• Published 2nd Nov 2017
  • 4,082 Views, 76 Comments

What Happens at Clipper's, Stays at Clipper's - SunnyDays

Various one-shots set in the universe of "Empty Skies"

  • ...

Three Suns and a Dawning Heart (Finale)

Author's Note:

Surprise! Honestly, this was originally supposed to be the second half of part three, but I figured that it could be split into its own part. Here's the last bit of Celestia's escapades in the human world, and the final part of Three Suns. This isn't the end of Clipper's, though, there's still more shenanigans to come!

I hope everyone enjoys!

Sunset took in a shaky breath as she unlocked the front door of Clipper’s, Celestia at her side. It’d be hard to start her mentor and guardian “Mother”, but it seemed that Celestia didn’t mind. They’d work into it, slowly but surely, Sunset decided.

As she opened the door, Sunset peeked around inside. It seemed that Soarin had indeed shut down the shop early and had already gone home. She stepped confidently inside and had Celestia shut the door behind them. The lock clicked into place, and Sunset headed into her room, dumping her mountains of shopping bags onto the bed.

"Do you have a better place to put all of that until your new wardrobe comes in?" Celestia asked her.

"I mean, the locker will work." Sunset assured, "I'll just have to stack everything for a few days. It'll be fine."

"Mm." Celestia hummed again, not judgemental, but with a hint of worry.

Sunset began to tuck some of the bags into the locker, glancing over at Celestia as she smoothed the elegant white dress out onto her daybed. It struck Sunset as being a bit too formal for this occasion and worried that Soarin and Nightshade wouldn't have enough heads-up to prepare. It was apparent that Celestia had lofty expectations for this meeting, and Sunset idly wondered if the two could size up to it.

That led her mind to Nightshade, just sort of in general. She didn't really know much about Soarin's little sister, though he talked about her often. She was another factor in this that Sunset couldn't quite pin down. What was she really like, and would she go along with Soarin's escapades? She'd been one of the most heavily affected by the Anon-a-Miss incident and was most likely still hurting from the secret spilled about her. Sunset didn't want to think about the details.

Sunset laid out one of the dresses she'd bought from their excursion to the mall today, a short red dress with a black netlike overlay sown over it. It allowed the red to show through the neat circular cuts in the black netting. In all, it had the nice effect of showing some depth while still attaining the tough look Sunset loved to portray. Paired with her new heels and the jacket, she looked like the powerhouse of a woman.

Meanwhile, Celestia gave off a different vibe. Now sporting the sleet white dress, her mentor looked like a goddess. The dress flowed around her in several layers, including a cape like train that rolled off of her shoulders. The gold and purple jewelry she had come through the portal with only added to that sense of wealth and elegance.

It was almost deceiving. And intimidating as well.

"So, are we ready?" Sunset asked, feeling severely underdress in comparison to the woman next to her. It was needed, though. At least it wouldn't look bad if Soarin and Nightshade did the same.

"Do you know where we're going?" Celestia responded, looking herself over in the full-sized mirror Sunset had hanging on the back of her door.

"I do. And we can take another cab to get there." She paused, "Not that they live far, really."

Celestia fluttered out of the door, the dress billowing behind her like a wedding gown, "Let's go, then!"

Sunset followed confidently, feeling natural walking with heels. It did admittedly feel nice to have new clothes on. Not that she disliked the old jacket or anything, but her new one smelled like new leather and was cold to the touch. She regretted not wearing leggings or stockings under her dress as they stepped outside, however. Her fingers shook as she called for the cab to pick them up.

Celestia glanced behind at Sunset when she heard the sound of her teeth chattering. "Cold? Here, let me summon some fire to warm you-"

"-No, no, don't." Sunset replied, "I don't think you can, but I wouldn't risk summoning fire here or letting anyone see you try magic."

Celestia blinked, "Oh. Right." She mused, "Have you tried, though?"

"Tried? Yes. Failed? Absolutely."

"Didn't Twilight say that there was a little bit of magic here, though?"

"I mean, she figured out a piece of it. Kind of. Something about bursting into song or playing music giving us tails, wings, and/or horns."

Celestia gave her a look, "Erm, music?"

"I know. I don't understand either." Sunset frowned and crossed her arms, "And I'm pretty sure it was Dash who found it out for us. On accident."

Celestia mused on this for a moment, "I honestly have no idea how to explain those things, Sunset."

"Neither do we. Twilight assumes it's friendship and shrugs it off. I've tried studying it and found absolutely nothing."

Celestia chuckled quietly, "I'm not really sure what to tell you, honestly."

"That's alright." Sunset sighed, "It's not like I'll be focusing on that any time soon."

The cab pulled up, and the two climbed in. They rode for about a minute in silence before Celestia spoke up.

"Oh! What about these new friends of yours? Do they have any magic?" Celestia asked.

"The team?" Sunset mused. "Um, not that I know of. Soarin plays instruments all the time, and I've never seen him start floating and gain a tail."

"Then perhaps you can look into crossing ‘friendship’ by itself off the list," Celestia said simply. "It must've been something to do with the element that you brought into this world."

"That would make sense." Sunset nodded, "But aren't the elements studyable in some way?"

"Not really." Celestia replied, "Or at least, not that Twilight's come to anything conclusive over. I'd say she's in the same spot as you when it comes to being stumped over that magic."

"Funny, I'd think 'Twilight Sparkle not knowing something about magic' would become a high priority on the freakout scale or the fanatic, obsessive study list."

Celestia frowned, "That wouldn't be healthy for her."

"No, but that's who I know," Sunset smirked.

"Well, I suppose that her student and her self-assigned royal duties are keeping her busy enough."


Celestia watched as they pulled up to the household in question, "I think that's a topic for later."

"Mmm, maybe so." Sunset shrugged, paying the cabbie and getting out. They’d be getting to that discussion later, Sunset decided. Something about Celestia’s flippant attitude towards Twilight’s studies rubbed her the wrong way.

Her attention pulled from the cab as it headed off, Sunset got a look at the home before her. She had never seen Soarin's home before, though she had the address in case of emergencies. It was small and only had one story. But it was in the Cloudsdale district of the city, which tended to be the nicer side of the neighborhoods. The outside looked clean and trimmed, but also a little cramped. There was no backyard to speak of, and Sunset could hear the distant sounds of cars rushing by on a busy road in the distance.

She knocked on the door three times and waited.

Spitfire opened the door, much to Sunset’s surprise, and smirked at them both. “Evening. You two look nice tonight.” She, too, looked good. She was wearing a long, tight red dress with a slit on the right side. It was classy and… admittedly rather sexy, Sunset confessed to herself. She had done herself up to the nines with evening gloves and everything.

In comparison to her, Sunset was definitely underdressed.

“Sp-Spits?” Sunset sputtered out, “Um, hey! Wasn’t expecting you!”

Spitfire smirked, holding open the door and ushered them inside, “Hope you two don't mind. Soarin decided that I needed to meet the Princess too. Good to meet you, Celestia, I'm Spitfire." She held out her hand to Celestia without hesitation and Celestia took it with a smile.

"Nice to meet you, Ms. Spitfire." She glided past, already looking pleased.

Sunset walked up to Spits as she closed the door behind them, noticing the glowing mood Celestia was in. "...I dunno what you just did, Spits, but I think it saved my ass somehow."

Spitfire winked at her, "It's the natural charm, Pheen, you'll understand someday."

Sunset pulled her into a hug, "Whatever you want to call it, thanks."

"Not a problem." She placed a hand on Sunset's shoulder, "Let's get to the dining room."

Spits guided the two to Soarin's formal dining room. It wasn't anything fancy, considering Soarin had a whole of three hours to throw it together, but it was obvious that he had done his best. A large platter of salad and a bowl of steamed, mixed vegetables sat atop a cheap purple tablecloth.

Soarin stepped forward first, and Sunset blushed lightly when she saw him. He was also decked out as far as he could go, in a full suit with a dark blue tie. He smelled like a mixture of shaving cream and cologne, and Sunset took a moment to appreciate exactly how wide his shoulders were. She knew the man was muscular, but with the crispness of the black suit, it was outlined even more than usual.

Celestia raised an eyebrow at him as she took his hand, "My, don't you clean up well?" She sent a knowing glance over to Sunset, who froze up for a moment under her watch.

"Why thank you." Soarin smiled at her before looking at Sunset as well, "Um, you okay?"

“Oh, um, yeah, I’m fine.” Sunset cleared her throat, “I was just a little stunned. You guys didn’t have to get all dressed up.”

“Hey, it gives us an excuse to.” Nightshade swaggered over, and to Sunset’s relief, she was also wearing a short dress that was fairly simple. It was a flat indigo color with a triangular slit on her chest. It was fitting nonetheless, and the gold eyeshadow she had on glimmered in the dim light, somehow only making her eyes brighter, especially against the contrast of her dark blue hair.

Sunset pressed her mouth into a thin line, and she found that she was no longer cold. ‘...What’s going on with me?!’ She asked herself as she watched Nightshade shake hands with Celestia and smile, ‘I don’t normally look at them like this.’ She swallowed hard and smiled at Nightshade when attention was turned back to her, ‘I-It has to be that everyone’s just all dressed up. There’s no other-’ Spitfire glided back into the room, and Sunset’s eyes followed her, ‘Oh, why am I noticing just now how attractive my friends are?! Really, Sunset, not the right time!’

As Sunset argued with herself internally, the five of them sat around the table, and Soarin laughed nervously, “I’m sorry that dinner’s not all that grand, I know that you and Sunset are both vegetarians, but I admittedly don’t know many appropriate recipes.”

Celestia chuckled, “That’s alright. I’m certainly eyeing up that salad you have.” She looked over at the salad coyly, “Thank you for the invite tonight, and on such short notice of my arrival.”

“Hey, it’s not a problem.” Soarin said, “Besides, I figured this was the best time for you to ask us some questions, if you’d like.”

“I would, actually. Where are the two of your parents?” Celestia watched and Nightshade and Soarin both tensed.

“...They passed away.” Spitfire answered for them, scooping some salad onto her plate and avoiding eye contact, “About a year ago, now.”

Celestia’s face softened in a slight panic, “Oh dear, I’m sorry, I didn’t know-”

“It’s alright.” Nightshade was the one to speak up, giving a strained smile, “...We’re happy without them. Right?” She looked over at Soarin, who seemed more openly distraught.

It took him a minute, but he pulled a few pieces of squash onto his plate before answering her, “...Yes, we’re happier without them.”

Celestia looked between the siblings, feeling the tension fill the room because of her question. So, she moved on. “What is it that you both do?” Her question was pointed obviously to the older two around the table.

Spitfire stabbed her salad with her fork, “I’m studying finance at the local college, and I play in their soccer team. Being the hometown hero and whatnot.”

“Finance? Ohh, an interest of mine as well.” Celestia nodded at her with a smile, “If you ever need advice on how to budget the taxes of a nation, I’m your mare.” They shared a quick laugh before Celestia looked to Soarin.

“I’m getting my business degree online with our inheritance money. Obviously I also run Clipper’s with the other time in my day.” Soarin said, “With music being pretty big here, I do fairly well.”

“How exactly does that all work?”

Soarin mused, “Well, I often have to go to people’s houses to teach private guitar lessons, and I make custom guitars by hand. It’s rare that we actually see a customer come into the shop because most everything’s online, now. That’s how we take a majority of our orders.”

Celestia nodded, seemingly finding that answer acceptable, “And how long have you known Sunset?”

Spits spoke up, "Been at least three months now that we've known Sunset. Misty brought her into the shop, and we all pretty much jumped to her defense from there on. Soarin and I renovated the back room of the shop to be more like a little apartment for her by hand, and the rest is history, really."

"Why is it that you jumped in?" Celestia asked, "Kind of strange to immediately take someone in, isn't it?"

"...No, not really." Spitfire admitted, "I have a track record of helping out heavily bullied dorks and helping them get back on their feet."

"You do?" Sunset asked, suddenly jumping back into the conversation. "I've never heard this story."

Spitfire chuckled, "Yeah, actually. I did it with two different dorks in my junior year. Both were being heavily bullied in middle school for two completely different reasons, and I scooped them both up. Definitely never regretted it."

Soarin shook his head with a slightly amused smile, looking back over at Celestia, "I've been in a position like hers before, sort of. So it was only natural that I'd try to help."

"Neither of us were a part of this thing when it happened, either." Spitfire said, "So we didn't exactly have a bias going against her, and our friend Misty was vouching for her the whole way."

Celestia nodded at them both, looking over at Nightshade.

"Me? ...Well, honestly she and I haven't talked much, but I'm indebted to her."

Sunset looked over at Nightshade with a quirked eyebrow to find that the girl was talking right at her.

"I was targeted by Anon-a-Miss seemingly out of nowhere. I was the only student at Crystal Prep who Anon-a-Miss targeted, and the secret they spilled..." Nightshade lost her voice, and Soarin went to rise out of his seat before she continued, "Soarin told me that Sunset had been really upset when she learned that I was targeted, and had done everything in her power to stop them that night." Nightshade looked at Sunset again, only for a moment, before blushing and looking away, "I'm thankful that someone cared about me. Someone other than Soarin or Spits. I don't think I can repay that."

Sunset was blindsided by the sudden admittance, and the room went quiet as they dined. Sunset glanced up at Nightshade a few times, only for their eyes to meet and break away again. Sunset then looked over to Soarin, who gave her a reassuring smile.

After a while, Celestia spoke up again, "What a delicious meal."

"Yeah, it was." Sunset agreed.

"I have dessert too if you'd like." Soarin offered as he stood.

Celestia handed him her plate, "Dessert sounds delightful, thank you." She looked again at the other young women as Soarin went to fetch the cake. "So, I suppose I have one last question before I'm satisfied... What do you all think about Sunset, honestly?"

"Pheenie's the best!" They heard from the kitchen.

"...I imagine that she wants more than that, Soar." Sunset called back, deadpanning.

"Well, I think she has a lot of potential, personally," Spitfire said, "She knows what she wants and she shoots for it no matter what. That's pretty admirable."

"She's kind, too." Soarin said, coming in and placing a piece of cake in front of Celestia, much to her enjoyment, "And a hard worker. I don't think I'd be able to find someone else with half of the work ethic Sunset has if I tried."

Sunset smiled at the two of them, feeling warm all over from their complements, "Thank you both..." She looked over at her mentor, only to find her face smeared with the chocolate icing of the desert. “And thanks for the dessert, too.”

“As I said, not a problem.” Soarin cleared the table again once everyone was finished, and the group made their way to the door as Sunset called for the cab.

They said their all too long goodbyes and strutted out of the door. Now in the cab, Sunset looked over hopefully at Celestia.

“...Well?” Without a word, Celestia pulled Sunset into a side-hug. “I-Is that a yes, then?” Sunset laughed as she was ever so slightly smothered.

Celestia rested her chin on top of Sunset’s head with a smile, “It’s a yes. I’ve seen everything I need to. ...I know that you’re in good hands with those two. And if you aren’t, you can always find Cadence and I when you need us.”

“And then you’ll probably both go on a murder spree.”


“Nothing.” Sunset giggled, leaning forward and directing the cab driver to CHS. As she sat back, she felt Celestia’s arms wrap around her again. “Do you need me to come back with you?”

“I don’t think it’ll be needed.” Celestia smiled, “I know my way back, and I’ll be sure to tell Cadence that you have everything under control on your own.”

They arrived at the front of CHS, the two stepping out of the cab just so that Sunset could launch herself at Celestia one more time, “Thanks for doing this for me. Thanks for everything.” Celestia squeezed her tightly back, swinging her around a little for good measure.

They broke the embrace, and Celestia pecked the top of her forehead, “You’re very welcome. Be sure to stay in touch, and understand that Cadence is probably going to show up unannounced at least once.” Sunset felt a slight headache coming on from just the thought of that, but ignored it as a tightness welled in her chest as Celestia began to walk away.


Celestia froze, slowly turning back to face Sunset with a serene smile.

“Be safe getting home, okay?”

“Okay!” Celestia called as she disappeared into the night.

Sunset sighed once she was gone, slipping back into the cab and asking the driver to head to the nearest ice cream joint, sending out a single text, and almost feeling the vibrations of magic as the portal activated in the distance.

Cadence was awoken as a knock sounded on her door. Shining and Twilight had crashed next to her hours ago, and the record they had been listening to was back to the second track, softly playing in the background as she opened the door.

Her aunt was on the other side, her eyes red and watery, but a smile on her face.

“Auntie! You’re back!” Cadence greeted quickly, “But what happened? Where’s Sunset?”

“She’s back in that world.” Celestia said simply as Cadence came into the hallway and shut the door behind her. “And she’s so happy there, Cadence, I think it’s best that we leave her alone unless she asks for us.”

“Wha- But what about her safety? And why are you crying so much?” Cadence offered Celestia a tissue, and Celestia took it thankfully.

“She’s safe as can be, Cadence.” Celestia said, “She’s a smart mare, and she’s built up a home for herself. And…” Celestia tried not to laugh into the tissue, “She clearly as a herd in progress. You can’t take her away from that if you tried, so why should we even bother?”

Cadence’s eyes lit up with excitement, “NO! Really?! A herd?! How many? Mares? Stallions? Is Sunset at the head? Are they all attractive, Auntie? I have to know all of the dirt!”

Celestia wiped her eyes, using the tissue to tactically hide the shit-eating grin on her face, “Ohh, Cadence, I think I’ve had enough for tonight. Maybe we’ll talk about it more in the morning.” She blew her nose as she headed off, totally not trying to conceal the laugh, “I-I’m sure Sunset will tell you all about it the next time that she visits.”

Cadence was left incredibly confused as to why Celestia was acting this way, but assured of one thing. “I knew Sunset wasn’t being fully honest with me last time! It’s that boss of hers, isn’t it? Oh man, looks like it’s time to remap the shipping chart again!”

Celestia finally let herself laugh as she headed into her room and closed the doors. In the background, Cadence continued to ramble about all of the hurt Sunset was going to be in for not giving her the ‘juicy details’ she had been promised.

Sunset’s shoulders set back as she drowned her relief into a scoop of neapolitan, “And that’s the whole thing.” She told a slightly slackjawed Misty Fly as they sat in her apartment.

“Yeesh, I missed an adventure and a half.” She said as she bit into her cone, “So, your Mom’s back to being your Mom, you’ve worked everything out with your older sister, you’re now the dutchess of a city-state, and Soarin bribed his way into keeping you here with chocolate cake and well-timed complements.”

“Pretty much.”

Misty snorted, “And you have a crush on like three different people.” She paused, “Wait a minute, how come I’m not one of them?” She teased.

“Because you’re not just taken, but smitten, and I don’t really have crushes on three people. That was just an in the moment thing.” Sunset said, taking another bite of her ice cream and regretting it immediately after.

“Riiiight.” Misty elbowed her teasingly. “So now what’s the plan for you? You going to start going back to Equestria on the weekends? ...Can I come?”

"I guess I don't see why you can't, Misty," Sunset chuckled, “But all in all, I'm going to play it by ear. Go to Equestria when I feel like going. Let the rest of senior year play out, and think about what comes after when it actually comes.” Sunset said, “On top of that, enjoy the moment while it’s here. I mean, I’ve got some kickass friends to share it with.”

“True that.” Misty chuckled, kicking back with a smile. “You know we’ll have your back from now on, no matter what.”

“Just don’t jinx it.”

They suddenly heard a vibrating from inside of Sunset’s locker.

“Damn it Misty, I just said not to jinx it.” Sunset stood, shooting her friend a playful grin, and opened the locker. As she expected, her magic journal that she and Twilight used to keep in contact was vibrating violently. Sunset scooped it up, and dumped it onto the table she and Misty were sitting at. Misty poked it curiously, and it vibrated again at her touch.

Sunset sat down, wrangling with the moving book for a moment before getting it open to the newest page. In purple ink, Twilight had left her a message that spanned at least two pages. Sunset started at the first page of the new message and began to read, letting Misty scan it over from over her shoulder.

“You’re fucking kidding me…”

“Wait, what?” Misty asked as her eyes read over the page again, glancing at Sunset every few seconds to see how she was reacting to what the message said.

Sunset stared down at the message for awhile, blankly. She read it over again and again, letting out a few harsh breaths. Her hands clenched and unclenched.

“...Did you know?” Misty asked her quietly, sliding a hand over Sunset’s fist with caution.

“No.” Sunset bit back, scowling, “I never knew anything about a half-brother.”