• Published 19th Dec 2017
  • 976 Views, 28 Comments

Ashes to Inferno - Sun Aura

Sunset Shimmer has reached her lowest point. Thankfully, there are those that would be happy to help her up.

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Night Part I: Dark Magic Leaves Scars

Author's Note:

Warning: This is one of the very few scenes with blood, but it's very minor. Also a little bit of non-sexual and non-descriptive nudity.

Luna talked to her a bit more, before she was allowed to leave. Sunset walked down the halls, hating how quiet it was. Unfortunately, there were some students already out of the dance.

It was the six, of course. Saying goodbye to Twilight. Sunset only watched long enough to see the portal close once more. She’d debated about running through, if only for a chance to see her family again, to apologize to them.

As soon as it was gone, she headed out to the parking lot. Her motorcycle was still there. If everything had gone as planned, she would have given it to Flash. She would’ve explained what she had done, whether he hated her or not, before she left. She would’ve given him the book in her locker, hoping it could contact the other world just to keep in touch.

She hoped she’d be able to go home without any trouble, but she heard someone call her name. Trying to ignore it, she hurried to the parking lot. She knew she couldn’t out run them, even if she didn’t hurt, and she knew it would take too long to start up the motorcycle. Yet she tried.

She wasn’t sure which one reached her first, but she was surprised to not find pain. Instead, there was something comforting, almost like an old song.

“If you pardon, we will mend: And, as I am an honest Puck, if we have unearned luck now to scrape the serpent’s tongue, we will make amends ere long.”

“You’re not the one they’re hissing at,” Sunset replied, almost laughing at the familiar lines. “I don’t think Shakespeare quotes will help.”

“No,” Pinkie nodded, still holding her shoulder. “But you’ve apologized. A lot. So it’s time to make up.”

“Apologies only go so far,” she said.

“I know,” Applejack agreed as the rest caught up. “You’ll have to work for it, and some’ll forgive you quicker than others. But it’s a start.”

“Why?” she asked. “What’s the point? I know you have to hate me, I hated you for so long. So just because Princess Twilight says you should ‘help me’ you’re going to?”

Oddly enough, it was Fluttershy with the answer. She ducked under Pinkie and took Sunset’s face in her hands. There was an odd glow to her eyes, a stare that held her yet felt so soft. It had a confidence she’d only seen in her twice.

“We’re not doing this because of Twilight,” Fluttershy said, her voice firm. “We’re doing this because you need it. People, and Ponies, deserve Kindness. As long as you want to be better, we’ll help you along the way. So we’ll stick by you as much as we can, and help you figure this out.”

“Which is why we’re sort of inviting ourselves over to your place for a sleepover,” Pinkie said.

“Wait, what?” Sunset asked, breaking out of Fluttershy’s stare.

“What she means,” Rarity began, giving Pinkie a look, “is that we want to make sure you actually have a decent place to stay, even if it means taking you in. After all, how an Interdimensional Unicorn gets a home….”

“Exchange rate,” she answered. “But why a sleepover?”

“Well,” she glanced away. “That is, we, how do I put this?”

“My turn,” Rainbow shrugged, moving forward. “You’ve been through some shit.”

“Rainbow!” Fluttershy chastised.

“It’s true!” she defended. “You’ve been through Hell tonight, literally. All sorts of things are running through your head, and you’re going to be thinking about it. That can lead to a lot of dark places. And if you’re alone through that? I don’t know if you’d show up at all, let alone Monday morning. So we’re not just going to leave you alone.”

“I hate to say it, but she’s right,” Applejack sighed. “She could’ve put it better , but she’s right. Overall we’re going to try and be your friend, but for now, we’re going to make sure we get the chance.”

“I….” Sunset began. “Fine. I can’t promise anything. I’m not good at this, at least not in a real way. And I’m not really prepared for guests. But you can come over, if only to babysit me. The real question is, do any of you have a car?”

“Yes,” Rarity answered. “It’s back at my boutique however, along with Applejack’s truck. Is it far?”

“Not really,” she said. “But I want to get my motorcycle home. Not everyone’s as nice as you.”

“This is a lovely house,” Fluttershy said.

“Kinda big,” Applejack remarked. “You live here alone?”

“Yeah,” Sunset said. “Younger me thought ‘I have the money so why not live in a castle?’. Sounds pretentious now.”

“I can appreciate the sentiment,” Rarity said.

“So, how do you have money?” Rainbow asked. “You said ‘exchange rate’?”

Sunset nodded before heading to one closet. Inside was a small safe she had bought, with a Sapphire infused with Obliviousness on top giving off a minor illusion, making it appear like nothing is there. If you don’t expect to see it, you won’t see it.

Unlocking it, Sunset took two items out and walked back to the group. She placed them on the kitchen table the girls had surrounded. One was a coin the size of an Oreo, the other was a large stone.

“This is Equestria’s currency,” Sunset explained. “Bits and Gems.”

“I don’t think there’s a currency exchange for that,” Rarity said, picking up the bit.

“Not directly,” she nodded. “But that coin you have there? It’s gold. Not just gold-plated, but solid gold. I had a backpack full of those and gems when I came through.”

The five stared at the coin, mouths open in shock.

“Yeah,” Sunset almost smiled. “And the stone is-“

“Oh my stars!” Pinkie exclaimed. “That’s- how- Holy Hot sauce Christmas cake!”

“Pinkie, calm,” Rainbow said.

“Usually, I would!” she replied, picking up stone. “But that’s a Pink Diamond. Like, it looks a lot like a Pink Diamond, but I’d have to actually test it and stuff but-“

“How can you tell what it is?” Sunset asked.

“Family business,” she chirped. “My parents and sisters are all in rocks and gems and crystals! Any of them could tell you better, but I know a few and that definitely looks like a Pink Diamond but it’s enormous!”

“It is,” she confirmed. “Precious gems and metals are a lot more common in Equestria. I’m just lucky the portal gave me everything in Hammerspace when I came through. And… no offense, but I’m going to lock those back up until I need them.”

“Aww….” She frowned. “I wanted to show Maud.”

After tugging the Bit out of Rarity’s hand, Pinkie reluctantly handed the gem back. Sunset began to put them away, but was surprised to feel a Light Spell in the gem. Odd, she hadn’t done that. She probably didn’t have the cheeriness for that. But…. Pinkie couldn’t have, right?

Shaking her head, she decided that was a mystery for later. Instead, once her money was secure again, she headed back and glanced upstairs. Stairs seemed like a bad idea.

“Hey, girls?” Sunset began. “Uh, it’s probably not part of your ‘sleepover plans’, but I could really use a shower before you figure everything out. But if you want to, I don’t know, order pizza or something while I’m in there…”

“I’ve got it covered!” Pinkie replied, grabbing Applejack and Rainbow. “We’ll be back!”

“Pinkie, there ain’t a pizza place open!” Applejack pointed out as she was dragged off.

It was a bit entertaining, a little like her last ‘friend group’ had been, before she ruined it. If it hadn’t been ruined at the start.

She pushed that idea out of her head, refusing to think down that path right now. Instead, she made her way upstairs to her bedroom to get clothes for after her shower. Debating for a moment, she chose a blue pair of pajamas with her Cutie Mark on the hem of the shorts. Even after all this time, it felt weird to not wear her Cutie Mark somewhere.

There was a creak from the stairs, and she looked down the hall. Rarity smiled a bit sheepishly up at her. Sunset pushed down the mixed feelings the whole situation brought, the old hate, the older crush, the newer worry.

“Do you need something?” Sunset asked.

“I wanted to check on you,” Rarity answered, coming up the last few steps.

“It’s only been a minute,” she sighed.

“Not what I meant,” she said. “It’s just… You look like you’re hurting. Walking up the stars seemed like a lot of effort. I wanted to know if there was… if you needed help.”

“I- I just hurt,” she said, looking away. “Usually a Magical transformation won’t hurt, it’ll just feel very strange. But Dark Magic is…. Different. It will hurt, and it can tear your body apart. That’s why it’s used as a last resort.”

“A last resort,” she parroted. “That in itself tells me you’ve gone through a lot.”

“My own fault, apparently,” she said.

“Yes and no,” she said. “Yes, you made bad decisions, but something had to put you in the situation where the bad decision was an option. For now, do you think you’re okay enough to get undressed for your shower?”

“I….” she trailed off. “I think I can, but help would be better. Just don’t panic if…. If I’m hurting from more than muscle pain.”

Hesitantly, Sunset walked into the bathroom and let Rarity help her out of the jacket. It did hurt, but it was quicker with Rarity gently tugging the sleeves off her arms. Once free, she rolled her shoulders. It was still painful, but at least her jacket was off.

Rarity gasped, dropping the jacket to the floor. Before Sunset could think to ask, she had hurried to the hall and called down the stairs.

“Fluttershy, can you get up here?” Rarity called, keeping the panic from her voice.

“Don’t!” Sunset exclaimed, closing the door back. “Rarity, whatever it is, she doesn’t need to see it!”

“Usually I’d agree,” she swallowed. “Just look in the mirror for me.”

Stepping away, Sunset took a look over her shoulder. The back of her shirt was much darker, though not damp anymore. She could imagine what they might find under it.

“Futtershy is the closest thing we have to a doctor,” Rarity said. “She can’t do anything major, but she can at least tell us if we should take you to a real doctor or not.”

With a sigh, Sunset nodded and let her in. Fluttershy began to ask if she was okay, but let out a squeak in surprise and possible terror. Pulling herself together, she looked over the situation

“Okay, um,” Fluttershy took a shaky breath. “We need to see what exactly we’re dealing with. Considering that there’s probably pain, it’d be easier to cut the shirt off, but if you want to save it…”

“Dear, I don’t think that shirt can be saved,” Rarity said. “But don’t worry, I’ll make you a new one.”

“You don’t have to-“ Sunset began.

“I know,” she nodded. “Now, do you have a pair of scissors up here, or shall I go dig around the kitchen?”

After being directed to some scissors, Sunset’s shirt was cut off. One of them undid her bra as well, apologizing in advance. She waited for one of them to say something. Neither did.

She risked a glance, seeing both of their expressions. It was terror, Rarity looking about to throw up. Despite their protest, Sunset turned to the mirror to look for herself.

There were two symmetrical tears between her shoulder blades. Each one was long, running down half her back. Looking lower, there was a third scar at the base of her spine. This one was more circular, as if something had pushed its way in. Or out.

“Wings and tail,” Sunset muttered, peeling off what was left of her top. “How bad is it?”

“Not-not too bad, I think,” Fluttershy said, filling up the sink with warm water. “But we should clean off some of the blood first.”

“Not too bad?” Rarity asked. “Her back is….”

“I didn’t mean that,” she said. “It’s pretty bad, and probably worse. But considering they stopped bleeding, they can’t be that deep.”

Sunset started to say something, but jumped when Fluttershy put a wet washcloth against her back. After a round of apologies from both, Sunset stood and let her continue. The warmth felt nice, comforting.

“This is odd,” Fluttershy muttered.

“What is it?” Sunset asked.

“I’m not an expert,” she reminded, “But these look like they were pretty deep. Like what I’d expect from a transformation that had wings and a tail ripping out of a body.”

“That is what happened,” Rarity nodded.

“Well, yes,” she said. “But they look decently healed. If it weren’t for the blood, I’d say you got these weeks ago. Hm... Do Ponies have any healing abilities?”

“We don’t heal faster than Humans,” Sunset said. “Unicorns have healing spells, but they take a lot of energy. Anything that can be easily healed usually isn’t worth the energy it takes to do so, so it’s only used in life-or-death situations.

“But something like the Elements of Harmony,” she continued. “I could feel it, when you blasted me. It’s not powered by basic energy, it’s powered by emotion, which is near-infinite. You six more than canceled out the Dark Magic, and considering you wanted to help, I think it took the initiative.”

“Then why heal you part way?” Rarity asked. “And why is there still blood?”

“Healing spells are quick but not instant,” she said. “That’s probably what was there before it healed up. And even healing spells will leave scars.”

“You’re taking this rather well,” she commented.

“I think the breakdown is delayed,” she said, turning back to them. “Watch, I’ll be all fine, and then months later I’ll end up in a breakdown. So, how is my back doing in general? Do we need to go to a hospital? Because I barely have much on records, and these can’t be explained. Besides, who even knows if I have a Human blood type!”

“I think you’ll be fine,” Fluttershy said, averting her eyes and blushing red. “Uh, just keep them clean and maybe take some painkillers. I think they’re healed enough to not reopen, but try not to do anything strenuous to be sure.”

“Right,” she nodded. “But a shower’s fine?”

“Yes,” she said, much more quiet.

“You alright?” she wondered.

Fluttershy nodded.

“She’s fine,” Rarity said, her own cheeks quite a bit pinker. “But you are, ahem, casually holding a conversation while topless.”

“Oh, right,” Sunset said, looking down. “Wait. Now that everyone knows I’m an Interdimensional Unicorn, I can complain out loud. Oh my stars your culture is weird about clothes!”

“And just how are clothes weird?” she demanded.

“It’s not bad, just so different!” she laughed. “As a Unicorn, we have our own coats. We have no need for everyday clothing, so really it’s only for extreme weather, uniforms, or formal events. If a pony wears clothing every day, it’s a sign of status. It says ‘I’m rich enough to waste money on something so unnecessary’.

“But here?” she continued. “Humans don’t have a coat, so they needed to make clothes to wear everyday. And eventually it evolved into the idea that you must have clothes and any form of nudity is blatantly sexual. I can understand covering the, uh, lower half, but why can’t a woman go topless? And don’t get me started on pockets!”

“I won’t,” Rarity laughed. “Now, take your shower. You can continue your rant about cultural differences later.”

“I…” she stopped and smiled. “Thanks, both of you.”

“You’re welcome,” the girls chorused.

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