• Published 23rd Dec 2016
  • 9,676 Views, 393 Comments

Friendship Is Monsters - spotty8ee



Twilight is a human in a world of monsters, although she's never met one. So when she finds a vampire dying on her front lawn one day, she's not sure what she's found. A new friend? Or her demise...

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Not Proud

Author's Note:

I've decided that I'm gonna try and write some more of this. I'm not sure where it will go, but it should be a fun ride.

Super Special thanks to my betas Blazeblast4 & Ladrian ! You rock and I would not have this up with out you!

The car rumbled softly over the black pavement, the soft noise reverberating in the cool interior of the car. The tinted windows blocked sunlight from entering and it was a comfortably cool temperature. Sunset nuzzled closer to the body beside her, an arm draped over her shoulder as Carrion drove through Everfree Estates.

Sunset paused to glare out the windows at the passing houses, each looking the same as the next. If she could help it, she would never come here again. The last twelve hours had been a living nightmare. She had almost died, then she had almost killed someone else…

The images of coming to with Twilight’s mangled body in her arms made her quiver in guilt. She never wanted to hurt anyone like that ever again, and while she had thankfully managed to heal the damage she had caused, Sunset could still see how pale Twilight was, even as she had stepped out of the car.

Sunset tilted her head when her mother ran a hand through her hair. "Tired my dear?"

"A little... I couldn't sleep after I almost-" Sunset shivered again. "Almost killed her, y’know?"
She looked up into her mother's golden eyes, "I'm still feeling a little guilty, even if Twilight forgave me."

"When I was your age, Sunset, I fed without remorse," Celestia spoke, stroking Sunset's hair again. "We didn't see humans as people, but as cattle. In a way, you are a far better person for feeling this; it shows you care for others, and I respect that." She shifted a bit in her seat, "There are some things I'm not proud of in my past. However I have found that the best way to ease guilt is to learn from your experiences and try to be better for them."

"That starts by never coming back here again," Sunset agreed.

"They’re quite pretentious little animals, are they not?" Luna grumbled as she stared out the window angrily. "Thinking that pigs living amongst pigs will make this place any less of a pigsty."

"Luna," Celestia warned before turning to Sunset. "While I agree that harming you was wrong, coming here was not the wisest thing, Sunset. Humans who fear monsters tend to live in groups. They section themselves off to create a 'safe space' for themselves and their families. By coming here you essentially invaded a place where they felt they were protected and made them scared. Scared for themselves and their loved ones... these fears are not unfounded either. As sad as it may be though, fear and hate go hand in hand, so they felt the need to defend themselves."

"I don't understand why they'd be so vicious about it," Sunset grumbled. "Trying to get me out is one thing, but they had bats and knives and things."

She felt her mother bristle slightly, but the woman continued softly, "Well, what would a monster be doing in this place, if they knew they were not welcome? Would most humans here think that such trespassing was just a joke, or a dare?"

Sunset sat for a moment before sighing. "No. A monster would likely sneak in here to hurt people or to steal something. I mean besides a grocery store there's nothing but houses here."

"Yes, but there may be more sinister reasons... Long before you were born, Sunset, there was a similar gated community that was completely obliterated. By monsters. They hated the fact that humans could deny them, they hated that humans had the power to keep them out, so they decided to go in." Celestia grunted a bit. "There were few survivors..."

Sunset looked up to her in surprise. "Really? How- how big was the place?"

"There were about a thousand people in there. Only fifteen made it out. Of course most of the perpetrators were caught and convicted, but scars run deep Sunset. Human fear runs deep...
When they realised you were in the community, they went on full alert, in case there was any more of us that had snuck in and were waiting till nightfall to attack. The police were out in full force. The only way we got in to look for you was by hypnotizing the guards. Speaking of, I'll need to do it again when we leave..."

Sunset lay against her mother quietly, mind reeling. "I really scared them that bad?"

"I'm afraid so, Sunset. However I shudder to think what may have happened if Twilight hadn't been there... It was very lucky that she found you before anyone else."

Sunset leaned into the woman's arm. What had seemed like a harmless prank had actually caused so much trouble... It was hard to remember what it was like to be human before, even if it had only been a few years ago. To be fair,she had never really lived like a normal human. Being raised by her adoptive mother since she was three had her used to the darkness of the house and the two fridges in the kitchen, one for food and one for blood. Heck, she was used to staying up late at night and going to school in the afternoon. She never knew anything else.

She wasn’t raised in an environment with an ever-present underlying fear, where she might be seen as a toy or a snack and could possibly be stolen away in a matter of moments.

"Yeah. I guess everything worked out the best it could, considering..."

Celestia hugged Sunset around the shoulders gently and pulled her back to her side, allowing the rumbling of the car to lull her into a light doze.
__________________

Frankly Sunset had never been happier to see the large, old chateau she called home. The building had been Celestia's for the last thousand years and was in great shape. It was well protected by a tall stone wall and gated entryway.

Carrion parked in the drive house before opening the car door for them, standing back as the women took the covered walkway to the side door. Once in, Sunset sighed, breathing in the smell of the kitchen's still smouldering hearth and old wood.

It smelled like home.

"Thank you Carrion. Please take some time to rest. We are already set for dinner," Celestia said, nodding slightly the short man.

"Very good, milady," the butler said, bowing before taking off to his room nearby.

"Now then, we have only a few hours before they get here. It's best if you get cleaned up before they arrive," Celestia said, stroking Sunset's head. "We'll talk more about your punishment later."

Sunset grimaced a bit, but nodded. "Yeah, ok mom." She smiled when Celestia kissed the top of her head. "Is it gonna be formal or-"

"I didn't state it when I called everyone over, but I'd do semi-formal, to be on the safe side," Celestia said. "Our guests might come in more regal attire because I called them before you were found. Originally I just wanted to talk about the possible fallout that might have occurred had any humans, or you yourself, been hurt. While that still needs to happen, this will be a good time for us to tell them you're alright, and to apologize," Celestia frowned slightly.

"Alright, I'll hurry and come back to help you set the tab- AHHHHH!!!"

Sunset had opened the door only to be suddenly hit with the light coming in from the windows. She choked slightly as she felt her body burn and shrivel in the sun, before being yanked back into darkness.

"Dammit! I forgot those were open!" Luna shouted from somewhere outside the shadows. "Carrion! Carrion! Where is that-"

"Luna," Celestia voice was stern and it reverberated in Sunset's ear. Shakily the girl opened her eyes and could see she was she was hugged tightly to her mother, the matriarch's cloak unfurled around her making a small, safe, dark place. "We have had those open for years. Sunset's lotion has been washed off." Sunset shivered as her mother turned to look at another person. "Carrion, there you are. I'm sorry to have to ask you this after I just dismissed you, but could you close up all the curtains in the house for the time being?"

"Of course ma'm."

Hands softly threaded through Sunset's hair again. She could already feel her strength returning as she healed from the burns. She turned into the comforting hands that held her. There was more shifting before the top of the cloak opened enough for Celestia to peer inside.

"Sunset, are you alright?" She asked in concern.

"Yeah..." Sunset looked up wearily. "Just tired of being a raisin ninety percent of the time."

Celestia frowned, but put her arm over Sunset's shoulders and lead her across the room, still covered by her mother's cape. Celestia slipped one of her hands out and Sunset heard the fridge door open before the hand returned with a package akin to a juice pouch. "You may need to drink some more blood. We're not sure how much you took from Twilight, but it can't hurt for you to get some more."

Sunset accepted the drink, finding the attached straw and poking it into the bag. As she took the first few sips she stalled, pulling back to look the pouch over in confusion.

"Is something wrong?" Celestia asked.

"Nothing, it just tastes strange..." Sunset squinted at the expiration date before shrugging, finding it still good. She took a few more tentative sips, confusion washing over her. Why was it tasting... off? As she drank Sunset thought, before she nearly spat out her drink when realization dawned on her.

"Sunset-?"

"N-nothing! Wrong - wrong hole" The girl coughed and pounded her chest.

Sunset leaned into her mother and caught her breath before taking the straw back into her mouth without complaint. Her mother seemed to question this for a moment before she looked back up at some approaching footsteps.

"Miady, all the windows have been covered, as per your request."

"Thank you Carrion. You are dismissed."

The dissipating scuttling signaled Carrion’s leave and Sunset went about finishing the bag. Only when she was done did Celestia open her cape. As Sunset blinked and let her eyes readjust she could hear her mother chortle softly behind her hand.

"What?" Sunset asked.

Celestia shook her head. "No, it’s nothing... just..." She gestured vaguely above her head. Sunset frowned and put a hand to her own, blushing when she found her hair frizzed up from the static of the cape. Celestia revealed a bit more of her smile as her daughter patted her hair back down. "Now you should go and get ready, your path should be clear. However, do try to get some more sun lotion on."

"Yes mom," Sunset agreed, stepping out into the now darkened hall. Past the old furniture and portraits that lined the living space walls and up the stairs, Sunset arrived at her bedroom. It was large and spacious, with one stone wall that faced the front yard and three wooden ones that were painted a soft teal, dividing up the inner rooms of the house. On her walls were posters of a few bands she enjoyed, and some pictures of her friends and family. Walking in, she moved a few random articles of clothing from the ground and threw them in her hamper. She recalled being in a rush to meet Rainbow and Applejack yesterday, so she hadn't cleaned up after herself. Going to her dresser Sunset yelped, and jumped back a bit when her hand sizzled. Waving it around, she quickly realised there was still some sun coming in through a crack in the curtains on the other side of the room. Once she maneuvered around the beam she started looking for clothes.

Hemming and hawing over a few articles, including some dresses from the closet nearby, she finally settled on a purple dress shirt with billowing sleeves and black jeans, all of which were provided by her friend Rarity. Laying them out on the bed, Sunset yawned before she pulled off her jacket and her shirt, shifting out of the fabric. She paused at a strange sound, one akin to sand running in an hourglass. Sunset wrestled out of her shirt, looking down in time to see a large line of dust, slipping from her shirt and down to the floor.

Ah yes. She had been sulfracating yesterday. So that means there’s a lot of ash hidden in the crevices of her clothes… Sunset shook the shirt out on the floor, quickly changing clothes before she took up her jeans to shake them as well.

A small pile of ash, sizeable enough to be noticed if one were to look for it, sat in the corner of the room at her feet. Sunset uneasily eyed it, uncomfortable to essentially be looking at what was burned up pieces of her flesh. She swiftly fished out the sunscreen from her side table.

Best to not make a repeat performance.

All this skin broiling was making her wonder if she should finally take her mother up on her offer... Sunset still hadn't moved into the basement catacombs where her mother and Aunt Luna held residence, despite her mother asking if she wanted to shortly after Sunset had turned. It was a little too dark down there for her taste, and while it had become a comfort for her family over the many years they'd been alive, Sunset wasn't jumping at the chance to join them.

Only given the recent turn of events she may want to rethink that.

Then again, sunlight wouldn't be the only thing she'd have to give up. She’d also have to give up her beautiful, antique, queen sized, canopy bed with large white drapes set against the side wall of her room. If she were to move into the basement she'd need to start sleeping in a coffin too, as the rooms were specially made for one and a bed wouldn't fit. Sure she had tried her mother's for a few minutes, but it was a little... claustrophobic.

After checking her appearance in the mirror she smiled and fell back on her bed, nestling into the soft blankets. Sunset hadn't really intended on it, but the moment she lay down she was out. After what felt like a few seconds Sunset was roused by a knocking at her door. She sat up, getting the sand out of her eyes and wiping a small line of drool off her chin, before she looked to the clock on her bedside table.

Holey crow, she had been asleep for two hours?!

Standing up she noted the knocking had become more frantic. Sunset dusted off her shirt, praying it hadn't wrinkled, as she went to answer it. "Coming! Sorry, I kinda fell asleep so-"

Nothing else got past Sunset's lips before she was tackled to the ground. Taken by surprise, she hadn't had the time to activate her powers for anything useful, like super strength. However when her attackers pulled back, Sunset found there wasn't really a need.

"SUNSET!" Rainbow shouted, looking extremely relieved. "Oh my gosh, we were so worried about you!"

"Cheese and crackers girl, we was up to our armpits in worry!" Applejack agreed.

"Good to see you too," Sunset smirked before sitting up so they could all have a group hug. The way her friends tightly gripped her back spoke volumes…

"What happened back there?!" Rainbow asked, helping to pull Sunset back to her feet. "Last thing you said was-" Rainbow stood back, mocking a confident pose Sunset would subconsciously take sometimes, hand on her hip and a knowing look on her face. "Relax guys, this is gonna be a cakewalk for me, I'll be back before you know it." Rainbow turned back to her, arms crossed and a pout on her face. "We waited about an hour before we got really nervous-"

"Then about one more before we got scared enough ta call our folks." Applejack spoke, looking more concerned than the expression Rainbow was sporting.

Sunset sunk her head down a bit, a little sheepish. "Yeah, about that, sorry, but when I was in there the yard sprinklers turned on and my sunscreen washed off so..." She noted the alarmed look on her friend's faces. "Yeah, Sunset, extra crispy."

"Are ya alright?" Applejack asked, eyes darting up and down Sunset's form worriedly.

"Yeah, I got lucky, but I dropped the flag and lost my bag in th-"

"You got the flag!" Rainbow said suddenly, cutting her friend off. "Like the one from the dare, right?"

"Rainbow!" Applejack frowned.

"Well, yeah! Not like it matters now but..."

Rainbow edged closer, looking excited. "You still got it, right?" When Sunset nodded Rainbow Dash whooped, jumping into the air for a moment, her wings flapping wildly. "Yes! You did it! In those jerks’ faces!"

Applejack groaned, facepalming as Sunset let out a chuckle at her friend's antics.

"Yeah, but to be fair they're not all jerks in there," Sunset explained. "Like I said, I got lucky and was saved by one of the residents. Most of them would have left me to fizzle, but I found what was likely the only human in there who would harbor me."

" You can't just leave it like that! You gotta tell us, from the beginning!" Rainbow shouted, swooping to Sunset's bed eagerly and bouncing in her seat. Sunset looked to Applejack, who tilted her hat with a smile before they joined her.

So Sunset weaved her tale of woe at Everfree Estates, about getting the flag, then being chased through town, the sprinklers and the almost dying…

"Ah geeze!" Rainbow interrupted. "I didn't know it would get so bad in there for you. I actually wanted to go in there after you before we called our folks, but I don't really blend in as well as you." Rainbow gestured down to her wings and taloned feet, feathers the same colour as her skin ending at her elbows and dotting the exposed nape of her neck,

"Ya sure don't, Harpy girl," Applejack smirked before putting her hands up in surrender at Rainbow’s displeased glare. However the mood turned somber again as Applejack looked back to Sunset. "We're real sorry about daring y'all to go in there, Sunset."

"Yeah, I didn't know you'd be in so much danger or I wouldn't have said it." Rainbow frowned.

"You guys seem to forget that a dare works both ways. I could have said no," Sunset sighed, putting a hand to her chest. "The blame is partially on me too."

They were all quiet for a moment before Applejack spoke. "So, what happened after you... uh-"

"-Became a barbque roadhouse special?" Sunset deadpanned before smirking. "Well-"
Next came the introduction of Twilight, dragging her into her home and to a safe space in the basement. How Twilight had tried to help her but was foiled by Sunset passing out, with Twilight eventually having to give Sunset some of her own blood to survive.

"-Then my mom basically came to pick me up after she figured out Twilight's address with the puppeting technique I told you about- uh," Sunset blinked. "Are you guys... ok?"

Both her friends were gaping at her, eyes wide in disbelief. Applejack was the first to find function again before she spluttered. "Y-you drank fresh human blood?"

"Uh, yeah. Not too proud of how I went about it but..." Sunset rubbed the back of her head, gauging her friends’ reactions.

They both looked to each other, eyes wide and sporting uncertain and uncomfortable looks. They seemed to share some kind of conversation, as Rainbow withered when Applejack nodded to her, seemingly volunteering the rainbow-coloured harpy to act.

"Ummm," Rainbow looked down to the bedsheets, picking off a bit of lint and rolling it in her fingers, before she spoke quietly. "Hatiditaslik..."

Sunset was pretty sure she hadn't even heard Fluttershy speak so softly. "Uh, excuse me?" The vampire asked, a brow raised.

Rainbow rocked on her knees, chewing on her inner cheek before groaning loudly, looking back up to Sunset's eyes.

"What did it taste like?"

Sunset was thrown by the question, looking to Applejack to find the farmer looking embarrassed but intrigued as well. "What?!"

"We're... we're curious, sugar cube," Applejack nodded, catching Rainbow's gaze before looking back to Sunset. "Only one alive long enough to have ever had a taste of human blood was my great grand pappy. We hardly ever eat meat, but when he was alive he kept saying that... as horrible as it sounds, that human was the best." Applejack looked squirmish, ducking her head. "I know better than my Grand Pappy, I mean he was almost two thousand years old before he died, he was a product of his time. I wouldn't eat human meat myself, but I'm just curious what it... tastes like, I guess. If it really was all that."

"Me too, I mean my family is basically carnivorous, we hardly eat any plants... and I don't have any relatives older than a hundred and thirty, which is up there for my grandma too, but I have heard that humans taste... good. I just was curious." Rainbow nodded.

Sunset grimaced. She couldn't fathom eating a human like one would a cow. Consumption of flesh and the drinking of blood were two very different things. Sunset herself was a vegetarian, but blood was not like meat in her eyes. It was like a byproduct, akin to milk. If the host was still alive after the substance was taken and could live on as usual then it was a byproduct to her. However...

"Blood isn't like meat. It's all coppery, no matter who you get it from." Sunset said, trying to look uninterested.

"True, but as a vampire you have heightened senses, taste included," Applejack said, Rainbow nodding beside her.

Sunset flinched, mouth a thin line as she looked down at her bedspread.

Once again Rainbow and Applejack shared a look, but this time of concern. "Sunset?"

"I, ummmm, I don't wanna talk about it," Sunset mumbled, bringing her knees up to her chest. "I mean, there wasn't much of a difference I could notice at first, but when I got home I had another pack and..." Sunset set her forehead to her knees. "I knew."

"Knew what?" Applejack asked softly.

"That human blood is better than the old stuff we have," Sunset ground out, ashamed. "I actually thought the bag was bad at first, but when I realised... What if this is some kind of slippery slope or something? I don't want to hurt people, I don't want to hurt anyone but-" Sunset groaned loudly. "What if human blood really is so good I keep trying to get it? No matter the cost? I-"

"You are not like that." Rainbow said, eyes narrowed. "I know you, and you wouldn't stoop so low because of a craving."

"You never knew me before..." Sunset mumbled so quietly that neither heard.

"Well, what if it's not the fact that it’s 'human'?" Applejack suggested, catching Sunset's attention. "What if it's because it was fresh?"

"Yeah, you said you didn't notice a difference. Not to mention you said, word for word, 'that human blood is better than the OLD stuff we have,' " Rainbow shrugged. "Maybe all the stuff we hear is old world nostalgia? Maybe human meat tastes like chicken, but since it's illegal it's like a forbidden fruit, or whatever?"

Sunset tilted her head in thought, cheeks puffed a bit before sighing. "Maybe..."

"Look, if you should talk to anyone about this, it's your mom." Applejack said. "She's been alive for practically longer than anyone, or anything, else on this planet. If anyone would know about stuff like that, it's her." Applejack sat back on the bed and hummed. "I reckon she's seen practically everything at least once."

"Yeah, beside you don't have to talk about it if you don't want to. Kinda a morbid subject any way, and since we'll never taste anything like it, for good reason, why should we know about what we can't have?" Rainbow added.

"Thanks." Sunset smiled lightly.

"So long as you and this Twilight gal made it ok, I'd say thing went well." Applejack said.

"Course..." The cowgirl twitched at the memory. "Granny was not happy."

"My dad neither." Rainbow nodded with a scowl. "No sports, for a month. Not to mention I gotta help him at the race track for the next few weeks."

"Don't you like the track?" Applejack asked.

"To watch the cars race, yeah, not to clean litter. You know how much litter there is there? A LOT!" Rainbow groused.

"My mom is going to have me doing double the work too," Sunset sighed. "She said we'd talk details later."

"Well Granny practically tore my ear roots off." The girl pushed back the vines and leaves that work as her hair, dotted with yellow flowers, to show the slightly elongated, curled, green root that was her ear. "Dragged me home and made me scrub every floor and surface available. Then it was off to usual chores and whatever else she could think of."

"That sounds sucky." Sunset said.

"Oh it gets worse. I ain't allowed ta talk to the trees until Granny says." The girl almost literally wilted, leaves shriving and flowers curling. "She told them what happened and now they don't talk to me."

Rainbow looked uncertainly to Sunset, who shrugged a little. "Applejack, uh, I may not understand how that feels... or works, but I'm sorry you got into that much trouble over me." Sunset frowned.

"Oh she wasn't just mad about that. She heard about the incident at Filthy Rich's store and the bikes, and you being missing didn't help, or the fact that the humans there were fussin' and frettin'. She kept talking about how we may have severed the fragile balance of human-monster relations and how your mom was gonna be plenty upset with us," Applejack swallowed hard. "I ain't never seen granny so mad. She was more ticked than a lyme disease research facility."

"A what?" Rainbow asked and squinted slightly.

"She made some good points though," Applejack sighed. "We coulda really screwed the pooch on this misadventure."

"In more ways than one," Sunset said, wincing. There was a silence all around as the girls seemed to collectively agree in thought.

Never again.

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Dinner was a subdued affair.

Celestia watched everyone from her place at the head of the table, Sunset on one side, Luna the other. Their guests were stiff, and slightly sweaty…

No doubt nervous about what someone with Celestia's influence could do to them.

Only one other person, besides the matriarch, was their usual self at the very long and half empty table. Granny Smith glared at the three girls with a scowl, poking at her salad angrily. "I's got no idea how much brains you three have, but you'd think there be enough for a full one between ya!"

Applejack sunk in her chair, embarrassed. She was missing her stetson right now, which had been removed due to dinner table edicate. She started to play with her hair instead. Sunset looked embarrassed but disappointed in herself while Rainbow kept poking around at her food, a little angry but submissive to the elder before her.

"Granny," Big Mac began from his seat beside her. "I don't think-"

"That's the problem with all you kids! Ya don't think!" Granny shouted, waving a hand in her grandson's direction, making him slink back. "All you kids never wonder what your actions will do!"

"I think before I do stuff, Granny," Applebloom said loudly, looking out around Big Mac's form.

"Hush up, AppleBloom and eat your dinner. I'mma trying ta talk to the Darin' Do sisters." Granny frowned, looking back the three grumpily. "I hope you three are happy."

"No," Sunset said as the two other girls shook their heads.

"Honestly, scared me half ta death, that's not accountin' for Celestia and Rainbow's father!" Granny gestured to to Rainbow Blaze sitting opposite her at the table, who froze, pulling on his nice dress collar nervously.

"N-now don't you worry about us, haha- uh! I've already set Rainbow straight and handed out some punishment-" The harpy man was sweating buckets, looking to the head of the table he caught Celestia's gaze and jumped a bit, quickly looking to his silverware and inspecting it. "This will not be happening again, I assure you! I-"

"Oh calm down Blaze, Celestia ain't gonna do nothin. She and I go way back, least for me, I know she'd never ruin your life over a toddler fight like this," Granny said dismissively. "You're a good father, I don't doubt you got this covered, but a good verbal lashing will help drive this point home!"

Rainbow Blaze looked to Celestia again, whom watched him quietly with a empty expression before she smiled softly to him. Blaze sunk down into his own chair, relieved and dabbed at his forehead with a napkin.

"You three do realise how easily startled humans are, don't ya?!" Granny growled, hands on her hips. "They’re like rabbits! You even so much as growl near a crowd of them and they'd rather walk through midday traffic then look at cha'!"

"I know..." Applejack mumbled.

"You know?!" Granny's voice was blunt and Applejack winced, realising her mistake. "You know and you still did it?!"

"Well, it's just, those cops and-" Rainbow started, but winced herself when Granny looked to her.

"I heard all 'bout them. They talked to ya without respect and what you three do? Ya do just what they said and prove them right. You destroyed property by breakin' a bike stand and all the bikes on it," Granny frowned, pointing to Rainbow.

"Well the cop kinda-"

"You lie to a good family friend and an honest man, not ta mention a customer, cause his daughter still has some growin’ up ta do, like all children do," Granny snapped, looking to Applejack, who slunk in her chair even more, eyes visibly cringing over the table.

"You break and enter into a private, gated community, steal a flag-which is a not only stealing but flag desecration-and you almost cause civil unrest amongst the humans-" Granny finally turned to Sunset, who withered.

"-all so you could win a game of dare?!"

All three girls ducked their heads, ashamed.

Granny grunted, pulling her shirt straight and sitting up in her seat.

"Is there anymore dressin?"

All eyes turned to Applebloom, who froze with tongs in hand as she was midway through refilling her plate, a mess of dressing around her mouth. She looked back at everyone, shocked that she was the center of attention all of a sudden.

Granny groaned again and put a hand to her face.

"What? I'm eatin' dinner like ya'll told me to," AppleBloom pouted, looking at her grandmother in confusion. She looked to Celestia with smile. "It’s real good Lady Celestia!"

The matriarch smiled and inclined her head to the youth in thanks.

Applebloom smiled back before turning to her family. "So, about the dressin'," Big Mac rolled his eyes as he handed the bottle off to her.

"Right." Granny frowned before turning back to the older girls. "Now listen, I agree what those officer did was wrong. You girls don't deserve anything like that, y'all are good girls." Granny nodded. "But that doesn't mean you should act out. I hope you understand."

"Yes Granny Smith," Applejack said as Sunset and Rainbow nodded.

"Well good, I suppose I should pull out the pie then?" Granny said, pulling a basket from under the table.

"THERE'S PIE!" Applebloom shouted.

____________________________________________________________________________

Dinner finished and Sunset, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash were left cleaning up. As Sunset finished washing the last plate she handed it off to Rainbow, who was still behind on drying while Applejack put things away.

"Told you, no time flat if we did it together." Sunset smiled as the other two kept working.

"Right, just don't forget to wipe the table, Applebloom splattered food all over it." Applejack sighed, shaking her head.

"I don't blame her, pie was good," Rainbow laughed as she handed off another plate. Sunset rung the washcloth out and made her way to the dining room and quickly wiped down the table, even the areas where no one had sat…

It was good to get some brownie points.

However, when she got to the end of the table, she paused, looking up to the nearby door leading to the parlour, where the parents had retreated for tea and coffee.

"-ot a good thing, Celestia-no idea what they'll do."

Sunset stopped wiping and went closer to the door, listening in on the conversation.

"They know it was a vampire, and it's only your clan and a few others in the city. Only a matter 'ah time before they come a knockin'."

"I agree Granny. It won't be long, however they would need to prove that Sunset was the one in there before anything can be done. I do worry as she left her bag behind, but besides her phone there was nothing to indicate her identity." Celestia sighed and Sunset could make out the creaking of old furniture.

"Shouldn't we maybe just tell the police what happened?" Rainbow Blaze asked quietly. "They may just give them a slap on the wrist."

"They may, but given my vast history and some families that I don’t have the best past with, they may push for harsher punishment, perhaps even to just get to me. Or they may think that I am reverting to my old ways... I'm afraid there is too much at stake, even for your girls. They could be pulled in as accomplices."

"Humans worry about a lot of thing, They may not forgive too much but they usually forget. If we keep quiet and nothin' comes of this li’l stunt, they may think it was a prank or an accident and just up security," Granny said. "If this gets out, who knows what high standin' family or rich Shyster may try to take advantage of our misfortune. I know some people that have been trying to buy our farm, wanna make factory land out it. If they see this chance they may pull us into court however they can, take up our time so we can't work the land and eat up our money with lawyers, so we ain't got no choice but to sell," Granny sighed. "Course it’d be worse if we didn't even try. I don't know what would happen to Applejack if we left her to the system. They might give her community service or they may spin it so she's in jail for life. All this highfalutin string pullin’s given me a headache." Granny grunted and a chair squeaked. "And don't think they won't try and use this over you too Blaze. That track a' yours makes a lotta money, they might try and pull it out from under you with this."

Rainbow Blaze swallowed loudly.

"That being said we may be over analyzing this, but it's better to be safe than sorry," Celestia said.

"All this quarreling over such trivial nonsenses," Luna growled. "This why humans shouldn't be allowed to make decisions for themselves, they mess everything up for everyone, including themselves."

"Luna, how many times must I tell you? It is different now."

Sunset pulled back from the door, nearly screaming when she bumped into something. Turning, she found Rainbow and Applejack, both of whom looked worried.
_________________________________________________________________________

“Well thank ya kindly for havin’ us Lady Celestia,” Granny said as everyone stood outside, the dinner concluded and guests leaving for the night. “I do hope the next time we all see each other will be under better conditions.”

“As do I,” Celestia agreed, patting the elder root on her shoulder. “You all drive safe, and I will call you all later if anything new surfaces.” She placed an arm around Sunset. “For now though, let's say business as usual.

“Alrighty, good night everyone, come on Rainbow, we got an early morning tomorrow,” Blaze turned to his daughter, who pouted a bit. “That litter won’t pick itself up.”

“Yes dad,” Rainbow sighed as the two flew off into the sky. “Bye guys!”

There was a pop as Big Mac drove the family truck up from its parking spot by the garage. Applebloom was already asleep in the back, her face resting against the window as she snored softly. As her brother hopped out to assist Granny in getting into the passenger side, Applejack turned to Sunset. Celestia pulled her arm away as the two hugged.

“Ah geeze,” Applejack sighed. “Lets never play any dang ol’ dare games, unless they keep us in tha’ house,” Pulling back the girls chuckled.

“I can agree to that.” Sunset smiled, patting her friend's shoulder. Both girls jumped when Big Mac honked the horn. Looking back they could see the rest of the Apples piled in the old truck, Applebloom blinking groggily as the horn had awoken her.

“I best be goin’,” Applejack sighed. “We can talk more later.”

“See you.” Sunset watched as her friend climb into the back seat of the car, the vehicle slowly making its way down the long gravel driveway. Celestia and Sunset stood side by side, waving until the truck was gone.

“So you heard us in the parlour, did you?” Celestia spoke, eyes staring quietly up at the moon.

If Sunset was surprised at being found out she didn’t show it, she only looked down to the rocks about her feet. “Yes.” Sunset admitted, her voice unwavering. “I kind of expected that you’d know, but I wasn’t sure.”

“Small feet on my floors always creak. Something I’ve learned over the years.” Celestia said. “It’s best not to worry about that for now though, I suspect that Everfree Estates will be too embarrassed that their high-priced security was foiled so easily for them to get too vocal. They may get the police to investigate, but it's likely they’ll want to keep any gossip about their failings to a minimum. The Estates gets paid a lot by their residents to ensure their safety, something like this would be bad for business if they blew it up too big.”

“Then… What was with all that talk about taking advantage of the situation to hurt you or get Applejack’s farm?” Sunset asked, looking up at her matriarch.

“I never said the humans wanted to hurt me or take the Apple Farm,” Celestia said softly. “All they would do is most likely charge for trespassing… The only reason humans now wield so much power is because they have the ability to start a long and, quite frankly damaging war if they wanted.” Celestia shrugged. “They are, however, by no mean old money or powerful in the upper crust of society as a whole. Monsters are still a large majority of the population, at least sixty percent. We still hold the most wealth and the most power. Monsters would be the ones who would try to escalate it, if they knew they could benefit from it.”

Sunset looked down again, thinking. “I know you said you had some less-than-great connections in the past, but I thought you meant humans…”

Celestia shut her eyes, face stern. “I have lived a very, very long time Sunset. Yet that doesn't mean I am the only one with that sort of lifespan. In order to become as powerful as I am, I had to get my hands dirty, and I had to make friends where I found foul creatures, and foul friendships I wanted to keep. Though human live short lives, they keep memories by passing tales to the next generation, but the pain lessens with each telling until it is hard to distinguish truth and legend.” Celestia frowned deeply, eyes opening with a dark glow about them. “However, when one can live for an eternity, you NEVER forget what hurts the most, whether because someone hurt you, or you hurt someone else… The pain doesn't fade until you let go, and some won’t let go unless they’ve gotten satisfaction for their grievances, one way or another.”

Celestia turned to Sunset, the girl looking up at her with a small expression. “As I said Sunset. I have done things I am not proud of.” She put a hand to her daughter’s shoulder. “But I will not allow you to pay for my sins.”

___________________________________________________________________

It had been a few days after that fateful night, and thankfully no police had come knocking. Celestia’s thoughts seemed to be correct, Everfree Estates was trying to make as little a fuss as possible. Yet that did not mean Sunset’s woes were over.

Sunset moaned as she stumbled back into her room, flopping onto her bed. “I never want to clean the floor with a toothbrush again….” She groaned and rolled over onto her back. The last few days that week had been nothing but housework. All digital life was gone for the entire grounding. That wasn’t to say her mother was a task master, as she allowed the girl moments to read some books or call her friends, all of whom had rung her the few days after her return, worried but happy to hear she was okay.

Pinkie swore that once Sunset was back, she was throwing the three an ‘Officially Ungrounded Party!’. Whatever that entailed… Thankfully though the grounding had not affected the movie night next week the girls had been planning for two months. The release of that new action thriller Rainbow wanted to see had them all abuzz. Most of the girls didn’t even know the name, but Rainbow was hyped and wanted to share it with them, so they shrugged and made the date clear.

“Sunset.” The redhead looked up to see her aunt standing in her doorway. Getting up to her elbows Sunset sent her a smile.

“Hey Aunt Luna. What can I do for you?”

“Your mother requested that I give you this, once the kitchen floor was as shimmering as your name,” Luna said, lifting an object from behind her back with a puzzled expression. “She said that since you were working so hard, your chastening was to be lessened to an extent. Though I do not understand how this object would symbolize that…”

“Chastening?” Sunset frowned, squinting at the small object in Luna’s hand before she gasped, a large smile taking up her face. “My portable wifi adapter!” She leapt up, taking the object form Luna’s hand and kissed it. “Oh thank you!”

Luna blinked, eyes wide at her action. “I am still unsure how that object brings you so much elation.”

“Oh well, you see…” Sunset paused, face froze in her smile as she puzzled how best to explain wireless internet to a vampire, who had slept through a thousand years of technological evolution. “It, uh, makes my computer work.” Sunset pointed to her laptop on her desk quickly.

“Ah, you mean your large, compact magic mirror device you spend so much time on?” Luna asked.

Sunset eyes shifted as she sweat. “Sssssuuuureee?”

“Well, be very careful Sunset. Such powerful magic devices are commonly cursed,” Luna looked to her laptop suspiciously, Sunset sweating a little harder. “Are you certain no souls were sacrificed for its construction?”

“Pretty sure,” Sunset said but continued in an uncertain voice under her breath. “Unless you count sweatshop workers maybe…”

“Hmmm…” Luna mumbled, glaring slightly at the computer. “Mayhaps I should hire an exorcist, just in case.”

“Maybe wait until mom’s home,” Sunset said quickly. “I’m sure she can explain it better than I can.”

“Very well, young one, I will hold on action until more information is available, but be wary.” Luna put a hand to Sunset’s shoulder, and the girl paused. “Though we have known each other a short amount of time, I find myself quite fond of you, my niece.”

Sunset blinked before smiling again, this time a bit more genuine. “Thanks, Aunt Luna.” The two shared a quick hug before the older woman pulled back.

“Now then, I-” Luna paused, bristling slightly. “Someone is on the property.”

“What?” Sunset blinked, following her aunt to a window. They both looked out, Sunset sighing as she did so. “Oh it’s just the mailman…”

“I am well aware of the creature’s gender, Sunset! What is he doing here?!” Luna turned and hurried from the room. “I shall handle this interloper, post haste!”

“What!? No, Aunt Luna! He’s a mailman! I mean he’s a, uh… oh geeze what do you call an old timey mail man…. Ah, m- messenger! He a messenger, Aunt Luna!” Sunset shouted, running to her door way to catch Luna half way down the stair. Her elder looked back at her, clearly hearing her, thinking for a moment before continuing down stairs.

Sunset sighed, at least she didn’t look like she was gonna kill the guy anymore. Celestia had said to take progress where she could find it with her Aunt and be patient… The girl turned back into her room, spotting her Wifi adapter again with a smile.

Time to see what she had been missing on the web.

After looking over her new messages and inbox, Sunset rolled over to Facebook, pausing to check her wall before noticing her friend, Pinkie Pie, had messaged her.

Hey Sunny! :D
I found Twilight’s Facebook page for you!!! ;) :) Just in case your forgot!! :P
Love Pinky <3 XOXO!

Sunset blink and clicked on the link, finding the human girl’s timeline. Ah dammit, she had forgotten! Tapping her finger against her desk she thought for a moment…. When would be a good time to get together with Twilight again? She wanted her to meet all her friends, maybe even get her involved with her group… Well the movie was the next time they were all together… Sunset was sure the girls wouldn’t mind, so she typed out a quick message.

Sent from Sunset Shimmer: 1:30 PM

Hey Twilight! Sorry it took so long for me to message you, I was too busy with all my new chores... and I lost my old phone so yeah, there's that.
I'm gonna be in Mid-Canterlot next Saturday with a few friends for a movie, you wanna join us?

Five friends was a few, right? Well, Pinkie would agree.

“Sunset, behold!” The girl jumped and wheeled around to face her aunt, who stood in her doorway again. “The messenger you spoke of was indeed carrying letters for us. He seemed rather surprised that I demanded to take them right from him, rather than toil with that box.”

Sunset looked down, paling a little. “Aunt Luna… You weren’t supposed to take his bag.”

“Why, are these not our letters?”

“Not all of them!” Sunset said, standing. “He delivers to more houses than ours!”

“How is that secure? What if valuable information was dropped to the wrong home? Are these ‘messengers’ properly screened to assure they won’t spread the secrets under their care if tortured?!” Luna asked, clearly confused again.

“L-lets just call mom for a second. Is the guy still out there?” Sunset asked, leading her Aunt back down the stairs.

“Yes, though he seems to be crying for some reason,” Luna said.

“Oh boy.”

Sunset didn’t get back to her computer till much later that night, but when she did…

Sent from Twilight Sparkle: 6:00 PM

I'd love to!
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