• Published 17th Feb 2018
  • 2,230 Views, 63 Comments

Compatī - Corejo

Sunset Shimmer lived a perfect life. Nightmare Moon destroyed it. When Luna seeks reconciliation years later, past demons resurface to threaten all that Sunset holds dear. Though she is willing, the question remains: is there a limit to forgiveness?

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VIII - Coney Dog's

Sunset, it's me, Twilight. I know there's a lot going on here that I don't understand, and I'm sorry for intruding on your privacy, both now and in lending the book to Luna. But I don't like seeing either of you hurt like this.

Can we meet? You pick the time and place. I'll be there.


Your friend,
Princess Twilight Sparkle

It never got less weird stepping through the portal. No matter how many times I had crossed over, the initial shock of standing on two legs and having these weird, dangly fingers never quite left. Thankfully, I had gotten used to the idea of being a human, and the feeling usually passed as quickly as it took me to find my balance.

It was mid morning on this side of the portal, and it seemed to be a weekend, since no one was in or around the schoolyard. I headed toward the center of town, as per Sunset's instructions.

It wasn't hard to find the place—Coney Dog’s, some fast food restaurant Sunset liked. She was already seated at a booth, so I slid in across from her.

She sat with her hands clenched, knuckles-up on the table, and her eyes staring into a cup of coffee that had since lost its steam. Her breaths seemed steady but strained.

I placed my hands on hers and threw on my best comforting smile. Whatever bothered her melted away when our eyes met.

“Hey,” Sunset said.

“Hey. Thanks for meeting with me. I know now isn't exactly the best time for you.”

Sunset’s gaze fell to the stirring spoon on the napkin beside her coffee. “Yeah, school’s been pretty busy gearing up for finals. But don't worry. It's great seeing you again.”

We let the noise of the restaurant sink in for a moment. The cook called out an order of ‘animal fries’ through the little window in the back.

“So I know it's an uncomfortable subject,” I said. “But I'm here to talk to you about Princess Luna.”

Sunset sighed. She hugged herself and stared into her coffee. “Yeah… I know. Yesterday wasn't exactly the best, um… interaction.”

She looked toward the center of the restaurant, at nothing in particular. I could tell by the way she nodded her head that she thought of this as some hurdle, some trial or other she needed to face in order to take that next step toward being the pony she wanted to be, felt she had to be.

“I'm not here to pry or to force you into anything,” I said.

“Except you are.”

That caught me up short. “Sunset. I would never force you to do something you didn't want.”

She put her head in her hands. “I know, I just… this is hard for me, Twilight.”

“If it makes you feel better, she hasn't told me anything specific. And you don't have to either.”

“I… thanks, Twilight.” She ran her fingers through her hair. “This is… hard enough to talk about as it is.”

We shared a smile, and in the brief lax in conversation, the waitress walked by. She was a heavyset mare—err, woman with faded pink hair and an easygoing smile that reminded me of Applejack.

“Hello, dearie, can I get you something to drink?” And she had a voice that reminded me of Granny Smith, minus a decade or two. Maybe she was a distant Apple.

“I'll take a green tea if you have it, please.”

“I'm sorry, but we only serve sweet tea. Is that all right?”

“That's fine.”

“Iced or warm?”

“Warm, please,” I said instinctively. The Applejack on this side of the mirror had once told me to never take my sweet tea cold this far north. They never made it right otherwise, apparently.

The waitress smiled and scooted off to the next table.

With the conversation effectively broken, I hesitated on where to start it back up again. I opened my mouth to apologize for the book, but Sunset cut me off.

“I get it. You want me to come back to Equestria so she can fix our… my problem.” She hunched forward on her elbows and looked away. The expression on her face sent goosebumps up my arms. “But it's…”—a little shake of the head—“it's just not that simple.”

I bit my lip. Sure, I had seen her worried, but never to the point of barely restrained terror. It felt like the only thing keeping her from falling apart was the fact we were in public. I clenched my hands and relaxed them, finally settling on clasping them together on the table.

“I'm right here if you want to talk about it,” I said.

Sunset sunk backward into her seat. She held her elbows tight, and I knew what I said hit a nerve.

“I just want to help you see that whatever's between you two isn't what defines your relationship,” I said.

That didn't seem to help any. She tightened her grip on her elbows and took a strained breath.

I didn't know what to think, since Luna hadn't told me what had happened between them. Whatever it was, I was sure they could come to some agreement. I just had to not screw up convincing her, which it seemed I was doing a terrible job of.

I sat back in my seat and clasped my hands together in my lap. The waiter made good timing and swung by with my sweet tea. I thanked her for it and filled the pause in conversation with a sip. A little sweeter than I was used to, but it was fine.

What wasn't fine, though, was the silence that lingered after my sip. I had hoped either Sunset would say something or I would think of a new subject to circle back with, but nothing. I picked up my cup and set it back down.

“I really don't think there's much you can do, Twilight,” Sunset said. “I really don't think there's anything she can do…”

“I know you don't trust her. From what little she's told me, I can understand your hesitation.”

“But that's it, though,” Sunset said. She stared at me with a knowing but haunted look in her eye. “You don't understand. You can't understand. It's not just some simple thing that magic can fix. I get that you want to help, but… I just...”

Her eyes fell to her coffee again. She took a sip, though it seemed more a compulsion to fill the heavy silence than for a desire to drink it.

This silence. Even with the din of the restaurant, it was deafening. Princess Celestia touted me as the Princess of Friendship, but more often than not, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, like I was bumbling blindly through every word out of my mouth and every step with my hooves.

“She's changed, Sunset. I saw the Elements change her to good.”

“Yeah… I know how that feels.” She curled in on herself.

I bit my lip. “I didn't mean it like that.”

She didn't say anything to that. A long few seconds passed before I found a better way to approach the subject.

“I… I saw her fight the Tantabus,” I said.

That brought Sunset's eyes up to mine. “The what?”

“The Tantabus. It's… this thing. She made it or something after we changed her back. She made it to give herself nightmares so that she would never forget what she did as Nightmare Moon.”

Sunset had put her hands on the table. She stared at me with reserved conviction. Whatever this meant to her, it meant a lot.

“It slipped into our dreams on accident one night,” I continued. “And she had to chase it down. Eventually, it got into all of Ponyville’s dreams, and we had to fight it together as an entire town.

“It fed on her guilt, to the point it almost escaped into the real world. But we showed her just how hard she was fighting to save us. And it was because of that that she realized just how much she had changed, too.”

“So what you're saying is that she doesn't feel bad about it anymore.”

I jerked back in my seat. “What? No, that's not what I'm saying at all. I… I guess what I wanted to say got lost in there somewhere. But what I'm really trying to say is… what I'm saying is that she's changed. Really and truly. She's repented and she felt strongly enough about what she did that her guilt alone could have destroyed Equestria. I…”

I reached toward her in a pleading motion. I sighed and placed my head in my hands. “I don't mean everything's perfect or that what she did to you means nothing, but she's ready and willing to help you in order to make things right. She would die for the opportunity. She's that kind of pony. The real her is that kind of pony.”

That was an extreme testament, but I knew Princess Luna. It wasn't a lie.

Sunset clenched her hands into fists, but relaxed. It seemed that she believed me, too.

“I just ask that you give her the chance,” I said. “I've read every single letter you've sent me. All the people you've helped and shown that friendship is true magic. I know that you know true repentance. There's nopony who understands that as well as you.”

She looked toward the center of the restaurant again. Her knuckles were white from clenching them so hard.

“Promise me you'll at least sleep on it?” I asked.

She flinched as if I had struck her. A wild look welled up in her eyes, but before anything came of it, she let out a hard breath and settled back into her seat.

I put a hand up to my mouth. “I-I’m sorry. I didn't mean—”

“I'll think about it.” She slouched forward onto the table and stared into her coffee.

Silence rolled in between us, and I didn't have the heart to break it. I clammed up and mirrored Sunset, hands around my cup of sweet tea.

“You ever taken linear algebra?” She asked.

I blinked. It took me a moment to register the change in subject. “I uh, yeah, why?”

A tiny smile perked up the corners of her lips. She ran her fingers through her hair before resting her head in her hand. A non-committal shrug punctuated whatever this was supposed to be.

“I don't know, just, got a test coming up. I could use your help with some of the problems.”

I raised a finger in question. “But… wouldn't you have taken linear algebra back in Equestria in order to…”

She stared at me like I had completely missed the point.

Oh. It was one of those questions. So yeah, I did miss the point.

“Of course I can help you with your algebra,” I said, blushing. I twirled my hair with my finger as if that had been the intent all along. “And any other questions or concerns you might have. Math related or otherwise. I'm always here for you.”

“Thanks, Twilight.”

We spent another half hour catching up on little things. Rainbow Dash's upcoming soccer tournament, Pinkie Pie’s most recent party. Things like that. It kept her smiling, and I couldn't help smiling, too.

Convincing her to talk with Luna hadn't gone as well as I had planned, but I did my best. I had faith my intentions—and by extent, Luna’s—got through to her.

But even with that confidence, my heart wouldn't sit still. Sunset was one of the most forgiving ponies I knew. If this wedge between them bothered her as badly as it seemed, it worried me to think just what had happened.

Regardless, Sunset was hurting. Same with Luna. They needed to get through this.

And if they didn't? Honestly, it terrified me to think what could happen.

Author's Note:

Simple conversations like this are always fun to write. So many opportunities to flex the old environment muscle. Also, more intrigue into the rift between Sunset and Luna. You know, the driving force of the entire story. That, too.

Onward and Upward!