• Published 8th Mar 2017
  • 10,884 Views, 895 Comments

Hell & High Water - Uria the Sacred Beast



Sunset's life takes a turn when Anon-a-Miss appears on MyStable, slandering her name, and spiraling her life down a road she never could have expected. Are all her attempts at changing for naught, or will one spark of hope keep the fire burning?

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2 - Will You Rail Against the Dying Day?

Something feels off.’ Sunset thought to herself as she stumbled into school the next morning with her friends. They’d all stayed at Pinkie’s house last night for a wonderful sleepover. To say they all had a good time would be an understatement. Pinkie and Maud had ordered pizza, Fluttershy had been lured into a video game challenge by Dash to which she had fought with shocking vigor, and Applejack had even caved to Rarity and let her paint her nails. Truly it would be a night remembered for a week at most until the next assigned reading paper pushed all other thoughts out of their heads.

Despite the good feelings though, Sunset couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable. The air in the school felt tense, as if something was waiting to drop and crush the good feelings.

BWWURP!” Or it could just be Dash’s indigestion.

“Really, darling?” Rarity gave Dash a flat look, wrinkling her nose in disgust.

“I never wanna see another slice of pizza ever again!” Dash groaned, holding her stomach.

Pinkie yawned, “Dashie, say it ain’t so!” She exclaimed halfheartedly.

“Ya kinda asked fer it when ya scarfed down two whole boxes.” Applejack replied with a light scoff.

Rainbow’s following moan of remorse was drowned out by another voice, “Hey, piggly wiggly!”

Applejack whipped around so fast that she nearly slapped Pinkie in the face with her ponytail, “What the-!”

The others had flinched too at hearing the name, glancing across the crowd of students. No one was looking their way, not that they could tell at least.

Sunset narrowed her eyes. There it was. During the sleepover last night, Applejack had received a call from her little sister. Apple Bloom had been kind enough to end the conversation by calling her ‘Piggly Wiggly’, an embarrassing childhood nickname.

Applejack scratched her head, “That was weird...Did someone just-”

“Sis! Sis!” Apple Bloom ran up to the group, stumbling slightly, arms waving “You gotta see this!” The younger Apple sibling held up her phone, a look of over-the-top horror plastered on her face. “LOOK!” She said, possibly a bit louder than necessary.

Applejack read the MyStable post, “...WHAT?!” Applejack flinched, swiping the phone and reading it again, as if the one holding the screen would change the post’s content. Someone under the screen name of Anon-a-Miss had posted Applejack’s childhood nickname for all to see. At the moment, about 69 different people had already liked the post, with 25 comments tagged directly on it.

Sunset glanced over AJ’s shoulder, examining the post with both disgust and idle curiosity. The account’s avatar was a simple red and yellow silhouette, much like the normal anonymous accounts of other websites. The realization of the pun made Sunset wrinkle her nose slightly. That was just bad. On top of the secret itself, the post had an ‘OMG!’ inserted along with calling Applejack a pig directly. ‘This is made to kick up dust.’ Sunset rationalized with a frown, ‘But why attack AJ?’

“How the-what the-?”

“It got posted a couple hours ago!” The younger Apple exclaimed.

“Who’s this ‘Anon-a-Miss’?” Applejack asked, her voice cracking slightly, expression downcast.

“Her profile was created the same time as th’ posts - No clue who she is!”

“What makes you sure she’s a she?” Pinkie leaned over her, looking at the phone.

Apple Bloom blinked, “...her avatar! It's a girl’s shadow, so ‘she’, right?”

“Oh, that makes sense.” Pinkie nodded, looking rather worried for her southern friend.

“She posted on your page, my page, all of you guys pages!” Apple Bloom explained, still looking panicked. “The whole school probably knows about it by now!”

“We can just block her then, right?” Sunset suggested, “Problem solved, right?”

“There’s still everyone else in school, Sunset!” Apple Bloom echoed.

“What about reporting her?” She insisted.

“She isn’t breaching any site rules. Ah already checked to see if ah could!” Apple Bloom frowned.

“Why’d you come running up to show her this instead of calling her about it, if it was posted hours ago?” Something wasn’t sitting right, Sunset was certain about that.

“Ah just saw it a few minutes ago! Ah panicked!” Apple Bloom defended, getting agitated, “You tryin’ to say somethin’ Sunset?”

That made her backtrack, “No, no, I’m just trying to figure a way to stop this before it becomes a problem.”

Applejack wasn’t listening. She had now taken notice of the students brushing past the group. Some making oinking noises or whispering the name under their breath.

“AJ?” Her sister tried to get her attention.

“I-it don’t matter! Ah can handle a lil’ teasin’!” Applejack took a breath, puffing up a bit as she handed the phone back.

“Well...ugh…” Dash fought down another sick belch, “What about Anon-a-whatever? How’d she know about this?”


“And why post it online? Th-that’s so cruel!” Fluttershy shook her head. The five minute bell rang. Class would be starting soon.

Applejack sighed, “I dunno, but any more questions will have to wait until after school.”

“...let us know if we can do anything to help, Applejack.” Sunset offered, hand on the farmer’s shoulder to give her pause.

“Sure thing, Sunset. Ah appreciate it.” The group split up, Apples heading one way, the rest of the girls heading the opposite, minds on anything but school.

“...”

“...so...this ‘Anon-a-Miss’...” Apple Bloom started.

Applejack sighed, “What about her?”

“Well...the only ones that knew the nickname was us an’ your friends...you sure you never told anyone else?”

Positive. I only ever told someone when I had to. What’re ya gettin’ at sis?”

“Well...like you said, only when you had too. The other girls learned it your freshman year during the Christmas party. The only one who learned it recently was Sunset, the other night, and the MyStable page does have her color-”

“Apple Bloom! Sunset’s mah friend!”

“Okay, okay! Just a thought!” She defended, hands raised, “I’ll see ya after school.” Apple Bloom split off from her, making her way to her first class of the day.


It hadn’t let up.

The entire day, it had been oinks, snorts, and that name repeated enough that Applejack was more than ready to never hear it again. She now stood across from the school waiting for her ride, as promised by-

“Darling!”

Rarity. Applejack smiled, opening her eyes, at least this would offer some respite from the day.

Her purple-haired friend sat in the driver’s seat of her mother’s mini-van, calling over to her, “Ready to go, Applejack?”

“Yeah, thanks for the ride, Rares.” Applejack opened the door, hopping in the passenger seat.

“Oh, not a problem dear! I’m just glad you were able to come!...how’s the day been?”

“Rough. It's been rough. Nothin’ ah can’t handle, but it’ll be nice to relax.”

“They’re still making fun of you?”

“Whole day. Oinking, non-stop. It's gettin’ old real darn fast!” AJ sighed, burned out for the day, “But hey, just a name, doesn’t bother me. Lets just get our party on.”

Rarity smiled, “Sounds good to me!” Turning onto her street, she noticed two more cars parked in the driveway, “And it looks like Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash are already here.”

“Surprised Rainbow Blaze let Dash borrow the car after what happened last time.” AJ chuckled, hopping out of the car as Rarity pulled in.

“Either way, nice to see Rainbow will be joining us given this morning’s discomforts.” Rarity nodded, shutting off the car and walking in with her. “Hello girls!”

“Hey!” Dash waved, feeling much better from this morning.

Rarity was ready to retort when she zeroed in on a familiar face relaxing on her bed.

“We were just chatting with Sweetie Belle.” Fluttershy smiled, “She was letting us know about everything that’s been going on with her friends lately.”

Sweetie blinked, smiling widely and as innocently as she could. Rarity had made it rather clear beforehand that the sleepover was for her friends and her specifically.

“Yes, well! I’m sure you’re company has just been lovely, Sweetie, but isn’t it almost your bedtime?” Rarity began scooting the girl out the room.

“What? Its like 4 o’clock! No it's not!” Her younger sister protested as she was shoved out of the room, door closing behind her and cutting off her, “I can be cool!”

“O-kay!” Who’s ready for the spooky stories!” Pinkie popped up, holding a candle and dressed in a ratty brown robe.

“Wahhh!” Rarity flinched, hopping backwards.

“Let’s not give Rarity a heart attack, Pinkie.” Sunset chuckled, pushing the door open. “And if you’re looking for some weird stories, look no further.” She gestured to herself, “Interdimensional unicorn.”

“I’m sure you have quite a few interesting stories to tell.” Fluttershy smiled.

“How I became Celestia’s student, how Equestria came to be, even the story of how the measure of the calendar's start date has some interest to it.” Sunset nodded.

“Maybe some other time!” Pinkie jumped up on Rarity’s bed, holding a hairbrush like a microphone, “Cause we got something to say!” Rainbow and Fluttershy quickly got into the act, grabbing a toothbrush and another hairbrush to join in the singing with their hyperactive friend.

“Are you recording them?” Rarity chuckled, glancing up at Sunset, who was now doing so on her cell phone.

“Call it capturing memories. This isn’t something I want to forget.” Sunset giggled.

STAGE DIVE!”

“PINKIEWAIT!” Dash yelped, diving out of the way.

CRASH

With all the grace of a falling aircraft, Pinkie landed against a door. The thin purple wood quickly gave way to the Ponkest of Pies, shattering into pieces and leaving Pinkie hanging out of the bottom half.

Sunset helped the dizzy girl up, “Owie…” Pinkie rubbed her head.

“I think this maybe the sixth door you’ve broken by dancing, Pinkie.” Fluttershy giggled.

Twelfth.” Sunset corrected with a shake of the head, “Not counting all the other ways you’ve done it. You might be more destructive than Professor Discord.”

That sounds like an experiment! Why couldn’t that be our science project?!” Dash laughed.

“Hey, Rarity! What is all this?” Pinkie pulled off the top hat that had fallen on her after tumbling through the door.

Rarity sighed dramatically, “The closet of shame.”

Dash scoffed, “The what?”

“Its where I put all the outfits that I make or buy that wind up looking...subpar.”

Rainbow held up a black outfit with underarm red bat wings, “You’ve bought some odd stuff.”

“Indeed...bought, yes.” Rarity eyed that particular mistake.

Before her prismatic friend could catch on and tease her relentlessly, Rarity continued, “I clean it out and donate it occasionally. I think it's high time I do so again.”

“Are you kidding?!” Pinkie bounced up, “This stuff is great!” Pinkie had somehow swapped from her nightie to the blue suit and top hat, “IT'S PERFECT FOR CRAZY SELFIES!” She grabbed Rarity, pulling her into a one armed hug and snapping the picture, capturing the shocked-scared look on Rarity’s face.

“These clothes are...certainly something else?” Sunset inspected some sort of collared dress covered in blue straps.

“Rawr, check me out!” Dash wobbled on the spiked boots.

Rarity collected a fuzzy pink scarf from the floor, “Well...I suppose there’s nothing wrong with trying them on, girls.”

“DRESS-UP MONTAGE!” Pinkie declared with excitement. The next hour or two passed by in flurry of outfits and photos courtesy of Sunset. It wasn’t long until everyone was conked out, laying in there sleeping bags scattered all over the floor. All except for Sunset, propped up against her pillow, scribbling in her journal.

Dear Twilight,

So I just reached the end of the second slumber party with the girls. What can I say? This is really doing wonders for me. I’ve never felt so close to anyone before. It feels like family. It really does.’ Sunset smiled to herself, glancing across the rooms. It was hard to believe that no more than a few weeks ago, she- No. Don’t think about that. It didn’t matter anymore. ‘Thank you so much for the support. Sadly, we both know where’d I be otherwise. Anyway, school’s still tomorrow. I need to get some sleep, lest I repeat this morning. I’ll write you again soon.'

- Sunset Shimmer

Feeling content with the message, and not getting a response at the moment, Sunset placed the book under her pillow for safe keeping and laid down, letting herself drift out of consciousness.


TWILIGHT!” Spike shouted down the crystalline corridor, “We’re gonna be late!”

“Coming! Coming!” Twilight Sparkle was dashing back and forth around her main reading room...or was it her second reading room...or was it-this castle had too many rooms. “I don’t want to forget anything!”

“You didn’t make a checklist?” The baby dragon blinked.

Somepony said I relied too much on them. Said that it was ridiculous!” Twilight pouted.

“Wow. Didn’t think you’d be as easy to bait as Rainbow Dash.” Spike blinked again, rather shocked.

Twilight rolled her eyes, “Yes, yes. Ha ha. Its very funny.”

“Well I hope you’re packed. The girls are all waiting at the train station. The train leaves in a few minutes.”

“WHAT?!” She freaked, “No no no! I was certain it would be delayed because of the snow like last year!”

“Well last year there wasn’t a Princess riding.” Spike deadpanned, “Ponies kinda throw themselves at the crown.”

A strand of Twilight’s mane popped up, the mare getting that look in her eye, “I forgot to account for the Princess factor! How could I have been so careless?!”

“Can you stress about it on the ride up to Canterlot? I’m looking forwards to reprising my role as narrator in the Hearth’s Warming play!” Spike smiled, “Maybe Thorax will get to visit!”

“Don't you write him everyday?” Twilight asked, taking a breath as she pulled her saddlebags over her back. She glared back at them. Still uncomfortable due to her wings.

“Writing someone isn’t the same is seeing them in person, Twilight.” Spike defended.

Writing someone… “That’s right!” Twilight declared, trotting over to a podium and retrieving something.

“What?”

“This!” She held up a scroll. “Princess Celestia wanted me to bring this. She had it sent over here by accident with the last load of books.”

“Great, can we go?”

“Way ahead of you, Spike!” Twilight galloped past him, heading to the main entrance. Spike made to follow.

BZZZT BZZT

“Huh?” Spike glanced at one of the other book podiums in the room. A weathered journal sat on it, glowing and vibrating repeatedly. The young drake blinked at it, “I’m sure we can deal with that later.” He waved, running out after Twilight. Canterlot awaited!


Sunset had left before most of the other girls were up. Only Rainbow and Rarity had been awake, both having met her in the kitchen. Rarity was busy keeping her younger sister away from the stove and Rainbow was drowning herself in bowl of cereal. She had managed to withhold her laughter from the scene long enough to say goodbye and get out the door.

The snow, while still coating the ground, had been dealt with on most of the streets. While another storm was warned for hitting that night, the clearing had allowed Sunset to ride her bike to Rarity’s home. Sunset’s motorcycle was, in a word, junk. Literally. She had rescued it from a scrapyard and spent every free moment restoring it, ever since she came to Earth from Equestria. A Ducati 996, her pride and joy. It was also without a doubt the most expensive thing she owned. Granted, owned was an unfair term, as she had either stolen or traded unfairly for every part on it.

‘Maybe I should get a job and come clean with everyone.’ She thought for the hundredth time, climbing onto the bike. Of course, she wouldn’t. It was next to impossible to get a job without a social security number, or a license, or any real proof of her existence. Of course, no job meant money was an iffy thing to come by. Most normal people wouldn’t have been able to survive in such a situation, let alone own a motorcycle and cell phone. Thankfully, Sunset Shimmer was anything but normal. She had walked in from another world and made CHS hers in a few weeks. ‘Still don’t know how to feel about that...’ She sighed, kicking up the stand and taking off. On one hand, doing so in the first place was no small feat and rather impressive, means aside. On the other, there was the guilt. The world had held no pity for her, so she didn’t do any favors for anyone else, but now she had friends...family.

As per usual, Shimmer just put it out of her head. Now wasn’t the time for such dark thoughts. She smiled, speeding off to a local coffee shop to grab a small pick me up for class. Nothing got you going in the morning like a good espresso.


Sunset took a good swig of her drink. Starbits may have been a bit of a cliche stop for high schoolers, but she wasn’t about to complain about good coffee. “Hey girls.” She smiled, finding her friends all waiting by her locker.

“...” The wave of tension from yesterday suddenly hit Sunset full force as she noticed the looks she was receiving.

“...is something the matter?”

Applejack cleared her throat, “Sunset, did you…” She paused, considering her words, “Have you lost your phone recently?”

“What, since last night?” She pulled her phone from her jacket pocket, “It's right here.”

“Then how ‘bout you get to explain’ this!?” Applejack scowled, displaying her own phone.

OMG... what a bunch of dorks! Hahaha

Sunset blinked, not entirely processing what she was looking at, “...wait. Those are our pictures! WHAT?!”

“They’re not our pictures, Sunset.” Applejack growled, “They’re yours, you took ‘em!”

“Wait, but-I’ve had my phone the entire time! How could she have-”

“Yeah! How could she?” Applejack cut her off, clearly speaking for the group now. “How did she know bout mah nickname! How’d she get the pictures from your phone?” The country girl took an angry step forward. “Simple! It's you! You’re Anon-a-Miss!”

Sunset’s mind ground to a halt. Wait...what?

Pinkie was glaring through angry tears, “We trusted you, Sunset!”

“We thought you were our friend darling.” Rarity closed her eyes, shaking her head.

“And after everything we’ve been through?” Fluttershy squeaked, sniffling.

Rainbow had her eyes on the floor, fingers rubbing against her thumb. Her face was completely blank, refusing to look at the fiery-haired girl.

“Wait, wait. No...no, guys, come on. I didn’t do this. I wouldn’t do this.” The sudden onslaught of accusations was leaving Sunset lightheaded. She reached out with her free hand, “I couldn't hurt any of you!”

To her shock, Pinkie shoved her back, “BUT YOU DID!” The coffee was knocked out of her hand, splashing out onto the floor. “You were just pretending to be our friend!” That cut far deeper than Sunset wanted it to, eyes dilating in what may have been fear as her back hit the locker behind her. “You-you secret stealer!”

“No. No! Stop it!” Sunset’s body had started to shake. This couldn’t be happening. “”It wasn’t me! I don’t know how it happened, but it wasn’t! That’s not who I am! Please, just calm down and lets figu-”

“NO!” Fluttershy nearly screamed, tears coming fresh again, “We won’t let you talk circles around us again!”

“...Fluttershy?” Sunset asked in a tone more befitting the one now yelling at her.

“You are not the person we thought you were! The person Princess Twilight told us you could be! You are not! Our! Friend!”

Why was her face wet?

“No...I...I am. I swear. Please.”

“We’re done, Shimmer.” Applejack glared, “Fool us once, shame on us, but we ain’t even lettin’ you get to twice!”

“You did this to yourself, darling.” Rarity said coldly, “Say whatever you want.”

“But we don’t have to listen.” AJ finished, storming off with the others, each member of the group following.

Sunset’s mind screamed at her to follow. This couldn’t be it, it was a mistake, it could be fixed!

...When had she fallen on the floor?

Sunset was heaving, tears falling from her face, a small puddle forming under her on the blue tile.

“It’ll be okay, Fluttershy.” pinkie soothed the butter colored girl, who had dissolved into sniffles after her bout of bravery, “You did good. Finally stood up to her.”

Thanks again for letting me stay over.

Rainbow paused mid-stride. The terror of CHS didn’t thank people.

Yeah, that’s not my strongest subject either.

The school bully didn’t sympathize with people.

The things I said to the Princess before I left, the things I did since then.

Sunset Shimmer didn’t feel regret.

Rainbow blinked, glancing back behind her. Sunset was still on her knees, unable to hold back her sobs at this point. Rover had stopped to snap a picture on his phone and laugh. Sunset didn’t even notice.

“Dash, what’re ya doin’?” Applejack noticed her friend’s pause, causing the other four to stop as well, “You want a picture too or somethin’?”

Her whole family calls her ‘Piggly Wiggly’ cause she loves them so much! What a PIG!

What a bunch of dorks!

Sunset...Sunset didn’t operate like this. Even then. Sunset...Her friend wouldn’t do this…

That’s cause she’s not your friend!’ Her mind snapped at her instantly, almost getting her feet back into motion.

“Maybe if you stopped for a cotton-pickin’ minute and looked past your bruised ego and jock anger, you’d see that ah’m tellin’ the truth!” Applejack snarled, turning on a heel and stomping away.

Dash still remembered that day very clearly. Halfway through sophomore year. The fights, the arguments. That was when Sunset had really come to be in charge of the school. When she had split them all up with no more than a text. If they had just been willing to listen to each other...

Rainbow Dash clenched her fists and sighed, “No...just remembering a few words of wisdom.” She kept moving...the other direction, back towards Sunset. Applejack and the girls blinked in confusion.

“Um, what is she doing?” Rarity asked.

“Oh no, is she gonna hit her?! She’ll get detention for that!” Fluttershy gasped.

Rainbow walked up to Sunset, staring down at her uncertainly. ‘This is a mistake. I’m making a dumb, rash decision.’

“Hey.” Rainbow spoke.

Sunset tilted her head up, looking at Rainbow with wide, teary eyes. The rational side of her mind had been especially worried about this. With the other girls, when they had been enemies, all it took to keep them at bay was a few words. Rainbow Dash was different. Now, Dash wasn’t stupid, but she never had a care for the verbal joust, and was known for her hair trigger temper. This had led a couple fights over the years between the two, some were even referred to by students with actual names. ‘The Bleachers Incident’, ‘The Locker Room Brawl’, ‘That Thing with the Weather Vane’, the list went on.

'At least that's what I'm known for.' Dash’s arm moved. Sunset flinched and shut her eyes. The sound of fist impacting face never came. The only thing she heard was four gasps of varying levels of shock.

With hesitation, she looked back at Rainbow. She was...holding out her hand. “...wh-what?”

“...is this gesture alien in Equestria? I’m helping you up.” Rainbow smiled.

“I...what?” Sunset asked again.

Rainbow sighed, holding back the chuckle for the moment, and pulled Sunset up.

“You...you’re helping me...you believe me?!” Hope reignited in Sunset’s eyes.

“Yeah. I do...I’m not making a mistake, am I?” Dash nodded, keeping the smile in place.

Sunset answered the only way she could at the moment. By latching onto Dash’s midsection, “No! Oh Lumencia, no you’re not!”

“Lu-what?” Dash laughed now, both relieved and confused.

“I-I’ll explain l-later!” Sunset heaved in breaths.

Applejack glowered at the back of Rainbow’s head, “C’mon girls. If she wants to get hurt again, let her.” She tilted her hat lower and stormed off, the others following in her wake, feeling both betrayed and confused. “So much for loyalty.”


“...”

“...”

“...”

In the darkness of a nearby classroom, three pairs of eyes peering out the door narrowed.

Author's Note:

*Clicks tongue*
Another chapter done. Hope you all enjoy. I'd like you all to give a hand to my lovely Beta, Miss SunnyDays!
As no one has taken a guess at the song reference yet, I'll just stack it with this one for the next. To be clear, to get the shout out in chapter three, you have to get the song title and artist of one of the chapter names correct. Good luck!
All I have to say for now, see you next time.

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