• Published 8th May 2021
  • 1,780 Views, 92 Comments

Birthrights and Love - The Albinocorn

Sunset Shimmer knows she's not normal. Normal people can't levitate objects or shoot energy from their hands. When strange creatures come looking for her, Sunset begins her path back to her true home and the birthright that awaits her.

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1. Sisters

Sunset Shimmer was weird.

Once, long ago, Sunset was bullied for her abnormalities. She had been thin, she had been short, and she had been weird. When the children played jump rope, Sunset would jump too high, so they called her ‘kangaroo.’ When they played hide-n-seek and it took hours for kids to find her, even though she had only been in a bush and not very well concealed, they called her a cheater. And when someone would stand too close or hug her, and suddenly get shoved away or shocked without Sunset ever touching them, they would call her a freak.

Then, Sunset got her growth spurt.

Gone was the thin, short, weird girl. In her place was the lean, tall, leather jacket-wearing young woman. She was still weird, but you would never say it to her face. And the students at Canterlot High knew it. Gone was the girl they had teased and pushed in elementary school. Sunset Shimmer did the teasing and pushing now. If someone wanted to catch her, she’d run quick as the wind. If she didn’t want to be found by anyone, they would never find a hair on her. And if someone was brave enough or stupid enough to fight her, they’d find themselves on their back, staring up at the sky without Sunset having even laid a punch.

She walked down the halls of CHS, boots clicking against the floor while the shoes of the other students squeaked as they scrambled out her way. She kept her hands in the pockets of her leather jacket and a lollipop in her mouth. Her crimson and gold hair flowed like silk behind her. Her teal eyes scanned the crowd before her, searching for one girl in particular. A few students caught her eye as she passed. Some of them gave a hesitant wave or smile. Sunset would snap her fingers and point at some of them in acknowledgment. The ones that hadn’t earned her ire yet.

She crossed through the school’s front rotunda, pausing to check her reflection in one of the many trophies the school had acquired over the years. She straightened her purple shirt, smoothed out her orange skirt, and gave her hair a flip. Looking good, Shimmer. She grinned at herself and moved on.

A little self-confidence went a long way.

On the other side of the brightly lit entrance hall were the lockers where students were busy grabbing their supplies for their next class. Sunset paid them no mind as she honed on her target. A devious grin spread across her face as Sunset crept upon her. Arms spread wide, she clamped down on the girl’s shoulders.

“Gimme your lunch money, nerd!”

Gaaah!” Twilight Sparkle jumped, her glasses flying off her face. Though they were a good two feet above her, Sunset snatched them from the air and handed them over.

“Sunny!” Twilight slipped them on and glared at her. “How many times have I told you not to do that?”

Sunset shrugged. “Seven, eight?”

“Exactly twenty-three times counting today!”

“All right, don’t fog your glasses.” Sunset continued to grin, seeing the bottom half of Twilight’s lenses already steaming up. “How else should I greet my baby sister?”

Twilight grabbed her AP English textbook and closed her locker. “A hug? A tap on the shoulder? Anything that doesn’t scare me half to death?”

“Nah, that sounds boring.”

Pushing her glasses up her nose, Twilight sighed and grumbled, “You’re impossible.”

“You’re right, Sparky, I am incredible.”

Despite the scowl she tried to make, Twilight’s eyes carried that light of amusement Sunset loved to see. Twilight gave her a playful shove, unable to hold her scowl any longer, losing it to an exasperated grin. “Do you wanna head down to Sugarcube Corner after school?” she asked.

Sunset shrugged nonchalantly. “I guess that could be fun.”

“Stop it. I know how much you love their milkshakes.”

“Pfft, they’re average at best. But since you’re dying for me to spend time with you, I can indulge you today.” She laughed when Twilight pushed her again. As they started down the hall, Sunset pulled a handful of lollipops from her pocket and fanned them out for Twilight. Naturally, her hand went straight for the grape flavor.

With her ponytail and thick-rimmed glasses, the lollipop didn’t make her look cool in any way like it did for Sunset. Oh well, being cute is a close second.

The bell rang, and the two parted ways, Twilight off to her AP English class and Sunset off to history. Taking AP classes as a freshman. If Twilight keeps it up, we might graduate together.

The rest of school went by at a snail’s pace as it always did. Sunset tried to play the game ‘Don’t Look at the Clock,’ but after what felt like an hour of succeeding, she checked and found, to her horror, that only fifteen minutes had passed. She buried her face in her textbook and let out a small groan.

It wasn’t that she hated school. But after ten and a half grades of the same thing, Sunset could barely stand it. Seeing the same faces day in and day out didn’t help either, especially when most of them had teased and pushed Sunset only a few years ago. Now they did everything to avoid her, lest they incur her wrath.

She supposed that was the last silver lining school provided for her. She had the power to get anyone to do anything whenever she wanted. Or rather, when Twilight wouldn’t find out.

After an eternity filled with the drone of Mr. Noteworthy’s lecture, school finally concluded. Sunset licked her lips at the thought of the strawberry milkshake waiting for her. But first…

As the students filed out of the classroom, Sunset pointed at them with a finger, muttering, “Eeny, meeny, miny, you’ll do. Hey, Roseluck.”

Roseluck froze, but only after her shoulders jumped like she had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. She slowly turned around. “Oh, h-hi, Sunset.”

Sunset slid an arm around her, gently petting her shoulder while steering her down the hall. “So, listen, my sister and I are gonna go hang out today, and I really don’t think I’ll have time to do that history assignment. Be a peach and make a copy for me, yeah?” Her palm heated up as she gave Roseluck’s shoulder a squeeze.

Roseluck bit her lip and rapidly nodded her head. “Y-yeah, of course! Anything for you, Sunset!”

“I knew you’d say yes,” Sunset said with a false cheery smile. The heat in her hand faded away and she let Roseluck run off. It’s good to be queen.

She pulled a lollipop from her pocket and placed it in her mouth. Watermelon this time. It wasn’t often she coerced other students into doing her work for her; usually because they could never do it right. But it was fun just to remind them sometimes that she could make them do what she wanted. And some days, she just couldn’t be bothered to do the homework.

Twilight waited for her at the front steps, idly tapping a toe against one of the cracks in the cement. Sunset decided to be merciful and not scare the living daylights out of her this time, tapping her sister on the shoulder instead.

“Ready to go, nerd?”

Twilight elbowed her. “You’re one to talk. You tutored me in advanced algebra.”

“You’re the one who took advanced algebra.”

They made their way across the front yard, Twilight eyeing the Wondercolt statue as they went. The rearing horse on the tall marble plinth shone brightly in the afternoon sun.

“Sometimes, I feel something coming from the statue,” Twilight whispered. “It feels like when you use your… you know, abilities.

“You mean magic?”

“Unexplainable occurrences,” Twilight said, louder. Her voice softened. “I don’t know. It’s all strange to me. I’m sure there’s a rational explanation somewhere.”

Sunset didn’t answer. She looked back at the statue. There had always been something nostalgic about it. She couldn’t say it brought her any comfort. It was more like… longing. For what, she couldn’t say. She shook her head. This train of thought always led to an empty station.

Like every other day, Twilight regaled Sunset with everything that she had learned. With a sister like Twilight, Sunset didn’t see the need to do homework; she could learn everything through osmosis. She nodded absently and said, “Uh-huh,” and “that’s exciting,” in a dispassionate voice. But seeing Twilight’s face light up when she talked about learning always warmed Sunset’s heart.

And like every other day, Sugarcube Corner was packed with students getting their afterschool fix of sugar and caffeine. Sunset approached one of the booths by the windows and snapped her fingers at the couple sitting there. “Sorry, table’s been reserved.”

“R-right, yeah, sorry, Sunset,” Sandalwood said, taking his girlfriend by the hand and scurrying off.

Sunset plopped down on the red cushions and put her boots up. “What?” she asked, watching Twilight slide in on the other side with a disapproving frown.

“You know I hate it when you do that.”

“Oh come on, I’m not hurting anyone. Besides, it’s all just—”

“I know, I know,” Twilight said, putting her hands up and making air quotes. “‘Payback.’ Sunset, I know some of these kids were mean to you when you were younger, but don’t you think you take things too far sometimes?”

“I’m not hurting anyone,” Sunset said defensively. “Unless they try to pick a fight with me first. All I do is make sure people understand that I’m in charge.”

“By intimidating them.”

“You make it sound so bad when you use that tone.”

Twilight sighed and looked at her with puppy dog concern. “I just worry about you sometimes. I don’t like thinking my sister is a bully. What would Shining say?”

Sunset put her boots down and rested her chin against her palm. “Knowing him, he’d give me a whole lecture about how ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’ and ‘take the moral high ground’ and blah, blah, blah.”

“And he’d be right,” Twilight said, her voice entering ‘lecture mode’. “You don’t need to prove anything; everyone already knows you’re the toughest girl in school. You made sure of that. Now, you’re just being mean for the sake of it. I’m glad you haven’t hurt anyone physically, but what about emotionally? Bullying of any degree can cause lasting damage to someone.”

“Like me?”

“Exactly! You’re just perpetuating this cycle of revenge!”

“Okay, okay, I get it,” Sunset said holding her hands up. “Stop guilt-tripping me; you’re making me sound like I’m some tyrannical maniac. If it’ll help you sleep at night, I’ll try to be a little nicer to people. At least the ones who haven’t slighted me yet.” Her smarmy grin faltered under Twilight’s violet eyes sparkling with a silent plea. “Fine, everyone.”

Twilight smiled. “Thank you, Sis.”

“Yeah, yeah. I’ll go get our drinks. The usual?”

“Yes, please.”

Sunset slid out the booth and got in line. She glanced about the sweet shop. Everyone was engrossed in personal conversations. Any wandering eyes that made contact with Sunset’s gaze quickly looked away. As it should be. Sunset had power, and people either feared or respected that power. That was how the world worked. Just because she exerted that power on occasion didn’t make her evil, it just kept everyone else in line.

Sunset approached the counter and said in a polite voice to Mrs. Cake, “One strawberry milkshake with extra cream, and a mint chocolate chip shake, please.” With or without her power, Sunset treated most authorities with respect. They hadn’t bullied her after all.

With milkshakes in hand, Sunset turned to return back to Twilight and immediately felt her blood boil.

Two guys dressed in finely made uniforms hovered around Twilight. If Sunset had to put them on a scale from ‘rich snob’ to ‘creepy dork’ they would fall neatly in the middle.

The one leaning on the corner of the booth had neatly combed black hair, gray skin, and shiny glasses that sat on the edge of his nose while he grinned down at Twilight. The other one sat uncomfortably close to her, giving a smolder that only made her huddle in on herself. The boy had floofy blonde hair that looked like hay against his brown skin. Between his designer glasses and his friend’s ascot, Sunset wasn’t sure which one wanted their ass kicked more.

Sunset fumed through her nostrils. She slammed the milkshakes down on a random table and marched over, fists balled. “And what do you two think you’re doing?” she asked in a low growl.

The gray one lifted his head to her, looking at her from over his glasses with an unimpressed frown. “Trying to have a conversation. Do you mind?”

“Just a little bit.” Sunset stopped inches from his face. She took immense satisfaction in seeing his cool demeanor falter. “Seems to me you were looking for a little more than a ‘conversation.’”

The chatter around them had slowed down, heads turning as a tension mounted in the shop, then quickly turning away when they saw it was Sunset.

“Listen, girly,” the blonde one said, “we’re not bothering anyone, right… I’m sorry, purple angel, I didn’t get your name.”

“T-Twilight,” she squeaked. She looked at Sunset, wide eyes saying, ‘I don’t wanna be here, but please don’t do anything rash.’

Sunset heard half the message.

“She doesn’t wanna talk to you,” Sunset said, her voice cold and sharp. “So why don’t you two just move along before something regrettable happens.”

“Yeah?” the blonde one asked. “And who are you to make us?”

“I’m her sister.” Something welled up from Sunset’s core; the surging warmth that always came right before the ‘weird’ thing happened. Arms at her sides, she spread her fingers, willing the warmth to her hands and then to the world around her.

At Canterlot High, there was one rule all followed: don’t mess with Sunset Shimmer. But as of this year, there was a second, even more, critical rule everyone adhered to. Do not mess with her sister.

The brown hair boy flew out from the booth like he had been thrown by an invisible giant. He crashed into his friend, sending them both into the table Sunset had left her drinks on. With a loud rattle and clank, pink and green dairy products splashed down onto them, drenching their uniforms and leaving chocolate chips in their hair. They looked up at Sunset, fear overriding their rampant confusion.

“Leave. Now,” Sunset growled.

The two boys scrambled over one another and fled out the front door, the bell above ringing a polite farewell. Sunset ignored the quiet atmosphere of the shop and grabbed a handful of napkins from the nearest table. She cleaned up the leftover milkshake spill and returned to the front counter.

“Sorry about that, Mrs. Cake. Do you think I could get two more of those?” she asked sincerely.

“Um… sure, sweetie,” Mrs. Cake said with an uneasy smile.

Chatter resumed once more, random eyes chancing a look in Sunset’s direction every so often. Sunset returned with new glasses and handed one to Twilight. Her sister accepted it, but it was with a frown and sad eyes.

“What?” Sunset asked.

“I just asked you to be nicer to people.”

“Yeah, but, they were creeps, you were uncomfortable, and I gave them a warning. Plus, did you see their uniforms? They were from Crystal Prep. I feel like this was a win for everyone here.”

“You still shouldn’t have done that.

Sunset took a sip of her sweet strawberry shake. A nagging presence in her mind took some of the sweetness away. Said presence always stirred after she used her abilities for… less than favorable things. She didn’t call it her conscience because it didn’t feel like hers per se. Perhaps she had just lived with Twilight’s nagging for so long, she had wormed her way into her subconscious.

Speaking of Twilight, she had her eyes cast down at the table and was taking forlorn sips of her shake.

Sunset gave a guilty exhale and flapped her lips. “Listen, I’m sorry, okay? You of all people know I’m rough around the edges and can be a little overprotective.”

“Yes, you and Shining both. I’m not mad that you want to protect me. I just get worried when you do that stuff in public.” Twilight lowered her voice. “One day, someone’s going to ask questions, then that person’s going to ask questions, and eventually, someone’s going to take you away to do bad science on you!”

Sunset didn’t know which was cuter, Twilight’s slippery slope fallacy, or her use of the term ‘bad science.’ Sure, Sunset had moments when she wasn’t particularly discreet about her powers, but no one had called the government yet. They all just assumed she was a freak.

Shoving that sore spot away, Sunset met her sister’s panic with a calm smile. “No one’s going to come and do ‘bad science’ on me. Well, they won’t as long as you keep your mouth shut when you become president.”

That got Twilight to smile modestly. She dropped the issue for now, though Sunset knew she would hear more of it sometime in the future. Likely whenever she let her temper get the best of her again.

With their milkshakes finished, they headed home, walking in the long shadows cast by the falling sun. They reached their two-story purple house, looking the same as it always did for Sunset’s entire memory. Some of the paint along the porch had chipped and peeled, and despite their father’s assertion that he would repaint it, another year went past with more flaking off.

“Mom, we’re home!” Sunset yelled, stepping across the threshold. She kicked her boots off and tossed her jacket onto a chair as she passed into the living room. Twilight, ever the organizer, neatly set her shoes by the door and hung up Sunset’s jacket on the coat rack.

A pitter-patter of paws scampered out from the kitchen. Collar jingling, Spike paused at Sunset’s feet, sniffing her ankle and giving her a bark of greeting before continuing to his true master.

Twilight scooped up the purple puppy and nuzzled him against her cheek. “Hi, Spike! Were you a good boy while I was at school?”

Spike gave a happy yip and licked her face.

Twilight Velvet walked in from her study room, a pencil tucked between her ear and her bun of purple and white hair. “There you are; I was wondering what was taking you so long.” She planted a kiss on each of the girl’s foreheads.

“We stopped to get milkshakes,” Twilight said.

“I expected as much. At least do your worrying mother a favor and call her next time.” She headed into the kitchen and pulled out a plate of carrots and celery. “So how was school?”

“Boring,” Sunset said, grabbing a carrot.

“It was great! Guess what I learned in chemistry today!” Twilight took off on her school recap. Sunset zoned out, having heard it all an hour ago. She wandered back into the living room and laid down on the couch, rubbing her back into the cushions until she found the perfect comfort spot.

“Don’t you have homework, young lady?”

Sunset dropped the hand that had been in pursuit of the remote. She rolled her eyes. “Yes,” she groaned. She had given Roseluck her history assignment but still had math to finish.

“Shouldn’t you be working on it?” her mother asked.

“But I just got comfortable,” Sunset whined.

Velvet pointed at the stairs. “Homework first, then television. You know the rules. You already got to goof off with your milkshake adventure.”

With an exaggerated sigh, Sunset rolled off the couch and dragged her feet upstairs, Twilight giggling behind her. “Sunny got in trouble, Sunny got in trouble.”

“Shut up, Sparky.”

Author's Note:

An experiment in discovery writing. I know how the story ends, I don't know how we're going to get there. Should be a mess fun.