• Published 14th Nov 2016
  • 5,526 Views, 1,072 Comments

Looking Glass - Krickis

When Sunset sees herself as an alicorn in a magical mirror, she goes looking for answers, eventually going through the mirror into another world. Some things are better left alone though, as she finds herself trapped in the other world as a child.

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5 – Hitting the Bottom

Chapter Five

Hitting the Bottom

There wasn’t a whole lot that Sunset still looked forward to. She’d been trapped on Earth for over two weeks, and she would be for over two years. She was forced to attend kindergarten and was treated like a child. Worst of all, she was having extreme mood swings brought on by her adult memories and knowledge trying to reconcile with her five-year-old brain.

In every way, Sunset’s life was hell. And yet for once, she was actually excited. She sat waiting on her bed, flipping through the juvenile novel that Crystal Clear had left her with. She had read the whole thing three times, and she was ready to show her understanding of every conceivable aspect of the story. And once she did, she would finally be given something that she could actually enjoy – books about the magic of technology and novels that would actually be suitable for her age!

A knock on the door caused her to jump up. Even if it meant a lecture about the fight with Sugar Breeze, it was worth it. She even smiled as she opened the door and greeted Rose Petal. “Hi, Ms. Rose. I’m ready for my appointment.”

Seeing her happy for a change, Rose Petal couldn’t help but smile. “I see that. There’s been a bit of a change of plans, but don’t worry. It’s a good surprise.”

Sunset’s smile faltered a little. “I’m still seeing Crystal Clear, right?”

“Yes, deary. But don’t bother asking what the surprise is because I’m not telling. You’ll just have to come with me to find out.”

Slightly apprehensive, Sunset followed the caretaker. It wasn’t hard to imagine a surprise she might enjoy – she’d been dying to get her hands on a computer – but if the big surprise wound up being something that would normally appeal to a five-year-old, then Sunset would rather do without.

It wasn’t long at all before they came across the first change from their norm. Previously, Rose Petal had always driven her to Crystal Clear’s office for their appointments. Today, he was sitting in the foyer. Furthermore, he was talking to Violet Dusk, and Sunset wasn’t sure if that was good or bad.

Seeing the two of them side by side did prove interesting. They both wore business suits all the time, but Crystal’s were expertly crafted, possibly custom made, and had to be quite expensive. On the other hand, Violet’s were well maintained but looked like they probably came from a discount supplier.

Violet was the first person to notice her. “Hello, Sunset. How are you doing?”

“I’m fine,” Sunset said. She turned her attention to Crystal Clear, who smiled and waved. “I finished the book, and I’m ready to prove I understood it.”

“I see,” he said, taking the book as she handed it to him. “I’m afraid we won’t have as much time to talk about it as I thought we would, but I did remember our arrangement. I’ve already left some new books for you with Ms. Rose, and you can tell me all about the one you read while we’re driving.”

Although she was not entirely comfortable with the fact she wouldn’t get to see the books until after Crystal Clear had left, Sunset supposed there wasn’t a whole lot she could do about it. She decided instead to focus on the day ahead of them. “So what are we doing today?”

“Well, I heard about the incident that happened at school the other day,” Crystal said. Sunset must have looked worried because he smiled reassuringly. “As much as I would love to talk to you about that directly, Mrs. Dusk covered it pretty well from the sound of things, so you’re safe for now. But something else caught my attention. Sunset, why are you so interested in ponies?”

If she looked worried before, she couldn’t even imagine what she must have looked like at that. “I, uh… don’t… don’t lots of girls my age like ponies?” She forced an innocent grin, but knew she probably overdid it.

“Well, yes,” Crystal Clear admitted, “it’s possible that there’s really nothing to it besides general interest. But I have a theory. Since this is the first time you’ve latched onto something so strongly, I think it might be connected to your memories. There could very well be ponies somewhere in your past.”

That was a hell of an understatement. “What do you mean?” Sunset asked, trying hard to cover her nerves.

Crystal Clear shrugged. “It could be anything, maybe your parents had a job that involved ponies. But even if it’s just something small, like maybe a favorite TV show with ponies in it, that could still lead us to some big revelations. Sometimes remembering even a small detail will cause a lot more to follow.”

Sunset internally sighed with relief. They had no idea what was really going on. “I guess that makes sense, but I don’t remember anything like that.”

“We figured as much,” Violet Dusk said. “So we came up with an idea. Sunset, how would you like to go see a pony?”

Sunset’s whole body went slack and she caught herself with her mouth hanging open. “A… a real one? A real live pony?”

“Yes, a real live pony,” Violet assured her. “Dr. Clear thinks it might help you remember your past, so it’s worth a shot.” Normally, she didn’t express emotions in a large way, always maintaining the calm and collected image. But as she saw Sunset’s excitement grow, Violet joined the others with her own enthusiastic smile.

“Can we go now?” Sunset asked.

“Yes, if you’re ready we can get going,” Violet said.

Rose Petal chuckled from behind her. “Now if only I could find the time to visit the pony with you. Too much to do, I’m afraid, so you’ll just have to tell me all about it when you get back.”

Sunset nodded. “Okay.” That seemed like a small enough price to pay for the chance like this. She turned back to the others. “I’m ready, let’s get going!”

Crystal Clear held the door open for them while Rose Petal waved goodbye. They all climbed into Violet’s car, with Sunset sitting in the back. “It won’t be too far of a drive, but we should still make the most of it,” Crystal said once everyone was buckled in. “I suspect we’ll have plenty else to talk about on the way back, so how about you tell me what you thought of that book for now.”

“Oh yeah,” Sunset said. She had forgotten about the book. It suddenly seemed much less important; she didn’t really even care what books he had decided to leave for her anymore. They were on their way to talk to somepony like her, and she wouldn’t be alone anymore.

The houses thinned out as they drove. By the time the car stopped, Sunset could see a forest in the distance, which made her realize for the first time how little she knew of the local geography.

Which was a distant concern, of course, since they had apparently arrived at their destination. It was a large red house with lots of open space and a red wooden barn behind it.

“This is it,” Violet Dusk said as they stepped out. “Sweet Apple Acres. The biggest supplier of apples in the region, and home to several ponies.”

“Several!?” The day only got better. Sunset looked around excitedly, hoping to see a pony at work. While she had never cared to be around ponies doing manual labor in Equestria, she wasn’t about to start getting choosy. She’d be thrilled to meet anypony at all after spending so much time with humans.

Crystal Clear chuckled. “Relax, Sunset. You’ll get the chance to see the ponies soon enough. First, we’ll go meet with the people who live here.”

Sunset followed him without complaint as they approached the house, and fidgeted in place when he knocked on the door.

“Coming,” a man’s voice called from the other side. A moment later the door opened to reveal the biggest person Sunset had ever seen, both in size and build. He was golden yellow, with bright green hair that grew all over his body and covered most of his face. When he spoke, his voice was just as soft as it was deep. “Well, hello there, little lady. I reckon you must be here to meet a pony.”

“Yes,” Sunset said, craning her neck back to see him all the way. “I’m Sunset Shimmer.” Since she wanted to make a good impression on the people that lived with the ponies, she held her hand out to shake his.

He laughed as he shook her hand, and Sunset got the impression that he wasn’t used to little girls who weren’t intimidated by his size. “And I’m Apple Spice. I can already tell that you’ve got a lot of spunk, just like my own baby girl. She’s right around your age, actually.” Well, he probably wasn’t too used to it, anyway.

He stepped out and shut the door, gesturing for them to follow. “Right this way. The missus is ‘round back making sure Chestnut is ready.”

Sunset was equal parts apprehension and excitement. She desperately wanted to get to know another pony, to feel the solidarity that no matter what she looked like, they were the same. But she noticed unsettling undertones to every comment. Why did someone need to make sure Chestnut was ready? Had she been correct when she assumed ponies were enslaved by humans? Was the pony she was about to meet being held captive, forced into manual labor on a human-run farm, with the human masters taking care to make sure Chestnut was presentable to others?

She would only know when they met, so she pushed the thoughts aside. As they approached the barn, Sunset was disappointed to see nopony was in sight yet, only a human woman with a baby. Her husband may have been testosterone given human form, but she certainly seemed like a hearty woman herself. She was fairly tall, although not abnormally so, and her build suggested she did her fair share of work around the farm. Her pale orange skin stood out as being distinctly non-apple colored, while her vibrant red hair brought citrus to mind. The baby in her arms seemed to take equally after both parents, being a lighter shade of yellow than her father, while her hair was a darker red than her mother’s.

“Look, Apple Bloom, we have company!” she said to the little girl, exaggerating her excitement.

Apple Bloom laughed and buried her face into the crook of her mom’s neck.

“You must be Orange Blossom,” Violet said. “My name’s Violet Dusk, we spoke on the phone.” She placed her hand on Sunset’s shoulder. “And this is Sunset Shimmer, who is very interested in meeting Chestnut.”

“Hey there, Sunset,” Orange Blossom said, extending her hand, “it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Likewise, ma’am,” Sunset said as she shook Orange’s hand, earning herself a smirk for the formal reply.

“Such a polite young girl,” Orange commented. She handed Apple Bloom off to her husband, who looked a little uneasy handling someone so small, before approaching the barn. “Everyone back up from the door some and I’ll bring Chestnut out.”

Obediently, they all huddled together far away enough for the large door to swing open. Sunset tried to get a glimpse inside, but couldn’t from where she was standing. Orange Blossom was talking, and Sunset felt a growing sense of unease. She couldn’t make out the words, but noticed she used a tone similar to how she had spoken to Apple Bloom. Unless Chestnut was a foal – and why would a foal be working on a farm? – it was clear that humans definitely looked down on ponies.

Those concerns became distant as she heard the familiar sound of hoofsteps. She would never have thought she’d miss something so basic as the sound of hooves against a wooden floor. For one glorious moment, she could close her eyes and be back in Equestria.

Then Orange Blossom walked out of the barn, and everything came crashing to the ground.

That was not a pony. It was a poor caricature of a pony. It was nothing but a disturbed artist’s rendition. A creature of nightmares. Its face was a misshapen mess, stretched out to horrible proportions with pitch black eyes. It was staring at her with those soulless, black eyes.

It was a nothing short of a monster.

Unconcerned about the people around her, Sunset ran. She didn’t want to be around that thing, she couldn’t be. Her ears filled with the sounds of screams that she only distantly realized were coming from herself. She couldn’t hear any other sounds.

She didn’t pay any attention to where she was going. Didn’t so much see the world around her as just react to it. Left here. Right there. Go around the tree. Don’t worry about the creek, just go through it. Anything at all that could put more distance between her and that thing.

The ground rose to meet her as her small body couldn’t carry her anymore. She covered her head and screamed, then forced herself back up. She looked around wildly and didn’t see anyone, but that wasn’t good enough. She had to keep going forward, she was never going back.

Step by step, she made her way further to… she didn’t know where it was to. It didn’t matter. She could die out here in these woods, and it wouldn’t matter.

Memories and fractured emotions replaced rational thought. It all came back to one thing, one resounding truth that wouldn’t let her go. There was nothing left worth living for.

She had nothing she cared about. She had been turned away from the only pony she cared for. She’d been forcibly removed from her home, the only place that had ever felt like home. Everything she had worked for, everything she had built for herself, it was all gone.

She had nowhere to go. She didn’t want to live with humans. She couldn’t find the portal. Even if she did, it was closed. Even if it wasn’t, no one wanted her on the other side.

She was nothing. She wasn’t a pony, not anymore. She wasn’t a human, she would never become one of them. She wasn’t a child, she had long since lost that innocence. She wasn’t an adult, she had lost that as well.

She was nothing short of a monster. A grotesque caricature of a thing. What thing? She didn’t even know.

It was an almost automatic response. She saw the ladder, so she climbed it. At the top was a door, so she went through it. There was nowhere else to go, so she fell to the ground. It was fitting, really. A pretend house for the pretend thing.

As the minutes passed, all Sunset could do was try and control her breathing. Controlled breathing would lower her heart rate, which in turn would allow her to relax. She reminded herself of this, but it didn’t matter. Her breaths came rapid and shallow, all the same.

The sound of someone climbing the ladder, and Sunset backed herself into a corner. She wanted to be brave and defend herself, or be smart and sneak out a window. Instead, she closed her eyes and covered her head with her arms.

The door creaked open, and Sunset squeezed her eyes tighter, terrified of what could be in front of her.

“Uh, are you Sunset Shimmer?” a small voice asked.

“No,” Sunset said, hoping that would be enough.

The footsteps against the wood suggested it wouldn’t. “Are you sure about that? ‘Cause ya look a lot like the girl they’re looking for.”

“I’m sure.” If they were looking for her, then Sunset was the last thing she wanted to be.

“Well then, I’m Applejack. What’s your name?”

Sunset peeked through her arms. Applejack was right around Sunset’s age, and there was no doubt whose kid she was. She had her mom’s orange skin, with golden blonde hair that she wore tied back. She was kneeling in front of Sunset, closer than she would have liked.

Seeing the other girl made her feel a bit better about the situation, so she put her arms down. “Sunset Shimmer,” she said with a sigh.

Applejack smiled and crawled on all fours to take a seat next to her. “I knew it! That wasn’t very honest of ya, to lie like that.”

There were worse things to lie about. “I’m not a very honest person.”

“Well, why not?” Applejack asked innocently. “Don’tcha think it’s easier to just tell the truth?”

“Sometimes…” Sunset shook her head and wiped her eyes. “Sometimes there’s things that… that other people just won’t understand.”

“Well, sure,” Applejack said with a shrug. “But nobody will ever understand if you don’t at least try explainin’ yourself.”

“There’s things that you don’t want anyone to know, things that they would think are bad.” Sunset leaned her head back against the wall. “And sometimes… maybe they’re right. Maybe you would be better off without certain things. If you lie about it for long enough and no one ever knows, it’s kinda like a new truth.”

Applejack just stared blankly. “Uh…”

Why was she bothering? Sunset wasn’t even sure she herself knew what she was talking about, there was no way a little kid had any chance of getting it. “Forget it.”

Applejack frowned and looked ahead. “Okay…” She looked around for a moment before turning back to Sunset with a smile. “Ya know, Chestnut really is a nice horse. He’d never hurt nobody.”

Sunset’s head snapped towards Applejack. “They said he was a pony.”

“Well, he is. Lots of people think horses and ponies are different, but ponies are really jus’ small horses.”

“That’s not true!” Sunset insisted.

Applejack didn’t seem to mind her tone, as she just shrugged with a casual grin. “ ‘Fraid it is.”

Sunset wanted to argue, wanted to make her understand that ponies were different, that she was different. She tried, but the words wouldn’t come. She was just too exhausted.

“Whatever,” she said after a while. “I don’t want to talk about ponies, or horses, or anything like that. I hate them.”

“Alright then. So what do you like?”

Sunset wrapped her arms around her knees and pulled herself into a tight ball. “Nothing.”



Applejack contemplated that for a moment. “Are you lyin’ again?”


“You sure ‘bout that?”


“Well…” Applejack tapped her chin thoughtfully. “I like playing with my friends, and trying new things, and my treehouse, and my family, and playing with the pon– uh, chickens. Do you think you like any of those things?”

“Not really.”

“Come on.” Applejack nudged Sunset, so she glared at her. Applejack seemed indifferent. “Ya gotta like something, at least a little bit.”

“I hate my parents, I don’t have any friends, I’m sick of new things, I’ve never even seen a chicken, and… I guess your treehouse is okay.”

“Oh.” Applejack seemed at a loss for what to say. Sunset supposed it was a lot to lay on a five-year-old, but she also didn’t care.

Neither of them spoke, but Applejack never left. In a way, Sunset resented Applejack’s continued presence. She never liked kids at the best of times, and she certainly wasn’t in the mood to deal with them. But if Applejack wasn’t around, she’d be all alone.

“So how…” Sunset stopped short. Her voice sounded harsh, even to her own ears. But Applejack didn’t notice, or maybe she just didn’t care. She just turned to Sunset expectantly, ready to talk if Sunset was, but also remaining silent in case she wasn’t. Sunset looked away and softened her voice. “How’d you know where to find me, anyway?”

“I didn’t, I just thought I’d get a better view from up here.”

“Huh. That actually makes a lot of sense.”

Applejack smiled proudly, but soon returned to a serious expression. “You, uh, you know they’re lookin’ for ya, right?”

“I don’t care,” Sunset mumbled, telling herself as much as Applejack. “I’m not going back.”

Applejack frowned. “I bet they’re real worried about ya.”

Sunset laughed, which made her feel hollow. “No, they’re not. They want to find me because they’re responsible for me. They care about their jobs, which they could lose if they don’t find me.”

“Well, I’m sure someone would miss you.”

“Who?” Sunset asked, grinning. “I already said I don’t have any friends, and I might as well not have any family. No one would bucking miss me.” Applejack stifled her laughter well, but her amusement was obvious. “What?”

“Oh, uh…”

“What the buck is the problem?”

Although she still tried to hide it, a snicker came out. “Well, it’s just… I never heard anyone say it that way.”

“Say what?”


Sunset frowned. “Well, what do people usually say?”

Applejack looked around as if someone might be listening in secretly, then dropped her voice to barely above a whisper. “Fuck.”

“Fuck?” Sunset asked, not bothering to lower her voice.

“Uh huh.”

Sunset balled up her hands and squeezed her eyes tight. How many times had no one bothered to correct her on the proper use of human swears? Suddenly, her eyes shot open and she started laughing. It was too ridiculous not to. “I can’t even fucking swear right!”

“Well, uh, my dad says ‘fudge’ sometimes, too,” Applejack offered, which only made Sunset laugh more. Applejack laughed along nervously as well, although she clearly didn’t understand what was so funny.

“I’m pathetic,” Sunset said, abruptly putting an end to their laughter. She stared sadly at her hand, the first thing that had indicated to her that she was no longer a pony. “I used to be important, Applejack… I used to… I had someone I cared about, and I thought she cared about me to, but then… then she…”

Her words trailed into tears. Sunset never cried around others, but she couldn’t help it. Everything was building inside her so much that she couldn’t keep it all together anymore.

Applejack placed a hand on her shoulder. Sunset reached for it to brush it aside, but then just left her hand on Applejack’s. The other girl’s hand felt warm, and Sunset was forced to remember how much softer hands were compared with hooves.

Sunset pulled her hand back without pushing Applejack’s aside, and used it to wipe the tears from her eyes. Applejack also pulled her hand away, and Sunset found she actually wished she hadn’t. Not for long though; a moment later Applejack scooted closer to her and wrapped both arms around her.

At first, Sunset just sat rigid, not entirely sure what to do. No one had ever tried to hug her since she went through the portal, and honestly? She couldn’t remember the last time someone had tried while she was in Equestria, either. Slowly, Sunset moved one arm around Applejack as well.

“I don’t think you’re pathetic,” Applejack said.

It was stupid. They had only known each other for half an hour, maybe. At no point had Sunset said anything that didn’t sound pathetic, she definitely didn’t say anything that sounded impressive. What the hell did Applejack know? She was just a silly girl, who was trying to fix something when she had no idea what was even broken.

A silly girl who, for a moment, made Sunset feel like she wasn’t alone.

Sunset put her other arm around Applejack as well, leaned her head against her shoulder, and cried some more.

When Sunset was ready to go, Applejack took her by the hand. She would have resented it on any other day, but when they reached the bottom of the ladder, it was Sunset who reached for Applejack’s hand.

They didn’t speak as they walked, and Sunset trailed a few steps behind. The entire time, she alternated between looking at the ground and at their hands cupped together. After everything that happened, her mind had finally run out of thoughts, and the only things she could focus on were her footsteps and the warmth of having another hand in hers.

Crystal Clear saw them first, and he shouted for the others. Apple Spice heard him and called out as well, his voice carrying farther. Soon Orange Blossom and Violet Dusk joined in to confirm that they had heard, as well as a crowd of people Sunset didn’t know. Everyone gathered around her and Applejack, all asking questions, all speaking at once. Sunset stepped closer to Applejack and held her hand tighter.

“Watch out, everyone step aside.” As always, Violet Dusk’s voice was direct and slightly forceful. She ignored her own command and approached Sunset and Applejack while everyone else backed off somewhat. She kneeled down in front of Sunset. “Sunset, look at me.” She did as she was asked. “Are you hurt?”

Unable to speak, Sunset just shook her head.

“I’m glad to hear it. In that case, it’s time for us to go.” She stood up and addressed the crowd. “Thank you all very much for helping. It’s good to know that the neighborhood can come together in times of need. But as much as I would love to stay and thank everyone individually, somebody had a very busy day and I think it’s time we get her home.”

There were some murmurs from the crowd, people who thought that perhaps they were owed more of an explanation about where Sunset had gone. Violet Dusk ignored them. “Let’s go, Sunset.”

Applejack flashed her a smile as they let go of each other’s hands. Sunset couldn’t return it, so she just looked at the ground as she followed Violet back to her car.

Once again, she climbed into the seat behind Crystal Clear and pulled on her seatbelt. Although neither of them had asked anything beyond Violet’s immediate concerns, Sunset understood that they were going to talk about it, they just weren’t going to make her do it in front of strangers.

She looked out the window as the engine started. Most of the group was still watching them, but she wasn’t concerned about that. She was watching one little girl, who ran closer and waved as they backed out of the driveway.

Sunset placed her hand against the window. It felt cold against her palm.

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