• Published 30th Dec 2016
  • 14,084 Views, 227 Comments

Homecoming - Rose Quill

Sunset Shimmer recieves devastating news from her previous world of Equestria. Twilight Sparkle of the human world accompanies her on her journey back home to help support her in her time of need.

  • ...

Chapter Twelve - Picnic Interlude

I woke up in the late morning to the sound of a cry of surprise and a crashing sound. I bolted out of bed with a shield enchantment instantly flaring up, babbling sleepily.

A second later the door to my room opened with a lavender aura as Twilight walked in, a sheepish look on her face. Behind her, rubbing the end of her nose, was Sunshine, her cheeks bright red in embarrassment. She was just placing her glasses back on her nose as she walked in.

"Morning, Sunset," Twilight said. "How did you sleep?"

I blinked some of the sleep from my eyes and tried to shake some of the fog from my mind. "What just happened?"

Sunshine ducked her head, the bangs of her mane hiding her eyes as her face flushed again as Twilight giggled.

"My newest pupil just tried to teleport," she said, smiling and draping a wing over her alternate dimension counterpart. "She does need a teeny bit of work on her trajectory and landings."

I blinked for a few moments, my mind still trying to process what the Alicorn had said.

"She tried to teleport into my room?" I asked.

"No!" Sunshine cried suddenly. "I wouldn't..."

A wingtip curled around and covered her mouth. "She was trying to teleport across the library and overshot a bit," Twilight said with a nervous giggle. "Nothing to be concerned over."

The fog lifted from my mind and I looked at the dark coated Unicorn. "Can you give us a moment, please?" I asked.

Sunshine blinked for a moment, then backed out of the room slowly. I eased the doors closed and surreptitiously put a silence spell on the door. Twilight frowned. "What's the matter?"

I locked eyes with my friend. "You and I both know that teleportation end points can be influenced by a lack of focus," I said. "If she wound up outside my door instead of the end of the library, then something made her think of me." I narrowed my eyes. "You know something."

"No I don't," she said, waving a hoof in dismissal quickly.

I smiled a predatory grin. "I have spent the last year with somepony that acts exactly like you, Twilight," I purred. "I may be a better pony than when we met, but I didn't lose the practice in reading somepony's reactions. You're also a rather poor liar."

She blushed, sitting and fidgeting with her hooves.

I smiled. "So, what happened to make her exit point different than her intended one?"

She kept fidgeting. "We talked last night and something slipped out when she was answering a question." She ducked her head and glanced at me sideways. "She made me promise I wouldn't tell anypony, though."

I frowned for a moment but filed it away for later. "Alright," I sighed. "Just, if you try to work with her on teleportation again, could you stress the importance of focus? We don't need her winding up halfway through a door or wall."

Twilight shuddered for a moment at the thought.

I dropped the silence spell and opened the door, seeing a nervously pacing Sunshine.

"It's ok, Sunshine," I said. "You can come back in now."

The Unicorn walked in, head low and tail tucked between her legs slightly. She glanced at Twilight with a worried look.

"About what I said," she started, her voice starting to speed up as her worry grew. "I was just rambling, it didn't mean anything, really. I didn't realize what I had said until it was out in the open and I thought Twilight said that..."

I rolled my eyes and reached out, booping her on the nose. She scrunched up her face, her worried rant cutting off mid sentence. "What..."

"She didn't tell me anything," I said. "She kept your secret. I was just worried about you not landing where you should have." I gave her a warm smile. "We've got to a busy day today, so why don't we get ready for it?"

She rubbed the back of her head, her cheeks coloring again. "Ok."

One bath and a couple of hours later, Sunshine and I trotted into the foyer of the castle, both of us bearing a pack with parts of lunches in them. Sunshine still looked nervous, but it was a nervousness brought on by excitement. We were due to meet Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie, and Fluttershy on the outskirts of Sweet Apple Acres for a lunch with everyone’s pet. I glanced around, getting my bearings.

"So, Applejack has an orchard here just like back home?" Sunshine asked, looking back and forth as we passed from the main bulk of Ponyville.

Home. The word plucked a little bit at my heart. Home was now a bit ambiguous, especially now that I had a place of welcome in Equestria again.

Where did I belong, then?


I blinked and realized that we were entering the outskirts of Sweet Apple Acres. I had a few tears on my cheeks.

"I'm sorry," I said. "I just got lost in thought for a moment. It looks like we're just about there."

“This is so beautiful,” she said, gazing around the outermost orchards of the Apple family land. “Not even AJ’s farm on the other side is this green and vibrant.”

“Part of Earth pony magic,” I looked around, looking for the turnoff to the field Applejack had specified. "Earth ponies have a magic that connects them to the land, making them stronger and the crops they grow more hardy and resilient. It also helps them with stamina and energy. I'm sure you've noticed how Pinkie never seems tired."

"I thought that was just Pinkie being Pinkie," she murmured.

"Well, there is that," I agreed. "She does seem to exceed every expectation of normalcy." I glanced up at the trees starting to shade the path. "Looks like these trees are starting to get close to picking."

"How do you know?" She looked up as well. "They don't look like they're very big."

I smiled. "Our Applejack gave me a job on her farm just before you transferred," I told her. "You learn pretty quick what apples are ready for harvesting and which ones aren't."

“But how does she harvest all these apples?" she asked, cocking her head to the side. "I don't see any ladders or anything like that."

“It’s called apple bucking, sugar cube,” came the warm drawl from just ahead. Applejack stepped out from around a tree, leaning against it and adjusting her ever-present hat. “I can show you later if you have a hankering for it.” She slammed one of her back hooves onto the tree she was leaning against and a single apple fell, landing on her outstretched forehoof.

“Maybe later,” I said, trotting up. “We’re not running late, are we?”

“Nah, I just wanted to meet you here as sometimes the lower forty can be confusing, especially the first time out.” She turned and gestured for us to follow. “Right this way.”

She led us down a twisting path that opened up into a large clearing dotted with wildflowers. A large blanket was already spread out and so far Fluttershy and Pinkie were already chatting as they unpacked their treats. The pink pony bouncing in place in her excitement, a small alligator perched on her curly mane. Rainbow was giving a tortoise’s shell a buffing with a cloth while a dog ran up to Applejack and started darting around the three of us.

“Settle down, Winona,” the farmer said with a smile. “We’re all here now so go sit down.”

The collie gave a bark and dashed back to the picnic blanket, sitting obediently off to one side. I trotted up and levitated my pack off and brought out my contribution to the picnic, some berry cobblers made earlier in the morning. Twilight produced a sealed pitcher of tea and some clay cups.

“Oh, dear,” Fluttershy whispered, seeing the cups. “I didn’t know you were bringing tea too, Sunshine.” She glanced down at the container she had just pulled from her bag to set next to a basket of daisies.

“Don’t worry about it, Fluttershy,” the mare replied. “You can never have too much tea.”

“So, I hear you two might be sticking around for another couple of days,” Rainbow Dash said, dropping down and snatching up a sandwich. “You have any awesome plans?” she asked with a leading tone to her voice.

“I have to help settle the disposition of my mother's house, but the appraiser can't make it till the end of the week.” I speared her with a look. "I have a feeling you have a suggestion for plans?" I deadpanned.

“Only one of the most awesome shows on this side of Canterlot!” She started drifting up as her wings flapped in her excitement. “The Wonderbolts are doing a charity event in Ponyville the day after tomorrow!”

“Did you find out if you were going to be in the show too, Rainbow?” asked Fluttershy.

“Nah, just the main roster. Us Reservists are going to be handling the donations and making sure everything gets set up.” She dropped back to the ground, training her gaze on myself and Sunshine. “You two should totally stop by.”

“I don’t know,” Sunshine said with a straight face. “I mean, catching an event in the same town that we’re staying in seems like it might be a tough task.”

Rainbow blinked before cracking a smile. “Great!”

I took a bite out of a cucumber sandwich, chewing quickly. “So, what else can we do while in the interim? I’m a bit out of touch with the local entertainment scene.”

“Well, RaRa is performing for the Wonderbolt show, so that’s a bonus,” Applejack said. “Anything new on that, Pinkie?”

“Nope! Everything is set up and all she asked for was some of your apples in the dressing room.” The party pony shook her mane and sighed in contentment, the alligator seeming to hang onto her mane without any effort on her part. “So much easier without that nasty-pants manager.”

I sensed a story but decided to cut to the chase. “RaRa?”

“The Countess Coloratura,” Pinkie said, rearing up and striking a regal pose. “She’s a mega-popular singer that Applejack went to summer camp with when they were fillies and she came to do a concert to support the school and reconnected with AJ and she’s totally awesome and totally tough to get scheduled.”

I frowned, mentally adding commas and separating the sentences. Pinkie always tended to speak in run-ons when excited. I saw Sunshine tilt her head and chew on her lip thoughtfully out of the corner of my eye.

“Bit for your thoughts?” I whispered to her as Rainbow Dash asked Pinkie a question about the concert.

“I was thinking it might be nice to see a concert here,” she said shyly. “But I don't have any of this world's currency.”

“I brought a few bits with me,” I said, give her a steady look. “I think it's enough to cover a couple of tickets.”

She glanced down briefly, a flush coming up her face. "You shouldn't have to spend your money on me," she said. "But I do want to go. This is a once in a lifetime event and who knows if there will be another chance." Something in her tone made me wonder if she was referring to the show or not.

"Sunshine," Rainbow spoke up. "Quit worrying. I get a few tickets for free as a Reservist. I can put them in your names at the admissions stand."

"Oh, thank you, Rainbow!" she cried. "Thanks so nice of you."

I smiled. For a moment, I could almost see the human Dash superimposed over the hovering Pegasi. Then I realized that Sunshine had been talking still, questions boiling out of her faster than any of the other assembled ponies could answer.

"Sunshine," I said.

"Yeah?" She turned to face me.

I booped her nose again.

"Let's enjoy the picnic first, huh?"

She blushed. "Sorry," she squeaked. Then she smiled slyly.

"Maybe you'd like to take me there as a date?" she purred.

I froze for a moment, my heart pounding. "What?" I stammered.

"Why not make it a date?"

I felt my jaw hanging open, completely surprised. It didn't help when Sunshine burst out giggling, joined in soon by the rest of the girls.

"Oh, the look on your face," Dash giggled. "That was pretty good, Sunshine!"

AJ shook her head. "A little mean spirited if you ask me," she said, frowning.

"A prank?" I murmured. "You just...pulled a prank?"

The dark blue Unicorn turned a smirk on me.

"Since when were you snarky?" I asked with a smile.

“You are a bad influence on me,” she replied, turning towards Pinkie as the pony offered out a plate of cupcakes. Two of them levitated out in her azure aura.

I laughed, taking the proffered cupcake.