• Member Since 8th Jan, 2013
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reynard


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After the Friendship Games, life at CHS has settled down. No more magical villains to face, or impending disasters. Sunset and the others can go back to living as normal teenage girls. Or as close to normal as a group of magically empowered girls and a former unicorn from another universe can anyway.

But when Sunset gets into trouble, someone she never expected comes to help her, and her life will never be the same ever again.

Disclaimer: I don't own My Little Pony Friendship is Magic or any of it's characters. I'm just a fan.

Cover art done by my very good friend PrettySoldierPetite.

Proofread by beacjere

Pre-read (post ch 12's publishing) by Setokaiva

FEATURE BOX 11/28/17!

EDIT: Added the MLP: FIM tag because of recent events, and I really should have put it in before this anyway.

Side Story
Swimming Lessons

Chapters (13)
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Comments ( 252 )
Rixec #1 · Mar 2nd, 2017 · · · Fear ·

Intriguing start, and quite a creative way of showing Sunset's fears of being punished despite everything she went through to change.

Well, nice little mystery there with Sunset's backstory. I wonder what ended up happening to her parents; the vagueness means there's always something big involved.

And oh goody, Cinch. :facehoof: I hope she suffers greatly for whatever she's planning to do to Sunset.

7991670 Oh thank you very much. I worked quite a bit on that opener, and tried to make it as terrifying and traumatic as possible. XD I hope I succeeded there.

7991700 Trust me, plans are in the works. :)

Excellent chapter, especially with the interactions between the girls and how they're understanding with Sunset. It was a nice chapter, especially with the sinister implications of what's coming. And the more there is of Cinch the more I want her to mysteriously catch blaze.

7992828 Thank you. Although unfortunately, spontaneous combustion isn't really in the near future. XD

Care to take a shot at the references? I was hoping someone would.

7993051 Hmm... Maybe Quest for Fame is a reference to Quest for Glory.

7994833 Bingo! That's a point to you. awards point

A very interesting story I will be keeping an eye on this one as I am sure it will only get even more interesting as time goes on. I am completely left wanting to see more like say sixty to eighty chapters more. This was really fun really well written really enjoyable really good and really worth the time to read I loved every bit of it and I really want to see more added to this very well made story.

7995465 Thank you very much. :twilightblush:

Although sixty to eighty chapters... 0___0 Well, I can't say how long this story will be, but I can definitely say it won't be that long. XD

I was afraid that it was Cinch would pull - and is the social assistent serious?? She really think that Luxury family would be a good influence??? I know that she is in Cinch's pocket, but still...!

If she wasn't so terrified, Sunset could jump in the portal in the eve of deadline... but I get the feeling that a certain alicorn that Sunset fears will be the one to help her (that their reunion be really teary and heartwarming!).
Meanwhile, I really hope that Principal Celestia get a lawyer to defend Sunset...

Put the Anon-a-Miss Incident between EQ and RR makes more sense.

The first part of the chapter was really well handled. The CPS person was able to bring up good points, and while she was obviously a bit corrupt, she was never really wrong. The issue comes in the second half, with Pearl.

Pearl is such an obvious piece of crap and a horrible influence, not to mention taking Sunset out of the country. She is beyond unlikable and completely killed any suspension of disbelief. She's a terrible person, as is her mother and it's obviously a toxic environment for Sunset, and would again involve her moving out of the country. Sure Pearl's mom is rich, but one cursory look from anyone from CPS that isn't working for Cinch or the from the police would completely deny letting Sunset live with them. Also, adoption would require the consent of the child, and they shouldn't be able to take her out of the country before that.

A better choice would've been some kind of strict military or elitist family. They could still be unlikable to the audience and Sunset and still be jerks about her friends, but it wouldn't be so over the top and it'd be much more believable. Having a super strict foster family (not adoption) in a different part of the state would make much more sense. It wouldn't completely uproot Sunset while still getting her out of a perceived toxic environment, it could be argued to be good for Sunset (she has shown a lot of bad behavior in the past), and would be much harder to fight against (seriously, just show the encounter Sunset had with Pearl to any CPS agent besides the corrupt one and there's no way they would let it go through, even ignoring forced adoption and leaving the country).

Circinus and Pearl's mother HAVE to be "friends" with Cinch; that is the only plausible explanation as to how Sunset's situation could be so bad, as Cinch would make sure she received no comfort. Hopefully Sunset will be able to find someone to take her in. Worse case scenario, she can run for the portal.

8009839 Thank you for the comment, and the compliments.

As far as using a military or elitist family, I fully admit that completely didn't occur to me. But when it comes to Pearl, her being utterly awful was rather the point. And one of the other reasons I wrote her the way I did is because despite being awful, she was also kind of fun to write in a weird way. I got a laugh out of some of her lines and interactions, like the Popular reference (even if the Valley Girl speak started to become a pain...).

As for telling the police... to be fair, the only real proof of that interaction would be Sunset's testimony, which could be biased, or those of her friends, who one could argue could be lying in order to keep their friend with them.

And for CPS protocol, well, I know that my knowledge of how it worked wasn't the best, though I was trying. But I also won't deny that there IS a form of corruption going on here. I'm just not sure how much to say that might not end up as spoilers.

Anyway, thank you again for the feedback, and I hope I can make up whatever flaws this chapter had for you with subsequent chapters.

Oh dear, this does not look good. Might be a bit too dark...

8010093

*notices screen name*

Say... did you ever write for the Metroid series ten years ago?

8010112 Oh don't worry about it getting super dark, trust me on that. And no, I didn't write anything for Metroid, especially not ten years ago.

8010092 Unfortunately I can't say anything confirming or denying. You'll just have read and find out.

8009673 I thought that about Anon-a-Miss too. Well, some of it. Of course by doing that it means RR would be after December, possibly January where I have it now, and technically the film backgrounds don't mesh with that, but I'm choosing to ignore that for the same of a good timeline.

Freakin' scumbag. Just how low can Suri go?

That spoiled brat... needs to be decked in the schnozz, a black eye, a boot to the head, her phone taken away, a boot to her heiney and a one-way trip to military school for what she's frickin' doing to Sunset! .:twilightangry2: I also sense that Cinch has greater political influence than I thought and the Child Protective Service "worker" is in cahoots with her.

8010093
Pearl was definitely entertaining to read. One trap I've noticed a lot of fanfic writers fall into is exaggerating certain things to the point of hurting suspension of disbelief. You almost fell into that with the first nightmare. It was effectively horrifying, but it seems like all of her nightmares lasted months. It wasn't enough to harm the narrative and was a case were emotion trumped logic and realism. The issue here is that Pearl came in after a fairly grounded scene. The CPS agent was fairly believable, and while obviously corrupt, she wasn't a mustache twirling villain, but forcing Sunset out of the country with such obviously horrible people really hurt her character as well. There's no logic behind it other than making the characters suffer as much as possible, which undermines everything that led up to it. Unlike the nightmare, the emotion doesn't do enough to overwrite it, and the same amount could've been reached in other ways.

As for the police, all they would have to do is say that a CPS agent is trying to force a student into a completely unqualified family out of the country that she doesn't want to be with, and these seven girls saw how much she doesn't want to. It would be enough to launch some kind of investigation, and they could still call the CPS and report this agent for trying to force adoption on an unwilling minor to an unqualified family and force her out of the country. Heck, if Sunset's friends families all get rejected (particularly Twilight's), then there would be plenty of means to go for corruption. Oh, and the agent literally said she was doing this for a friend, and didn't even pick a choice in the state, not exactly a legal move.

Honestly, this is just a nitpick, as the rest of this story is very good. I'm pretty sure that what happens next is that all of Sunset's friends get rejected for foster status (still don't know how Pearl's mom got it, it would take a ridiculous amount of corruption for that to happen, especially with the moving to Paris stunt) and Princess Celestia comes in to save the day, so this was just to set up the tension and have a strongly unlikable antagonist for the arc, so in the long run, while it does hurt the logic of the story, it doesn't matter much since the story isn't about the events but the emotions behind them. As long as there aren't too many leaps like this one, it should be fine, just be careful, as too many of these will definitely hurt in the long run.

This story become really interesting after this chapter. Please update soon.

What the girls need to do is to ask not only their families (due the Anon-a-Miss fiasco, Circinus will exclude Applejack and Rarity's families and probably Rainbow's too - and it is very probable that will find a excuse to prevent that Fluttersky's, Pinkie's and Twilight's families could be Sunset's guardian) but also ask other people like the Cakes, Zecora and the Cantelot High Principals (I can CHS Celestia and Luna willing to do it) and make them ask other people that they trust to offer to be Sunset's guardians - so after Circinus made the rounds shutting down the Rainboom's families, in the eve of the deadline, they drop on her desk the bombshell of several people who want to take care of Sunset... and since she will have to vet them - all of them - first, she could not deliver Sunset to Pearl's family in the deadline.

Of course, for it to work, it would be the best if they have legal help - maybe Principal Celestia or Twilight's parents could hire a lawyer to oversee the process and prevent that Circinus and the Luxuries could get way with it.

This will give time for Princess Celestia come and help Sunset (maybe with the help of Discord, so he could have a way to make "Sunny Skies" acceptable)) and release the Sun's wrath on Cinch, Circinus and Pearl.

Well, this was quite the informative chapter and based on the Journal messages, Sunset needs Princess Celestia fast. Hopefully she'll be able to come up with some way to save Sunset.

Man, I loved the Quest for Glory games. Never really got into Ultima, though.

YES! Celestia to the rescue! :yay::yay:

Maybe I'm reading too much between the lines, but I got the feeling that - deep inside - Celestia fears to meet Sunset at last so much as Sunset fears to face Celestia again - a very interesting parallel...

Now let's hope that Sunset don't enter in panic and let Celestia help her... :twilightoops:

Ooh. This is going to get interesting.

8019021 Bingo! You got two out of three! Yeah, I've only tried Quest for Glory a bit myself, and I think in general I'd like it better. But I know about both, Quest for Glory thanks to Paw Dugan's coverage of it, and Ultima from watching Spoony's videos. I know both are very important to computer games, so I felt the need to include them.

Now here's a challenge for you. Can you tell me the third name pun in the chapter?

I wonder if we will see Princess Celestia meeting her human counterpart... it would be interesting, in special if they team up to help Sunset.

Okay, I did not see that coming in the end, Sunsets mother, is it her mother from Pony Equestria or is it the Human Sunsets mother that just showed up, because either way it would be a good way for Sunset to be saved like that.

I can't believe I am saying this, but: Celestia! Please, save Sunset from this scorpion witch!

Also, I bet fifty bucks that Circinus is either related to Trixie (or at least it was Trixie who reported Sunset's situation to CPS) and/or she have ulterior motives to want Sunset to be adopted by the airhead's family.

This chapter was... Wow. Really enjoyed the tense atmosphere.

And hurray! The other Celestia arrives at last!
Although... how is she going to convince Circinus?

When's the next chapter? Really need to see the reactions of everyone. :twilightsheepish:

Oh, how can I be so impatient sometimes...

8043016

I can't believe I am saying this, but: Celestia! Please, save Sunset from this scorpion witch!

I agree wholehearted!

8043016

Also, I bet fifty bucks that Circinus is either related to Trixie (or at least it was Trixie who reported Sunset's situation to CPS) and/or she have ulterior motives to want Sunset to be adopted by the airhead's family.

Actually, it was Cinch that put the Scorpion Witch after Sunset...

8043021

And hurray! The other Celestia arrives at last!
Although... how is she going to convince Circinus?

Good question - but Celestia had at last 1000 years of advantage over the Scorpion Witch...:rainbowdetermined2:
I can't wait to see Celestia crashing and burning both Circinus, Cinch and the Luxuries.

Can't wait for the next chapter and too see Sunset's reaction went she realize who her "mother" is...

8043070 Really? It was Cinch? Hum... I probably didn't pay enough atention. Oh well, I still don't like that scorpion witch or that loud mouth magician, by the way.

Can't wait for chapter 7!

I'm not really into mysteries, but this is really good.

8043306 Thank you.

And you don't have to be into them. But even if you're not, Agatha Christie is a name to respect. I meant what I said about her stats in the first two paragraphs of her wiki page. Dame Agatha Christie (she was knighted for her contribution to literature) wrote 66 detective stories, 14 short story collections, the world's longest running stage play (The Mousetrap) and 6 romances (under a different name).

She's the world's best-selling novelist of all time with about 2 billion copies in print, putting her right behind Shakespeare and the Bible, as well as the most translated at 103 languages.

And this has been your literary history lesson for today. XD

Plot twist;
That's not Princess Celestia in disguise, it's human Sunsets mother.

(Right before reading) Almost 11,000 words. Am I emotionally prepared for this?

(While reading, heart beating frantically, breath held, constant stomping off for R-rated silent rants and air beatings, and need for vengeance)

(After reading) No. No, I was not emotionally prepared. But thank Celestia for that ending! Put that Circinus in her place!

8043414 Oh dear.... I'm sorry I caused you so much distress. I mean, as an author I suppose it's a good thing that the story connected with someone that strongly, but on the other hand it's sort of terrible when you make someone feel that way, isn't it? Hmm, that's a real conundrum...

Well, don't worry, it gets better next chapter. XD

8043421 Don't worry, it's a good thing to be able to make your audience react in such ways. It shows the characters are really cared for and that the situations presented want us to see them pull through, especially with how bad they can get for them. With Sunset being my favorite MLP character I connect with her deeply, so seeing people like Circinus go so far to ruin her life brings out much rage. It was amazingly written and am looking forward to seeing what comes next. :twilightsmile:

8043451 That's good. And hey, if it makes you feel better, you can laugh a little at the Muppets reference I threw in on a whim (take a close look at the science teacher in scene 1). XD

still using black and white

Pretty much "no". In "One Bad Apple" we could see that ponies already have color movies. Don't know about their special effects though. Considering that they have magic they could be not that much behind ours. Maybe. Maybe not.

8043786 Really? Oh, blast it. There are some episodes I either never watched in full for one reason or another, or I guess some I don't remember well enough. I just remembered that old projector film from Hurricane Fluttershy.

Well, thank you for telling me anyway.

8043878
Well, it's not like it's change much, no? It's just a minor point in fic.

And I think that while Celestia stunt can give Sunset time to run away I doubt that it's could resolve her problem with CPS in general. Sunset "mother" are nonexistent entity. She don't have place to live, social security number, job, nothing. She don't exist.

8043936 Well to be fair, Sunset has been gone quite a long time, so perhaps the state of film has changed and she doesn't know it.

And while you do raise some good points, well... you'll just have to see, won't you? :twilightsmile:

8043936

And I think that while Celestia stunt can give Sunset time to run away I doubt that it's could resolve her problem with CPS in general. Sunset "mother" are nonexistent entity. She don't have place to live, social security number, job, nothing. She don't exist.

Unless Celestia asked a certain draconequus to create a paper trail for "Sunny Skies", or whatever name she is using - just good enough to hold CPS and the Luxuries back until the Sparkles can take care of her (Am I the only to think that the timing of the plagiarism accusation was just too good for the plans of the villains?)

8044009

Well to be fair, Sunset has been gone quite a long time, so perhaps the state of film has changed and she doesn't know it.

Well, that was also a possibility. At least according to comics Sunset run away more that ten years ago (in Sunset comics you could see a tiny Twi on background who barely able to use telekinesis).
Huh... Isn't this also suggest that time in Mirror World and Equestria flow at different speed? I'm pretty sure that Sunset at best spend four years or so in Mirror World.

8044014
I'm not sure if Discord magic are working in Mirror World. So far all magic that work there are either connected to Elements, bound to items or both. Even Rainbooms magic looks more like singular "superpowers" rather that full blown magic.

Oh, and how "legal" Sunset is? If we go by more realistic approach then she a illegal alien and at best she have a couple of forged papers?

Can't wait to see the next chapter. After seeing Circus hurting Sunset Shimmer I can only imagine how princess Celestia will handle her. This story is really interesting.

Princess Celestia reveals Equestria to Circinus and principal Cinch in the process of having them both tossed into tartus

8045028

What a horrible thing to do! Throwing Cinch and Circinus into Tartarus will lower the property values! :pinkiecrazy:

8044804

Well, that was also a possibility. At least according to comics Sunset run away more that ten years ago (in Sunset comics you could see a tiny Twi on background who barely able to use telekinesis).

Huh... Isn't this also suggest that time in Mirror World and Equestria flow at different speed? I'm pretty sure that Sunset at best spend four years or so in Mirror World.

Actually I have a theory on how exactly that works. But I'll save that for when I get to it in the story.

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