• Published 8th Mar 2017
  • 10,870 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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3 - You Can Give Your Broken Heart to Me

“What was that?!”

“Calm down, Scoots!” Apple Bloom frowned.

“Calm down? Calm down!?” The orange skinned freshman frowned, “Why?! The plan didn’t work! Rainbow’s still with Sunset!”

“Technically, the plan was to get all of them away from her, so four out of five isn’t that bad.” Sweetie Belle spoke up.

The plan was to get our sisters back from the she-demon!”

“Still two out of three…” Sweetie mumbled.

Scootaloo turned to glare at her.

“Cut it out you two!” Apple Bloom regained their attention, sitting on a desk and typing away at her phone. “We jus’ gotta keep this train a rollin’. All it’s gonna take is a push in Rainbow’s direction and she’ll be offa Shimmer like a muddy shirt!”

“Well, we don’t have much of Dash on this.” Sweetie Belle held up a flash drive, “...except, well...the big one.”

“...” Scootaloo shook her head, “Nah, Rainbow’s great, but she’s got a short fuse. One more small secret’s all it's gonna take.”

“Where we gonna find one?” Apple Bloom glanced up.

“Heard her complaining about her last science paper before she went to Pinkie’s last sleepover. Considering how rarely she cleans out her backpack, I bet it's still in there. Toss it up on the account, pass it around, I’m sure it’ll do the job.”

Apple Bloom grinned, “How soon can you get it?”

Scootaloo just smirked.

“Good...hey Sweetie Belle, what else is on there?” The young southerner’s eyes gleamed darkly as she stared at the flash drive.


“Feeling better?” Rainbow asked softly.

“...no.” Came the glum response, the speaker still bent over the sink. “For all intents and purposes, you’re now my only friend.” Sunset splashed another handful of water in her face. She was feeling rather embarrassed on top of the sorrow that she had begun drowning in. Spending ten minutes in the hall sobbing into your friend’s shirt did that to you.

Friends.

Sunset felt like she was gonna start all over again. How could they all just walk out on her like that? Her knuckles turned white as she gripped the sink.

“Don’t break it, that won’t help anything.” Dash sighed.

“How are you not ranting about what just happened?” She meant to put more force into her words, but just couldn’t muster the energy to do so.

“Because it won’t change anything...and you probably understand plenty.” Dash just shrugged, “I mean...yeah, it hurts, but…” She shrugged again, shaking her head.

“But what?” Sunset asked, turning to look at her friend, “What...what if I am Anon-a-Miss?” Her mind screamed at her, she was about to throw away her only advocate for a simple ‘why’.

Dash looked up, “What?”

“You just walked away from a friendship you’ve had for years! I don’t understand…”

Are you Anon-a-Miss?”

“No!” Sunset denied earnestly.

“There you go then.” Rainbow nodded, gesturing as if Sunset had answered her own question. “It's...hard to choose one friend over another, but...you’re being blamed in place of someone who’s clearly setting you up. Red and yellow background. Seriously? Weak.”

Sunset rubbed her eyes.

“Are you gonna start crying again? I can get a tissue this time. I’d rather not spend another five minutes under the hand dryer.” Dash thumbed at the machine on the wall.

Sunset laughed. Her brain was frazzled and emotional state crippled. Dash cracking jokes right now...it was rather welcome actually. “No...I think I’m fresh out of tears for now. So, what next?”

“Go to class?” Rainbow shrugged, “Don’t exactly plan for stuff like this...or anything really.”

“Class?” Sunset gulped. She had several classes with each of her fri-...ex-friends. She only shared science with Rainbow, and that was after lunch.

“...how about you just skip?” She shrugged.

“Skip?” Sunset Shimmer was by no means a Twilight Sparkle when it came to punctuality, but the idea of just skipping classes rubbed her the wrong way.

“Oh come on. You’re seriously freaked out. Take an unexcused absence and chill with me until lunch.” Rainbow insisted.

Sunset hung her head, sighing, “Alright, okay.”

“We both need some time to chill out. Come hang with me on the field for a bit and let's just clear our heads.” She smiled, “Kick the ball around a bit.”

“I’m not exactly an athlete.” Sunset reminded. “And isn’t it cold outside? Snow on the ground?”

“I know. No competition, we’ll just hang. Trust me, you’ll be sweating in no time. The lawn care guys put this stuff on the field that doesn’t let snow stick, melts it before it can settle.” Rainbow assured, “Now c’mon, little fresh air does the body good.”

“I suppose that’s better than whatever’s waiting for me in class.” She nodded in hesitant agreement, “Yeah, okay.”

“Awesome. Lets hit the pitch. I could use some open space too.” Dash sighed in minor relief, waving for Sunset to follow her.

A considerable weight still hanging on her shoulders, she did, hoping the day couldn’t get any worse.


The buzzing of Rainbow’s phone was the first sign that something had indeed made the day worse.

“Notification?” Sunset asked, “Someone text you?”

“No.” Dash groaned, “The girls and I were talking before you showed up. Decided to keep an eye on Anon-a-Miss after she hit Applejack. We all followed her on MyStable in case she pulled anything else.” Retrieving her phone from her jacket, she checked the app, “...looks like she’s targeting others now.” She tossed Sunset her phone.

“Why?” She examined the post. Diamond Tiara, Lightning Dust, and Flash Sentry. Three posts. Three targets. “Oh no.”

“Figure something out?”

“No. Well...sort of. I recognize these secrets.” Sunset grimaced.

“...what do you mean?”

“I had dirt on everyone in the school. Had to keep track of it somehow. I think…” She sighed, “Whoever Anon-a-Miss is must’ve found one of my caches.”

Rainbow set an analyzing gaze on Sunset, “Caches…?”

“...” Sunset blinked, trying to figure out what the look meant, “...oh! No!” She shook her head rapidly, “I wasn’t going to use any of it, I swear! I had multiple copies, digital and physical, she must’ve found one of the ones I missed in getting rid of!”

Dash nodded, “Okay, that makes sense...how much did you have?”

“Had something on everyone in school.” Sunset sagged, “I was...thorough. Lumen...I really was awful.”

Rainbow decided to change the direction of the conversation, “What’s a Lumen? You mentioned that twice now.”

“Oh, you know how most people here say ‘by God’ and whatever?”

“What, the pony god’s called Lumen?” Rainbow scratched her head.

“Lumencia. The Scribe. She’s the creator of my world, so yes, basically.”

“You mean, supposedly, right?”

“...no, its...kinda just known fact. She is the creator.”

The other girl gawked, “How can you know that?”

“Her daughters are Equestria’s rulers. The first two alicorns are descendents of the Goddess.” Sunset shrugged, “I mean...it is more complex than that, but it's a bit of a story.”

“Maybe...some other time.” Rainbow blinked, feeling it a bit odd to know that a portal away, there was physical proof of at least one omnipotent deity. “That’s a...revelation. Why haven’t we asked more about Equestria?” She mused.

“I dunno. I’m not hiding anything about it.” They pushed open one of the side doors, leading out onto the soccer field, “So be honest. How many classes have you skipped to be out here?” The two dumped their bags on the bleachers. “Kinda chilly out here.” As promised, the field itself was clear of all snow, the white blanket outlining the whole pitch.

“No one needs to know.” She winked. “And told ya it would be. Team’s gotta practice. Wood-floored gym doesn’t get it done right.”

Sunset raised an eyebrow.

“Okay so Mr. Cranky doesn’t care how long you’re ‘in the bathroom’ for.” Dash amended, “As long as he gets to teach the class in silence.”

“How very west coast of you.” Sunset snarked.

“Oi!” Dash laughed, “Do I look the type to get pass out, drugged up on the beach?”

“...”

“Don’t answer that.” Dash pouted. The two cracked up, laughing a moment later. “Here, lemme swipe a ball from the gym.” The rainbow teen jogged over to the other entrance, peeking inside and stepping in. She was just about to grab a ball when she heard a voice.

“Skipping out on class again, Dash?” A Canterhorn accent spoke from behind her.

“Maybe a little?” Dash chuckled, glancing back, “Hey Mist.”

“Hi there, cap.” She hopped down from the indoor bleachers where she had been sitting earlier. “I know the field’s tempting, but I can’t imagine these little escapades are helping your studies. ...How’s physics treating you, again?” She teased.

Dash frowned, “Don’t mention that. Last thing I want is for MyStable to pick up on it.”

Misty’s expression dropped, crossing her arms, “As much as I hate to see all of this spread, I also hate how much everyone just plays right into it.”

“Yeah.” She sighed, “I just...it's frustrating—not having any clues, that is.”

“So then… you don’t think it’s Sunset Shimmer?” Misty asked, expression staying neutral.

“No, I don’t. In fact I know she’s innocent.” Dash responded, face mirroring hers.

“Hmm?” Misty looked genuinely curious, “How so?”

“Because I trust her. This just isn’t the kind of thing she’d do.” Rainbow knew the lack of evidence wasn’t going to be very convincing, but she stood by it nonetheless.

“You seem pretty firm in that belief.” Misty noted.

“I am. Am I going out on a limb assuming that you aren't?”

“I’m not against believing that the largest bully in Canterlot High has changed, but… You know that I can’t say anything. The last thing this team needs is to be publically mowed down by the other students again.” Misty sighed, “And, well, not everyone in this school has healed so quickly from what she did before and during the Fall Formal. Some still hold grudges.”

“Even after she helped us save the school? Hell, the whole world probably?!” Dash asked, gesturing wildly to make her point.

“I didn’t say it was me, cap. I know what she did at the Battle of the Bands, and I think it was a good start. Others, though, need more convincing: four years worth it at this point, probably.” She shook her head.

“...are we talking about Flatfoot?” Dash sneered. This was the last thing she needed right now.

“I’m not naming names.” Misty said before leaning into her and coughing, “HUH-yes-UGH.”

“Is she gonna cause a problem?” She asked. Fleet had never been one to pick fights, but she ran her mouth as well as Rainbow could.

“I don’t believe so.” Misty said simply, “But she might run her big mouth if we publically stand with you both. ...I’d rather we stay quiet.” She paused, “Still… You’re free to come to us if you need anything, and punt me if you ever see me ridiculing another in the halls like the rest. Can you promise me that?”

“I promise to give you a good flogging if you step outta line. Promise to give Fleet a bit more.” She nodded, “And...I guess I understand. Not happy about it, but I understand.”

“It’s a few stupid rumors, Dash, it should blow over soon. The rest of the team and I will swear not to discuss it at all. Besides…” She gave a tired smile, “All my secrets have been used up over the years, there’s nothing more Anon-A-Miss can put out there.”

“If you say so, Mist.” She sighed, “And yeah, sorry I wasn’t able to help much back then.”

Misty just shrugged, “Live and learn.”

Dash bounced the soccer ball a few times, reflecting on the memories. “Guess so...where’s Surprise on all this?”

“Probably in the locker room, bathing in hand sanitizer.” Misty joked.

Dash chuckled, “What happened this time?”

“It’s just the constant state of being Surprise, she doesn’t need a reason.”

“That family is...something else. Hey, if she wants to yell at Pinkie, I can allow that.” A sour expression crossed Dash’s face.

“Good luck convincing her to do so. She and her cousin actually don’t talk all that much.” Misty said, “Who knows why?”

She nodded, “Yeah...so what’s the bottom line? Not with me or against me?”

“In public… Yes. But if you ever need a place to hide out, we’ll have your back.” Misty pat Dash on the shoulder, “We are your team after all.”

“Better than nothing, and miles more than what my ‘friends’ are doing.” Dash sighed, “Thanks, Misty. Can you try to keep Fleet from doing anything stupid?”

“I can try, for sure.” Misty said with a grin, “Not everyone can control Fleetfloot.”

“Let us pray that one day we can find someone powerful enough.” Dash joked, laughing.

“I will eat my shoe when that day comes.” Misty pressed her fists to her hips, smirking.

“Just be sure someone’s there to record that.” Dash nodded, bouncing the ball again, “Well, I should get back to Sunset. I’ll catch ya later, Misty.”

“See ya, Dash.”

Dash waved again, walking back outside with the ball now in her possession. Sunset had taken a spot up on the bleachers, laying down and staring at the sky. “Tanning?” She called, chuckling.

Sunset stretched, sitting up, “Waiting for you. What took you?”

“Ran into Misty. Chatted for a bit.”

“Misty Fly?” Sunset winced, knowing that the yellow soccer player wasn’t exactly her biggest advocate.

“She basically said my team’s there if we need them, but they won’t be supporting us publicly.”

“Because of me.”

It was Dash’s turn to wince, adding on a shrug.

“Can’t say I’m too surprised. Just had make an example out of Misty in freshman year.” Sunset sighed, making her way down to Rainbow. During Sunset’s little rise to power, her weapon of choice was the blackmail she would lord over other students. However, it was only inevitable that simple threats would stop working. That situation was Misty Fly. The girl had stood up to Sunset when she had attempted to spread her control over the soccer team. While it had indeed deflected Sunset away more or less, it wasn’t without damage. Resulting in the release of Misty’s relation to the Northstars, a family of powerful politicians, to the school.

Dash shrugged, “Yeah, I mean, Misty wasn’t exactly holding her head high for a while, but she’s gotten over it. Said she doesn’t have any big secrets left.”

“Let's...not focus on this right now.” Sunset rubbed her arm, “You got the ball?”

Dash bounced it, spinning it on her finger, “Let’s play!”

She brightened a bit. It’d be nice to just relax after everything that had just happened.


Time passed faster than Sunset could’ve expected. Both she and Dash had ditched their respective jackets despite the chilly weather as the simple pattern of kicking the ball back and forth turned into a full one on one game. Sunset had said so herself: she was no athlete, but she was nimble and stubborn to a fault. Even if that wasn’t enough to stop Dash from scoring five points to Sunset’s two, she had made the brightly hued girl work for it.

Two bells later, lunch had finally come around, “I’m gonna assume you don’t want to go eat in the lunchroom?”

“Where everyone else is? Including the girls?” Sunset shook her head, “Think we could just...eat in the gym or something?” She pulled her jacket back on, the warmth of their sports rush fading away and the winter chill creeping back in.

“Sure thing. How about I go grab whatever grub they’re serving up and meet you back there?” Dash nodded, “Mind takin’ my backpack in there?”

“Sounds like a plan.” Sunset nodded, shouldering her own pack and retrieving Rainbow’s by the grip. The two walked back into the gym, taking a spot on the now vacant bleachers.

“Alright, be right back!” Rainbow nodded with a grin, jogging out of the gym, hoping to grab some food before the lunch rush. While not at its full capacity, the lunchroom was teeming with her peers as per usual. Beyond that, given the rather loud arguments being shouted across tables, Dash could only assume Anon-a-Miss had struck again.

Unknown to her, three pairs of eyes followed her as she stepped into line for a meal.

“Now, upload it now!” Sweetie Belle urged quietly.

“I’m typin’ it up!” Scootaloo responded tersely, hammering away on the touch screen. “And...upload!” She grinned.

“...”

“...uh, where’s the ‘bing’?” Apple Bloom tilted her head.

Scootaloo looked back at the phone, “Damn it! This is why we use a computer or a hotspot! It's the cafeteria wifi! It's still uploading!” The upload meter read at 45 percent.

Dash meanwhile had received her two lunches and was heading back, making a point to not look over at the familiar lunch table on the far side of the room as she left.

The bar inched further to 68 percent.

“Its...it’ll be fine.” Scootaloo assured. “It’ll go up while she’s away from Sunset, and that will be the end of that.” She set the phone back down with a lazy grin.

82 percent.

Rainbow made her way back down the hall, tray in each hand, unaware that she was racing against the clock. ‘Man, this is really starting to spread out. How are we gonna deal with all this?’ She winced. This was getting complex fast. Sunset was already looking guilty, and if Anon-a-Miss really had this master flash drive, that wouldn’t exactly clear the air.

97 percent.

“Hey, Sunset! I got the-”

BING

“...” Sunset and Dash met each other's gazes. “Did...was that-”

“Anon-a-Miss.” Dash nodded, “She just uploaded…”

“While you were looking right at me.” Sunset’s flat expression grew into a grin.

Dash set the trays down on the bench before clapping, “Haha! I knew it! I knew it wasn’t you!”

Sunset hopped up, latching onto Rainbow again, “Yes!”

She laughed, “Heh, you’re really huggy today.”

“It's been a really emotional day.” She sighed, falling back onto the seat, her friend taking a spot next to her as they began nibbling on their school-approved gruel.

“So...now what?” Dash asked.

“Well, what was the post?”

“Oh yeah!” She chuckled, “Almost forgot.” She paused as soon as she saw what was on the site. ‘What a dunce!’ The text read, published right alongside the photo of Rainbow Dash’s last science paper, large ‘F’ and all. “...”

“...Dash?”

Rainbow grabbed her backpack, digging through it rapidly and ripping out the same science paper, “...how...how’d she do that?!”

“Your paper?” Sunset tried again.

“She uploaded my Buoyancy paper!” Dash shot back up, teeth grinding.

“Dash, easy, it's gonna be fine.” She stood after her, not wanting her to storm off or do something potentially regrettable, setting a hand on her shoulder. “This is actually a good clue!”

“How?” Rainbow sagged, rage draining just as quickly.

“Anon-a-Miss went out of her way to sneak a picture of your paper and post it online. She targeted you specifically. This wasn’t some secret that I had access to at any point. Why would she do that?”

“She’s framing you, I’m siding with you…” Dash rubbed her chin, “Do you think she wants you alone?”

“Could be. Too early to pass anything as being impossible.” She nodded, the bell for lunch signalling the end.

“Lunch is feeling shorter and shorter.”

“Anticipation for break. C’mon. Let's get to class and get out of here. We can regroup at your place and see if we can’t put something together.” Sunset nodded with a renewed energy.

“Yeah...yeah, that’s something of a plan.” She sighed, crumpling up her paper and stuffing it in her pocket, “Let’s...get out of here.”

The two walked out of the gym, passing by several groups of people all settling their glares on them. Despite this, with Rainbow by her side, Sunset felt as though she could hold her head high. They would find the perpetrator, and they would put an end to this.

Down the hall, a purple-haired freshman tossed a flash drive up and down in her hand with a frown on her face. She could feel her eye twitching every few seconds. ‘Fine then, Sunset. That how we’re gonna play? Okay. What happens next is on you.’ She stuffed her hands in her cargo pants, heading towards the library. Now there was no going back.

Author's Note:

A shout out to Dainn for pegging chapter 2's title from the song Sleep On The Floor by The Lumineers! Nice job, man.
Chapter 3 has landed and Anon-a-Miss is gaining traction. CHS is really becoming a madhouse now. Admittedly, I wasn't sure about the soccer scene out in the cold, but then I remembered how in both Middle School and High School, the football team would be practising no matter what the temperature, and some of the guys in track had their shirts off no matter what. So I'm going with plausible.

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