twilight, who was staring at the ground. “We really should go to Principal Celestia about this.”

“No!” Twilight shouted. “Please, Sunset, let me handle this on my own. She doesn’t affect me.”

“I don’t know, Twilight. I still think it would be best to go to a superior about this.” Sunset spotted Twilight tense up, tightening her grip on the books. “But, if you don’t want to…”

“I really don’t.” Twilight shook her head and walked past Sunset. Sunset rubbed her gloved hands together. She wanted to use her powers on Twilight right then and there, to see how bad the situation was. However, Tangerine’s words rang in her mind. You really shouldn’t be prodding into people’s personal lives. Sunset took a deep breath, tightening the gloves and running to catch up to Twilight.

They soon arrived at Sunset’s locker, and heard Applejack’s voice echoing down the hallway. “Well, Fluttershy, nice to see ya smiling again.”

Fluttershy blushed and hid behind her hair, but Rarity parted it just as quickly. “Yes, Applejack is quite right. We did miss your smiling.” Rarity brandished a hairband, helping Fluttershy tie her pink locks into a braid that fell over her left shoulder.

“And maybe you and Rainbow Dash can help us out for the Fall Formal!” Applejack suggested.

“Oh I’d love to! I know some friends in the schoolyard that would love to help!” Fluttershy sung excitedly.

“And you Rainbow?” Applejack pointed to Rainbow Dash, who shook her head and crossed her arms. “Aw, come on. Your super speed could be a real help!”

“Well I’m tired alright? Just let me do what I want!” Sunset glanced to Applejack, who sighed upon hearing Rainbow’s bitter tone. Rainbow’s face displayed no sense of school spirit or excitement for the coming event, and all her usual drive seemed to have vanished completely. Sunset opened her mouth to speak to her, but closed it soon after, realizing she did not have even the slightest clue on what to say.

“Well, I have the dresses almost done! And they look fabulous!” Rarity squealed. “I admit, it has been quite the workload, but all great pieces of art are! Though Sunset dear, do you still want the evening gloves? I still maintain my stance that they aren’t ‘Fall Formal’ style attire. For both the ‘Fall’ and the ‘Formal’.”

Sunset’s gaze immediately went to Twilight, who softly shook her head. She thought about it for a second before answering, “I’d... still like them, Rarity. Sorry.”

Rarity sighed. “If you’re so insistent on them, then I suppose I have no reason to deny you your wish.”

“Pinkie, I never thought I’d be saying this but… do you wanna talk?” Applejack stared at Pinkie, who appeared a little more dazed than she usually was.

“Huh? Oh sorry girls. I was just up all day making treats for the Fall Formal. I’d love some help but everyone’s too busy on the decorations.” She reached into her hair and picked out a sprinkle. The other girl's’ eyes grew wide with fear as they focused their attention on the sprinkle Pinkie was holding. Pinkie shrugged and tossed it into her mouth, causing her friends to let out a sigh of relief.

Suddenly, Sunset’s eyes caught Flash a few lockers down. Her mind immediately remembered her plan and she slammed her locker shut. “Girls, I have to talk to Flash for a moment. Head to class without me.” Her friends simply shrugged as she made her way to him.

“Flash?” Sunset called. But when Flash turned, his expressionless emotion turned to a frown.

“What do you want?” Flash shut his locker with a forceful push.

“Look, Flash, I’m sorry about what happened on Monday. I didn’t mean to look into your past, or trick you.” Sunset spotted Flash’s frown grow even more, and quickly spoke. “But it doesn’t matter what my intentions were. It happened and you have every right to be mad,” Sunset said, maintaining eye contact with Flash.

Flash shrugged. “Whatever. Not like it makes any difference in the end,” he spoke in a crestfallen tone.

“But I know how I might be able to help.” Sunset smiled. “Flash, can you meet me in the band room at lunch time?”

“I’m... busy.”

“I promise it’ll take just a few minutes,” Sunset attempted to coax him.

“Fine.” Flash said after taking a deep breath. “But just for a few minutes. No more.”

Sunset nodded. “Thank you.” She waved him a goodbye before sprinting back to class, entering just as the bell rang.

----------

Flash pushed open the door to the music room, spotting Sunset sitting on the piano, tuning a guitar.

“Sunset. Alright, I’m here, what’s up?” Flash stood by the door, impatiently tapping his foot.

“They should be here soon.” Sunset twisted a tuning peg.

“They?” Flash did not have time to clarify, as the doors were pushed open once more. Sunset glanced up, spotting Flash’s band members walk through as well.

“Ringo? Beats?” Flash scowled at the his former friends.

“Flash?” Brawly Beats said in shock.

“Is this a joke, Sunset?” Flash gestured to them. “You already know what happened! Why did you bring them here!?”

Sunset hopped off the piano. “Because I’ve had my band fight and break up before. I know what it’s like to go through it.”

“Then you of all people should know that we aren’t getting back together,” Flash huffed. “Not after what happened.”

“I hate to agree with Flash, but he’s right. Flash Drive is over,” Ringo nodded as Brawly spoke.

“You guys didn’t have fun playing together as a band?”

“It’s not that, Sunset. It’s… something you wouldn’t understand.” Flash crossed his arms.

“I’m in a band too Flash. What? Do you think we don’t fight?” Sunset giggled. “Applejack and Rarity disagree about costumes at every single practise session. Rainbow and Fluttershy bicker about the lyrics while Pinkie wants to pour sprinkles on all our instruments!”

Brawly stared at Sunset. “Sounds like you girls are in trouble.”

“Oh no, not even close.” Sunset walked around the room, picking up several instruments. “We love our jam sessions. It gives us a chance to gather and do something we all love.”

“But you argue!” Flash commented, perplexed.

“Yes, and at the end of the day we discuss what we liked and what we didn’t together. As a band. As friends. It allows us to work things out right away, instead of letting it fester and ruin our friendship.” Sunset handed Flash a guitar. “It was a lesson we learned the hard way.” She sighed. “And one we don’t plan to forget. The problem isn't that you guys argued, it’s that you three didn’t talk after you did.”

Sunset moved to Brawly, passing him a pair of drumsticks. “Plus, we’re both high school bands. We’re not cutting records or making it to radio stations. The Rainbooms do it because it’s fun, and it’s something we can all connect on.” She walked up to Ringo and gestured to the keyboard. “And I have a feeling that’s why you guys started your band too, isn’t it?”

Flash held the instrument in his hands, staring down at the strings. He strummed it once, hearing the music resonate from the amp. “Well.” He turned to his bandmates. “She isn’t wrong. We started this band because we wanted to play together.”

“Yeah I still remember our first session in your basement.” Brawly pointed to Flash with a smirk.

“What? You think I own some top of the line studio?” Flash chuckled. “We were just happy to have a place to use our instruments!”

“We practiced for what? Six hours?”

“Seven.” Ringo interrupted.

“Seven hours.” Flash sighed, strumming another chord on his guitar. “And yet here we are, seven minutes of practise and we start arguing.”

“Man, what changed?” Brawly scratched his head.

“From what I remember, you guys were arguing about your band name, right?” Sunset stepped forward.

“Yeah, I wanted Flash Drive to be another name, because why should Flash get all the credit?” Brawly’s tone grew bitter and Sunset quickly leapt into the conversation.

“Maybe just play without a name for a while. Just… be a band. Play as friends, and you guys can discuss the name another time,” Sunset suggested.

Brawly twirled the sticks in his hands effortlessly. “Maybe… What do you say Flash? Up for one jam session?”

Flash strummed several chords, nodding. “Just one. Ringo?”

“Sure.” The three ran to take their positions. As the loud guitar riffs and crashing cymbals blasted through the speakers, Sunset slipped out of the room with a smile on her face.

I have a feeling it’s not going to be just ‘one’.

----------

Sunset stood at the back of the group. They had just finished lunch and were headed back to class. Once more, Sunset found herself lost in her thoughts. This time, however, they were only focused on one person: Rainbow Dash. She lifted her head, spotting Rainbow strolling just in front of her, but still behind the chatty pack. A few students greeted her, but she simply gave a disinterested ‘hey’ before resuming her sulking.

“Sunset! Hey!” Flash’s voice drew the entire group’s attention.

Sunset turned to her friends. “I’ll catch up with you girls later.” Her friends all gave her a nod before entering the nearby classroom. Sunset returned her gaze to Flash, who was smiling wide. “Had fun at band practice?”

“Heh the best!” Flash pumped his hand in the air, but his look soon fell. Sunset started to feel anxious, wondering if her plan hadn’t worked like she had hoped. “Sunset, I… wanted to apologize.”

Sunset gave an audible sigh, beaming. “For?”

“Scolding you. Calling you a freak. Actually everything about my behavior for the past couple of days.” He ran a hand through his hair. “You aren’t any of those things I said. I was emotional because I thought I lost my friends forever.”

“It’s okay.” Sunset nodded, running a gloved finger past her pendant. “I know what that’s like.”

“You okay?” Flash placed a hand on Sunset’s shoulder.

“Yeah. Better than any other day this week.”

“That’s good.” A beat of silence passed between the two, before Flash picked up the conversation with a blush. “Well, the Fall Formal is coming up. Any chance I can see the Fall Formal Queen there?”

Sunset shook her head and gave a broken laugh. “I won’t be the Fall Formal Queen, Flash. I don’t stand a chance.”

“What?” Flash thought for a little while, snapping his fingers once he had realized what she meant. “It’s those stupid rumors that Tangerine spread, isn’t it?”

Sunset nodded, affirming his suspicions. “Don’t worry, Sunset. Let me handle that.” Flash gave a knowing wink to her. Sunset was one of the few people to understand what that gesture truly meant, being his ex-girlfriend. It told her that he had a plan in mind, one that he had already set his sights on. Just then, the school bell rang throughout the halls, signalling the end of lunch.

“I better get back to class.” Sunset pointed to the room behind her.

“Yeah, me too. See ya later!” Flash started to run away, but stopped after only a few steps. “Oh and Sunset?”

Sunset was already on her way in. She froze, staring at Flash. “Hm?”

“Those gloves don’t suit you. You should think about taking them off.”

Sunset rubbed her palms together, eyes locked onto the leather that covered them. “Yeah,” she smiled. “I hope I can soon.” Flash gave one final wave before sprinting past a corner, disappearing from Sunset’s view.

----------

The final bell of the day rang through Canterlot High. “Alright alright, settle down. I have one last announcement to make.” The class’ noise fell at Cranky’s words. “Principal Celestia says that she has seen how hard you all have worked for the Fall Formal. She’s truly touched by your Wondercolt spirit and so, tomorrow’s classes have been cancelled so you can spend all the time preparing for the Fall Formal the day after!”

The class erupted into cheers and claps. Sunset cheered as well, but a quick glance towards Rainbow quickly snuffed out the happy flame. Rainbow was seated in her chair, her bag having already been packed and slung over her shoulder. But what was truly odd was the silence emanating from the girl. Usually, Rainbow would be the one leading the screaming and shouting. She would also be leaping high in the air to celebrate. Instead, she stayed perfectly still, not even a smirk or chuckle on her face.

“That’s all. Class dismissed!”

As students flooded out of the room into the school hallways, Sunset gathered her things. “Rainbow?” she called, but there was no reply. When she glanced up, she noticed that Rainbow’s seat was rocking back and forth, empty. She grabbed her things, running to Twilight’s table where the rest of her friends had gathered. “Anyone know where Rainbow Dash might be? I wanted to talk to her, but she sorta just super speeded off.”

“I saw her at the park yesterday on my way home!” Pinkie said in her cheerful tone. “I tried to say hello to her, but Rainbow just sorta ignored me. She was probably tired so I chose not to disturb her!”

“Tired? Rainbow?” Applejack shook her head. “Girl’s been ‘tired’ all week!”

The park huh? Sunset tapped her chin and ran to the door. “Thanks, Pinkie!”

“Hey, Sunset?” Twilight shouted, stopping Sunset just before she made the turn. “You’re dropping by the gym later, right? We... might need your help.”

“Huh? Why?”

“W-we’ll explain later. Just go get Rainbow Dash first!” Applejack insisted.

Sunset gave her thumbs up. “Don’t worry, AJ. I’ll be there for sure! Fall Formal’s in two days after all! You girls will need all the help you can get!” She continued her sprint out of the school. Please be at the park. Please be at the park.

After a few minutes of running, Sunset arrived at the local park. She sprinted onto the path, following the winding gravel pavement towards the pond. Her eyes scanned every single bench, walkway and gazebo she passed, but she saw no signs of Rainbow Dash. Sunset stopped her frantic search, retreating into her mind. This is going nowhere. Think. If I’m Rainbow Dash, where would I go?

Sunset ran through the park mentally, imagining every single landmark until she arrived at one. The football practice field! She snapped her fingers and jogged towards it. Once it was in sight, Sunset immediately spotted Rainbow seated on a nearby bench, her eyes watching the match that was taking place. She had zipped up her coat, letting it drape over her jeans as she leaned forward.

Okay great, you found her. Now what? Talking’s not going to do any good. Sunset tapped her head, thinking of various ways she could help her friend. After going through several options, she decided on the one that had the best chance to make Rainbow happy once more. This might not fix everything, but it’s the closest I’m gonna get.

Sunset whipped out her phone, dialing a number before putting it next to her ear. A short ringing followed, before Applejack’s voice came through on the other end.

“Heya Sunset. Found Rainbow Dash?” Applejack asked.

“Yeah, she’s here. But I need a favor, do you have the number to the CHS Sports Coach?” Sunset heard some commotion coming from the other end of the call, followed by a loud thud.

“That ain’t the way to—! ugh forget it.” Applejack’s voice sounded distant, but her next words were clear once more. “Sorry, Sunset. Yeah I have it right here, give me a moment.”

“Is... everything alright there?”

“Huh? Oh umm, everyone’s sorta... disorganized right now. Don’t worry your pretty little head, Sunset, we’ll get the decorations done! Now let me see here...” There came a sound of flipping pages, before Applejack came back to the line. “Coach Vel! I’ll send you the number right away, Sunset.”

“Thanks Applejack. I’ll be back soon to help out. Try not to destroy the gym before that happens alright?” Sunset joked.

“I ain’t making no promises. See ya later.” Sunset hung up the call. Alright, let’s see if this works.

----------

“Watching a game?” Sunset took a seat beside Rainbow. Rainbow shifted her head a little, but just as quickly went back to staring at the match.

“You of all our friends should know why I don’t feel like talking.” Rainbow leaned forward, clasping her hands together and resting her elbows on her lap.

“I know.” Sunset leaned back in the wooden bench. “Didn’t join them?” She pointed to the two teams that were competing on the field.

“Why? So they can accuse me of cheating if I win?” Rainbow huffed. “Yeah, no thanks. I’d rather not play if it means I have to choose between getting accused or losing.”

“Well, what if it’s neither?” Sunset suggested, causing Rainbow to stare at her like she had spoken an insult.

“Look, if you’re going to rub salt in the wound, you can just take it back to CHS. I’m not really in the mood for pranks right now.”

“That’s not how you should speak to your teammates.” A strong, lower-toned voice spoke from behind them. Sunset turned, spotting Coach Vel in his usual attire of a white sports T-shirt, shorts and a blue, CHS cap.

Rainbow shot up from her seat, staring in disbelief. “Coach? What’re you doing here?”

“Sunset called me over. Told me what’s been going on with you.” Coach Vel waved towards Sunset, who waved back with a smile.

“You did what!?” Rainbow shouted at Sunset.

“Hey! Rainbow! Don’t be mad at her, I’m glad she called me!” Coach Vel’s loud commanding voice immediately drew Rainbow’s attention back to him. “Look, Rainbow Dash. You are the best athlete I ever taught. You had more drive and school-spirit than any other student I have seen in my years working here.”

Rainbow blushed slightly, scratching the back of her head. “Well, that’s nice and all, Coach, but—”

Coach Vel lifted a finger. “I’m not done yet. Rainbow, when you ran on Monday, I had no doubt you weren’t cheating. Most of your teammates didn’t either. But with the rules set in place by the school board, I can’t allow a student that had the possibility of cheating to compete, you understand, right?”

Rainbow took a deep breath before sighing, giving a disheartened nod. “I understand, Coach.”

“Good. However.” The word caught Rainbow’s gaze, returning a small glimmer into her eyes. “That doesn’t mean I should have rejected you a spot on the team at all. I talked to a few coaches from nearby schools, and they said that even they believe you wouldn’t cheat. Mostly because you wouldn’t need to to beat them like you’ve done in the past.”

Rainbow did not understand what her Coach was getting at, but knew better than to interrupt him midway. “After talking, we agreed to host a few friendly matches. They think that playing against CHS could improve their performance, especially if you’re on the team.” Rainbow’s face lit up like a tree at Christmas. Her eyes sparkled and a grin grew on her face. “So if you’re up for it, I’d love to have you join us.”

“Yes yes yes yes!” Rainbow repeated, yelling. “I’ll show those schools that I don’t need no stupid powers to beat them!”

“Oh and one more thing.” Coach Vel gestured to Sunset, who was grinning from ear to ear. “Sunset suggested one heck of an idea. If you’re up for it, I think you’d make a great training assistant.”

“T-training assistant?”

“Yup. I always get a few of my top students to help me train the newcomers. And I think you’d make a great physical trainer. This’ll also put you under me, so if any student tries to accuse you of cheating, I’ll back you up. I trust you, Rainbow. And you can accept this on the promise that you will not use your powers in any of my sports, whether it’d be during a game or training.”

Rainbow stared at her necklace, before turning back up to her coach. “I accept, Coach, but I’m not taking this off.” She turned to Sunset for a second, a large grin on her face. “It’s sorta important to me. But I promise not to use my powers during training. I know how to control them. ”

“Alright. Deal.” Coach Vel opened his palm to Rainbow, who shook it without a second thought.

Rainbow jogged in place, her feet disappearing in a blur. “I’m back on the team! I’m back on the team!” she sung, squealing a little.

Sunset stood up, walking over to Coach Vel. “Thanks for taking my advice, Coach. And trusting.”

“Oh, anytime,” Coach Vel laughed. “You’re no longer your troublemaker-self, Sunset. I have no reason to doubt you.” Sunset nodded, rubbing her gloved hands together softly. “Also helps that you and your friends saved CHS a few times already, so this is the least I can do. Well, Rainbow? Any chance you’re free now?” Coach Vel asked, placing a hand on Rainbow’s shoulder to calm her.

“Actually,” Rainbow gave a coy smirk to Sunset. “I’m gonna be busy until Friday. I got the Fall Formal to help set up.”

“Well, then what are you doing here? Go!” Coach Vel stepped aside. Rainbow grabbed Sunset’s wrist, pulling her forward.

“Wait, Rainbow what’re you—” Sunset found her voice lost in an instant, the words disappearing into the air around her. The whole world zipped by her in a flash, and before she knew it, she was outside the gym in CHS. She started to cough and splutter, pressing a hand against a wall for support. Her stomach felt like it had been twisted, as if she had rode the teacup ride at the local amusement park twenty times in a row.

Rainbow pulled Sunset back up to her feet, hugging her tight. “Sunset, I owe you so much!” She squeezed Sunset as tight as she could, and already Sunset felt like all the air had been forced out of her.

“No... problem... Rainbow!” Sunset attempted to speak through suffocating breaths. Rainbow released her death hold on her friend, chuckling sheepishly.

“And umm, look, about all the things I said. And the way I acted the past few days. I mean, it’s sorta hard to say but—”

“Apology accepted, Rainbow. And you can thank me by making sure the Fall Formal goes great.”

“Heh, leave it to me!” Rainbow zipped through the large red doors, shouting her next words. “Wondercolts! Listen up!” Every single student immediately stopped what they were doing, focusing on Rainbow. “I’m— whoa what happened here?” Sunset moved in, noticing that the entire gym was in disarray. The banners on the ceiling had been hung upside down, while several speakers laid sideways on the stage with Applejack attempting to arrange them back into order.

The buffet table sat in the middle of the room with several plates shattered on the floor while the guest chairs and tables sat stacked at the side of the room, not having even been touched since yesterday. Twilight was attempting to clean up the floor, which had been littered with bits of paper and other sorts of trash. Fluttershy herself, was attempting to ask the birds to hang flowers around the room, though judging by the sack of them that flanked each side, she did not look like she was making much progress.

“It... wasn’t this bad when I left yesterday,” Sunset assured Rainbow.

Rainbow shook her head. “No way are we hosting a Fall Formal in a room like this! Wondercolts! All of you drop what you’re doing and clean up what you can. After that, take orders from Sunset, she’ll help organize everything and make sure you’re all doing what needs to be done! Right, Sunset?” Rainbow gave her a thumbs up.

Sunset felt the stress pile on her in an instant. She brought her arms to the pendant around her neck. Grasping it tightly, she gave Rainbow one firm nod, followed by a thumbs up of her own. Rainbow turned back to the gym, feeling magic overwhelm her, covering her in a bright blue aura. Sunset and her friends stared at her with large grins. “Who are we?”

Everyone in the room, including her friends, pumped their fist into the air as they shouted back. “Wondercolts!”

Rainbow felt magic coursing through her veins. She zoomed to the mic on stage, grabbing it in an instant. “And what will we do?”

As the crowd screamed back “Survive!”, Rainbow felt herself pony-up.

She shot into the air, yelling to the crowd. “Then let’s get this done!” Once she had returned the mic, Rainbow became a blur of color. Every student got to work, cleaning up every little bit of trash that they could see. Meanwhile, Sunset was seated at a table, scribbling down planning notes and adding a checkmark beside each. Twilight walked over, pulling up a seat. “You got Rainbow back!”

“I couldn’t have done it without you, Twilight. If you didn’t give me that talk, I’d still be crying in the band room today.” Sunset saw Twilight turn away, a blush radiating from her cheeks.

“S-so, need some help planning?” Twilight stretched her head forward, reading what she had written. “Is this the same book you used to plan the Camp Everfree ball?”

“Mmhm.” She scribbled some more notes. “So if I assign everyone here a role, we should be able to get this done by tomorrow. Especially now that Rainbow is back.”

Twilight nodded, whispering, “Sunset, I was thinking. Tomorrow morning might be the perfect time to practise your magic. There’s no class, and the school’s a nice quiet place where we can focus on getting you in control. What do you think?”

Sunset paused her writing, allowing the pencil to rest on her finger. Despite everything she had done, she could not deny there was still a fear in her whenever she thought about using her powers. She had forgotten about it once, and it almost sent her whole world crashing down. Her thoughts returned to Fluttershy, Flash and Rainbow. All of whom she had helped in some way. One thing that Fluttershy said in particular, stuck out in her mind.

I need to face my fears.

Sunset wanted to train right then and there, but she could feel the day’s exhaustion creeping up on her. She looked up at Twilight, speaking, “s-sounds good, Twilight. Perfect, actually.”

“Alright. We’ll stay as long as you need to.” Twilight assured her before returning to her normal speaking tone. “Now, we’re gonna need Applejack’s help to set up the sound system…”

Sunset found Twilight’s voice slowly fade away. All of her friends seemed to be happy, yet something still worried her. Her mind attempted to find out why, but the whirlwind of thoughts made the task impossible. All she could recall was the incidents with her friends and the emotions behind them. The fear, the confusion, the anger. Sunset attempted to pinpoint the source of the rising worry. However, a voice quickly snapped her out of it.

“Sunset?” Twilight called to her friend, who glanced back down at her book. She giggled softly and nudged Sunset lightly. “I was saying that Rarity could make the chandelier tomorrow? And Rainbow could hop in between helping Pinkie and setting up the area here?”

“Of course… right.” Sunset jotted it down on the page. “Well, this is a good start.”

“Great. I’ll go tell the others what we have planned. Be right back!” Twilight stood up and made her way to Applejack on the stage.

Sunset lifted her gloved hand to the necklace, running a finger around the outline of her cutie mark. She moved her gaze quickly between Applejack, Twilight, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash. The big smiles they wore and the cheerful atmosphere around them made Sunset’s heart soar. However, as she glanced down towards her hands, a sharp reminder caused her shoulders and spirit to fall. And once again, the fear returned in full force. I can’t let this happen again. I can’t risk losing anymore of my friends. I need to get this under control.

“Sunset?” Twilight’s voice snapped Sunset out of her thoughts. “Everything alright?”

Sunset grinned, nodding.

“Everything’s... under control.”