• Published 8th Feb 2019
  • 583 Views, 14 Comments

Confessions - Flynt Coal



In the week leading up to Sunset's coronation, Pinkie Pie and Applejack both have confessions to make, as dark forces gather in the human world..

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Chapter 1

In the darkness of her bedroom, Sunset Shimmer’s eyes shot open and her entire body jolted. It only took her a second to realize she was in her own bed, safe and sound, but it took a couple of minutes for her heart to stop pounding in her chest. A few minutes more and Sunset knew she wasn’t getting back to sleep, so with a groan she sat up and got out of bed, the sheets peeling off her sweat-soaked body like a sticker.

It’s just nerves, she tried to tell herself for what felt like the millionth time. After all, I am going back to Equestria again for my freaking coronation at the end of the week!

Sunset felt her way across the unfamiliar yet familiar dark bedroom. Naturally, she quite liked the mansion that she and her family now lived in (and in a sense had always lived in), but it was still going to take some getting used to. Her bedroom was—appropriately—fit for a princess, with its large queen-sized bed, soft regal carpet and glass-paned doors leading out to a balcony. It was all very nice, but at the moment it didn’t quite feel like home. Just like Equestria didn’t quite feel like home anymore.

Of course, she knew deep down that simple nerves about going back had nothing to do with the dreams. Sunset figured she’d known for a while now, but it was only at that moment she felt the clarity to come to terms with it and face it. To her relief, she’d had no more dreams like the one that had awoken her friends and family after their first day back at school, but this new dream was no less unsettling. She’d had the same nightmare for the past two weeks now, but every time she’d awaken, the details of it would slowly slip away until soon enough it would become a vague blur of images without meaning, and Sunset could allow herself to push it aside. Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying went.

But now Sunset could remember the dream in full clarity, and what she remembered filled her with an undefinable sense of dread, like looking to the bottom of a deep ocean and not knowing what lurks in the darkness below.

In the dream, Sunset stood at the front of Canterlot High beneath the watchful gaze of the rearing horse statue that once concealed the portal to Equestria. All five of her friends stood at her side, along with her family Twily, Octavia, Adagio, Aria and Sonata. There were others around her as well, other students Sunset knew at school. All of them were waiting for something with noticeable tension.

The rising sun in the east cast its red light on the large group of teenagers, sending the shadow of the horse statue to cover them in darkness. Suddenly Sunset and her friends were surrounded by shadowy figures on all sides, each one poised to strike. Upon the surface of the statue’s base, Sunset could see herself as a pony, and Princess Twilight and her friends each stood fighting a battle against encroaching darkness on their own side of the statue. With them was Raspberry Beryl, and she too was not alone. Around her stood three other ponies, their features vague. The four of them were tied together by a red string.

The shadowy figures surrounding Sunset and her friends drew closer—some from the east in the direction of the rising sun, and some from the west. Another stood among her own ranks, Sunset realized. Ready to strike from within.

Child of the Sun,” a malicious voice called out, its speaker hidden somewhere amongst the shadows.

Sunset readied a combat stance and summoned as much magic as she could to her glowing hands. “What do you want?” Sunset asked warily.

You call yourself the Alicorn of Earth,” the voice said. “But Earth already has a ruler. You are a mere pretender to the throne. You are nothing. You know nothing. Just as Hell is the domain of the Devil, so too is Earth mine.

Sunset looked around, desperately seeking the source of the voice. “Who are you?!”

A tall humanoid figure appeared directly before her then, its features obscured by a dark robe and hood.

What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three in the evening?” the figure asked. “For the sword that protects, evening is eternal.

Sunset only had a few moments to ponder the figure’s riddle—I know I’ve heard it somewhere before, Sunset realized—before she and her friends were beset by the gathering shadows. Sunset, her friends, and to her surprise, even the other students, all fought back with powerful blasts of Equestrian magic, but the shadows were persistent and relentless. One by one, her friends were overwhelmed and defeated until only she remained. In the reflection of the marble statue, Princess Twilight and her friends all lay defeated as well.

She looked around at the lifeless forms of the others strewn about her—Pinkie, Rainbow, Fluttershy, Rarity, Applejack, and worst of all, Tavi, Twily, and the triplets—and let loose a feral scream of pure anguish. Putting her hands together in the move borrowed from a popular fighting game, Sunset unleashed a massive magical attack of bright cyan energy at the tall figure who’d spoken to her. But the figure effortlessly evaded.

Sunset pushed the attack, letting out all of her pain in the form of pure offensive magic, but the figure was as elusive as smoke. Finally, when Sunset had all but exhausted herself, the figure appeared before her again. With a wave of its hand, it lifted Sunset by the neck and started to squeeze. Sunset felt the excruciating pain of the pressure closing around her throat, of each breath becoming more difficult than the last.

Goodbye, Child of the Sun.” And then the figure showed its horrifying face: An old man with hollow eyes bleeding crimson.

That was when Sunset had woken up. Now, she found herself standing over the large desk she had in her bedroom. Sunset reached over and turned on the lamp on the desk, wincing at the sudden light in the previously pitch black room. When her eyes adjusted to the light, Sunset looked down on the desk, and looking back up at her was an envelope sealed with a symbol Sunset didn’t recognize. She remembered the instructions she had been given upon receiving it.

To be opened only if either world is in true peril.

Was either world in true peril, though? Sunset was, after all, working herself up over a dream. It’s just nerves, that’s all. But Sunset also remembered the other dreams she’d had over her time on Earth, and the events they had preluded. Still, Sunset knew she could not open the envelope lightly. If she did, it wouldn’t be only her life she’d be throwing into uncertainty.

All at once, memories of the other day came rushing back. Memories of the circumstances surrounding her acquisition of the envelope….

It was a rather overcast afternoon as Sunset’s friends gathered at the Sugarcube Corner Cafe. Only seven of the “Majestic Twelve” were present, and of that seven only five were actually seated at the table. Twily and Tavi were staying late at Zacherle’s, dealing with Diva business. Fluttershy was seeing a movie with her boyfriend, while Pinkie and Sunset were working.

Currently, Sunset was wiping down a table adjacent to the one her friends were seated at so that she could participate in their conversation while she worked. Looking at the sky out the window, Sunset had joked that the weather pegasi were slacking off, and was met with stares of confusion from her friends.

“Did I never mention that pegasi control the weather where I’m from?” Sunset asked as she worked at a particularly sticky spot on the other table. “After all this time?”

A series of synchronized head shakes answered that question.

“Well, on the topic of, er… that hot new vacation spot Sunset was telling us about,” Rarity said, remembering the agreed upon “code” for Equestria when in public. “We should all start thinking about packing. Sunset’s… event is coming up rather fast, after all.”

“Aw man, our phones probably won’t even work there,” Rainbow Dash whined, sulking into her seat. “Guess I shouldn’t even bother bringing it.”

“Actually,” Adagio said between bites of a chocolate fudge brownie. “My sisters and I might have found a way to work around that.”

“Really? How?”

Adagio gave a noncommittal shrug as she sipped on her mocha. “Can’t explain just yet—it’s classified.”

“Okay, but you can tell me, right?”

“What part of ‘classified’ are you confused by?”

"The core concept, apparently," Aria muttered with a smirk.

It was then that Sunset heard an all too familiar high-pitched squeal, and she soon found herself accosted from the side by one of Pinkie Pie’s patented “sneak hugs”.

“I’m so super-excited to finally get to see the homeland of my favoritest girl ever!” the poofy, pink-haired girl exclaimed, holding Sunset tighter and nuzzling into the nape of her neck.

To an outsider looking in, the hug was nothing more than a casual display of affection from the bubbly girl. But Sunset knew that it was so much more. Pinkie’s true feelings for Sunset stopped being a secret months ago, when the girl had confessed everything. Not just about her sexuality and romantic feelings, but the horrible events that precluded them.

Pinkie took an especially long breath, as if drinking Sunset in like a fine wine to be savored. “You smell really nice today. I mean, you always smell nice but today you’re like, extra nice!”

Sunset just gave her friend a good natured smile; she could never hold it against her—how could she, after all they’d been through? But she could never return her feelings—not in the way Pinkie would want, anyway—thus, Sunset had found herself trapped in an entirely one-sided relationship.

Fortunately, the timely appearance of Mrs. Cake provided Sunset with the avenue of escape she needed. Pinkie disconnected herself immediately upon seeing her aunt and mother figure. As Sunset understood, the portly middle-aged woman didn’t know about Pinkie’s bisexuality, and by extension, her “relationship” with Sunset. Explaining that to her would inevitably entail explaining the nightmarish violation Pinkie suffered at the hands of the fledgling Club, something the pink-haired girl understandably didn’t want to talk about with either of her surrogate parents.

“Hey Sunny, looks like you’ve got somebody sitting down in your section,” Cup Cake said as she walked by.

Technically, the girls were all sitting in Pinkie’s section, but on a relatively quiet afternoon like this one, Mr. and Mrs. Cake didn’t usually have a problem with Sunset serving her friends if they weren’t sitting in her section. Now, however, duty called.

Sunset looked over to the table her employer indicated to and smiled when she saw the familiar face sitting down. After telling the rest of the girls that she would “brb”, Sunset made her way over to the newly arrived customer.

“Hello, Mrs. Honeycomb,” Sunset greeted the friendly middle-aged woman seated at the table.

“Afternoon, Sunset dear. How many boys did you have to turn down this week?” Honeycomb asked, eliciting a laugh from Sunset at the pair’s little running joke. Unfortunately for Sunset, on some days it wasn’t a joke.

“Honestly, who can keep count?” she answered, and both of them shared a laugh at that.

The middle-aged woman with ocean blue hair and warm yellow eyes had become a bit of a regular at the Sugarcube Corner Cafe in recent weeks, and she and Sunset had gotten to know each other quite well. Honeycomb and her family had moved to Canterlot about a month ago, having bought some property just outside of town that she used for her beekeeping. Sunset’s adoptive father Night Light had even called on her and her sons to deal with the increasing amount of beehives forming around their property. The woman seemed to very much enjoy Sunset’s company, and had taken a keen interest in her life, saying that Sunset reminded her much of herself “when she was young and drove the boys crazy.”

Sunset then realized that Honeycomb wasn’t alone at the table. In the seat beside her was a little girl with long dark blue hair who was, if Sunset had to guess, probably not much older than ten. She wore a tiny black gown, and had a very fair complexion. She didn’t pay Sunset much mind, keeping an almost intense focus on the little wooden doll in her hands. The green and burgundy hair on the doll reminded Sunset of someone she used to know when she first arrived on Earth so many years ago. Too bad she couldn’t even remember her name, as the girl in question had moved with her family to Oregon or something before she’d really gotten a chance to know her.

“Aw, is this your daughter?” Sunset asked smiling at the child.

“Yes, but not by blood,” Honeycomb explained, then looked at the child with a motherly smile. “Say hi to Sunset, Darque Eulogy!”

The girl Darque Eulogy looked up at Sunset and returned a smile that was just a little too wide. “Hello, Sunny!” she exclaimed, making her doll wave at her.

“So you’re adopted, huh?” Sunset asked. “Looks like you and I have something in common!”

“Yes, my husband and I’d never considered having another child after our youngest son, but when we met little Eulogy here and saw just how talented she is, I just knew we had to bring her into our family!” Honeycomb explained.

“Oh yeah? What kind of talents do you have, Eulogy?”

At that, the little girl held up the doll in her hands and smiled widely. “I made this!”

“Wait, you actually made that? All by yourself?” Sunset asked, genuinely impressed.

Eulogy nodded earnestly. “Yep. I love making new friends!”

“Yeah, me too,” Sunset chuckled before holding up her notepad. “Anyway, what can I get you two?”

Eulogy immediately pointed to the Daily Special whiteboard at the drawing of the Molten Lava Supreme; a red-velvet cake filled with hot melted chocolate. “That,” she stated. Amusingly enough, her doll was also pointing at the picture.

“Alright, one mountain of diabetes for the little girl,” Sunset said as she wrote down the order. “And what about you, Mrs. H? The usual?”

At that, Honeycomb sighed and her posture deflated like a balloon (or like Pinkie Pie’s hair on one of her off days). “No, I think I’ll go with something a bit stronger than tea this time. Got any espresso? Black?”

Taking note of the woman’s much more plastic smile, Sunset nodded. “Sure thing.” Sunset almost left it at that when her better nature kicked in. “Is something the matter, Mrs. H?”

Giving one of her warm smiles, Honeycomb said, “Oh, nothing to trouble yourself with, dear. Just my mother.”

Sunset was unable to stop herself from giving the older woman a look that urged her to continue anyways. Maybe this is why Rainbow keeps telling me I have Chronic Hero Syndrome.

“Well, my mother’s really getting up there in years—turned one-hundred and seven last summer,” Honeycomb explained, looking thankful to be getting her issue off her chest despite her earlier insistence Sunset not be troubled with it. “Naturally, she’s been dealing with a lot of health problems lately, and I’ve been doing my best to care for her. But she’s just so… stubborn. Still considers herself the boss of the house. Can make her a real pain to deal with sometimes.”

Sunset opened her mouth to ask what she could do to help before she could stop herself, but thankfully, Honeycomb did so for her.

“Please, don’t worry yourself with my troubles. You must have enough on your plate already.”

Oh, you have no idea, Sunset thought, glancing back to the table where her friends were all discussing her “vacation spot”.

After taking Honeycomb and her daughter’s orders to Cup Cake in the kitchen, Sunset returned to her friends for a brief moment to find out what she missed.

“Is that the lady that wants to adopt you?” Rainbow asked when Sunset returned.

“C’mon, don’t be silly, Rainbow,” Sunset said. “Mrs. H is just friendly. She doesn’t want to adopt me!”

“And why not?” Pinkie asked earnestly. “You’re like the most adoptable person ever! No really. After you proved to her you’d changed, Auntie Cup said she would have adopted you herself if Mrs. Velvet hadn’t beaten her to it!” Pinkie threw her arms into the air with one of her big grins. “We could have been sisters!

The whole table stayed silent and waited for the inevitable moment of realization. Sure enough, in a few moments Pinkie’s gleeful grin turned to a look of wide-eyed horror.

“Oh no!” Pinkie stage-whispered. “That means no body oil and nipple frosting!”

Sunset tilted her head as Rarity uttered a flat, “What?”

What?” Pinkie eloquently replied.

Sunset couldn’t help but crack a smile at her friends’ antics. She really was happy to have all of them in her life, warts and all. Though as Rarity and Pinkie began to bicker, Sunset couldn’t help but notice one member of their little circle had barely said a word that afternoon.

“You’ve been awfully quiet today, AJ,” Sunset said to the blonde, freckled girl. “Something on your mind?”

Applejack looked up from the apple-flavored pastry in front of her—barely touched, Sunset noticed—and gave Sunset a strained smile. “Nothin’ gets by you, huh, sugar?”

But when the girl simply returned to her snack without saying anything more, Sunset knew she was going to have to press a little harder.

“Anything you want to tell me about?” she asked.

“That’s exactly the issue, actually,” Applejack said. “And I’m still tryin’ to figure it out….”

Growing more perplexed by the moment, Sunset gave her friend a warm smile and said, “You know you can tell me anything, right?”

“Of course I know that, Sunny!” Applejack said, looking at her with earnest honesty. “But… it ain’t me I’m worried about.”

Now Sunset’s mild perplexion was giving way for mild alarm. A million different scenarios started racing through the human alicorn’s head. Was some friend of Applejack’s having problems? Some family member? Whoever it was, they clearly had told Applejack something in confidence, and if Sunset knew Applejack, it was tearing her apart inside. It was hard for someone so inclined towards honesty to keep secrets.

“Wow. Think you could be a little more cryptic, AJ?” Rainbow asked, snarking around a mouthful of sundae. “Maybe tell us your problem in the form of a riddle?”

“Up yours, Raini,” Applejack stated simply, and Rainbow gasped scandalously.

“You crossed a line, AJ.”

Although Applejack telling Rainbow to fuck off in a variety of creative ways was nothing unusual, Sunset got the feeling that the blond was in no mood for Rainbow’s usual shit today. So, Sunset was about to intervene to keep things civil when Mrs. Cake called her to the kitchen, likely because Honeycomb’s order was ready. Additionally, Sunset spotted a couple of boys her age (as far as this world was concerned, anyway) sit down in her section. No rest for the weary it seems.

After telling Applejack and Rainbow Dash to behave themselves, Sunset went to the kitchen window to pick up the orders for Honeycomb and her daughter. After dropping them off to the grateful woman and even more grateful child (based on how she immediately started shoveling spoonfuls of her cake into her mouth) Sunset made her way towards the newly occupied table. She ran into a couple of familiar faces entering the establishment along the way.

“Hey Derpy! Hey Carrot Top!” Sunset greeted the pair of girls with a smile.

The two of them shared a sister-like bond, and were as close to each other as Sunset was to Twily. Golden Harvest—or “Carrot Top” to her friends—was dressed conservatively in a sweater and jeans. By contrast, Derpy wore a gray tanktop and skirt (in this weather?!) and actually appeared to be wearing some makeup. Sunset guessed she was going on a date with that boy she’d been seeing later on.

“Table for two?” Sunset asked.

“Yes please,” Golden Harvest exclaimed. “I’m starving, craving sweets and my figure be damned!”

Derpy didn’t answer, her spectacled stare a mile away.

“Everything alright, Derpy?” Sunset asked.

Shaking the cobwebs from her head, Derpy looked and Sunset and answered, “I’m fine. Just… had a weird day.”

“Oh?”

"Technology's been acting, well... weird around me all day."

Derpy was quite the tech wiz, and as such Sunset doubted there was any way she could really help. Even still, she asked, "How so?"

“Well, when I was leaving the computer lab after school, I went to log out and the computer just… did it. Without my input at all.”

Sunset tilted her head. “Your computer logged out by itself?”

Derpy shook her head. “Not… exactly. It was…” Derpy took a moment to put her thoughts into words. “I thought about logging out, and the computer did it. Almost like it was… responding to my thoughts or something. God, saying it out loud sounds crazy!”

“Probably because it is,” Golden Harvest snarked.

“I’ve heard crazier,” Sunset said simply. And seen much more.

“And that was just one example. I don't even want to get into what else happened,” Derpy said before going with Golden Harvest to an empty table. Promising to get to them soon, Sunset continued to the table where two boys were waiting.

The first thing she noticed about them was that they went to Munchenger Institute for Young Men, based on the uniforms they wore. The second thing Sunset noticed was how quickly they both looked away when she turned around, clearly pretending not to have been staring at her ass the whole time. One of them whispered something and the other burst out laughing before telling him to shut up.

Sunset merely tried to pretend that they weren’t making crass and degrading jokes about her as she approached the table and gave them her best fake smile. “Can I get you boys something to eat today?” she asked politely.

The one who had whispered something to his friend—a slightly muscular looking boy with green hair—gave her a shit-eating grin.

“Oh, I’m real hungry, but I don’t think you have what I want on the menu,” he said, and Sunset didn’t miss the way his eyes briefly flicked up and down her body. The boy with him—a slimmer but taller boy with purple and yellow hair—simply “pffted”.

“Well, I can recommend the daily special,” Sunset said, trying her best to ignore their leering gazes.

“I don’t know, have anything else in the back room?” the other boy asked.

“Yeah,” the first boy said with that same lecherous smile. “I’d love to go into your back room and, uh… poke around.”

“Shut up, Laces!” the other boy whispered, trying to give Sunset an apologetic smile. She almost couldn’t see the snickers he was suppressing

“Yeah… no,” was all Sunset said in reply. How stupid do they think I am?! Sunset thought, her fake smile growing more strained.

“Got any donut holes?” the more composed of the two asked, clearing his throat as he adopted a straight face.

“Love me some glazed holes…” the boy “Laces” muttered, but not quite quietly enough.

“Just ignore Laces Out here,” the other boy said, giving Sunset what she assumed was meant to be a reassuring smile. “He’s a decent enough linebacker, but didn’t exactly win the brain lottery.”

“Way to throw me under the bus, Crazylegs…” Laces Out said under his breath.

“You reap what you sow, Laces my man.”

Sunset simply gave him a nod, hoping these two would hurry up and order so she wouldn’t have to spend another moment talking to them.

“Name’s Calf Burns, by the way. Or ‘Crazylegs’ to my friends,” the boy said, straightening the tie of his well-pressed uniform and giving her a smile that might have made less intelligent and more naive girls swoon. “I’m sort of a big deal on the Munchenger football team.”

“Uh-huh,” Sunset drolled. Normally she didn’t mind making a little small talk with a customer—her friendship with Mrs. Honeycomb was proof of that—but Sunset didn’t care for it when the customer clearly just wanted to get in her pants. “So, do you know what you’re having yet, Mr. Big Deal?”

Sunset saw Laces Out open his mouth to say something before apparently thinking better of it and settling for simply leering at her.

“Wait, you’re Sunset Shimmer, right?” Crazylegs asked, continually failing to pick up on Sunset’s worsening mood.

“You know me?” Sunset asked, an eyebrow raised.

Seeming to think that he had her interest, Crazylegs gave her another grin before replying, “Sure! Who doesn’t know about the Queen of Canterlot High?” He then glanced around the room for the briefest of moments, traces of a distasteful scowl on his face. “Tell me, what’s a total babe like you doing working in a hole like this?”

Sunset’s face formed a scowl of its own. “It’s good honest work and my employers are people of integrity.

Crazylegs gave a noncommittal shrug. “Okay. Sure, but I’m just sayin’. If you feel like making more than minimum wage plus whatever these plebs tip you,” he said, cluelessly nodding his head to where her friends were seated, “my father owns a pretty big restaurant chain downtown. Real high class place. If you wanted to work there, I could put in a good word for you.” A hint of lecherousness then entered his smile. “That is, if you don’t mind owing me one….”

Finally losing her patience, Sunset slammed her notepad down on the table and glared at them. “Listen, if you only came in here to flirt and belittle my workplace, you can leave!

“Alright, chill! Jesus!” Crazylegs exclaimed, raising his hands defensively. “I’ll just have a carrot cupcake and a tea latte.”

Laces Out cleared his throat and awkwardly stated, “Same.”

After jotting down their orders rather forcefully, Sunset turned and left without saying another word. She pretended not to hear Crazylegs mutter “Bitch…” as she went over to take Derpy and Golden’s orders.

“Those assholes giving you trouble?” Golden Harvest asked with a distasteful glower. The ginger girl still seemed to think she owed Sunset for taking down the Club some months ago, as one of its worst victims.

“Don’t worry about it, Carrot,” Sunset said, and she and Derpy gave her their orders, allowing Sunset to retreat to the respite of the kitchen.

Pinkie was standing at the window glaring hard at the pair of boys before Sunset came in, and she gave her a worried look.

“Sunny, are you…?”

“I’m fine,” Sunset said, giving Pinkie a reassuring smile. “You know I’ve dealt with far worse than them.”

“That doesn’t matter,” Pinkie said, putting a hand on Sunset’s shoulder and looking into her eyes with a steadfast expression. “You’re my girl, Sunny. And I don’t care if ‘the customer is always right’; nobody talks to my girl like that!”

Sunset smiled, but for a moment the look in Pinkie’s eyes worried her. “You’re sweet to say that, Pinks, but please just let it go, okay? I already have.”

Pinkie frowned and was silent for a moment, but in short order her friendly, loving smile returned. “Anything for you, Sunny!”

The sound of a ding interrupted the moment, and after looking around to see that neither Cup or Carrot Cake was there, Pinkie moved to one of the ovens to remove a fresh batch of cupcakes. Since the Cakes’ attention was often divided between their work and the twins, Sunset and the others would often have to pull double duty helping out in the kitchen when they weren’t around.

Sonata arrived at the window with a collection of dirty plates from her section and after checking to make sure everything in her own section was good, Sunset elected to gather them and get started cleaning.

“The fuck was that bitch’s problem anyway?”

Unfortunately, the pair of gentlemen Sunset had recently taken orders from were seated at the table closest to the kitchen, and their voices carried right through the window.

“I told you man, none of the girls around here put out anymore,” Laces said.

“Yeah, we probably have those Club idiots to thank for that,” she heard Crazylegs say in reply.

“Man, these girls need to just get over it already. No reason us innocent guys need to suffer just because the Club couldn’t keep their shit on the DL.”

“Tell me about it….”

Sunset hoped that was the end of their conversation, but Laces Out then said, “Hey, you don’t think she was one of the victims, do you?”

“Maybe. Didn’t they say something like one in every eight girls were victims?” Crazylegs asked, and then with a thoughtful pause, added, “With everything I’ve heard about Sunset Shimmer, I can’t say she wouldn’t have deserved it!”

The two of them shared a good laugh about that.

“Dude, can you imagine how good she must look naked, bending over and drugged out of her mind?”

Sunset’s hands curled into such tight fists she could hear her knuckles cracking. Fucking pigs…. She hoped to High Heaven and the Great Pasture both that Pinkie hadn’t also overheard their latest conversation. Out of all of Sunset’s friends, she had the most “experience” with the aforementioned rape club.

“Order up!” Pinkie exclaimed, suddenly appearing right beside Sunset. If she had indeed heard their conversation, she made no indication of it. “Two carrot cupcakes and tea lattes!”

Sunset frowned, knowing who those were for, but despite everything she just couldn’t hold onto her sour mood in the face of Pinkie’s ridiculously cheerful grin.

“Wow. That was fast, Pinks!”

“Don’t worry, Sunny,” Pinkie Pie said, patting Sunset’s head with a grin that seemed just a little mischievous. “Auntie Pinkie Pie has it all taken care of!”

After reminding Pinkie that she was technically much older than her, Sunset took a tray with the orders and brought them out to the customers. Right away she noticed that Derpy and Golden Harvest were gone. She couldn’t blame them if listening to the boys at the other table made them lose their appetite, but Sunset had a sneaking suspicion that Derpy had all but dragged Golden Harvest out of there to keep a fight from breaking out. The two of them were probably having a talk right now, wherever they were.

With the barest minimum of words, Sunset handed the food and drinks to the pair of boys from Munchenger and just as hastily walked away. A quick peek into the kitchen confirmed that Cup Cake had returned from attending to the twins and was back to work with Pinkie’s help. Seeing that everything was in hand, Sunset decided to make her way back over to her friends, putting all thoughts of the two ignorant boys behind her.

The old Sunset might have sought some form of retribution for the slights Crazylegs and Laces Out had given her—even now Sunset had to admit it wouldn’t be undeserved—but now Sunset found herself much more satisfied to simply rise above it all. Those boys were small—they were nothing to her. So, it was with a smile that Sunset returned to her friends, finding a strange sight when she did.

“What are you guys doing?” Sunset laughed, watching Rainbow Dash scoop out handfuls of jellybeans from a jar and carefully insert them into her mouth.

“Winning a bet,” Adagio answered, calmly looking between Rainbow and the still half-full jar of jellybeans.

“Moe lie oosing!” Rainbow exclaimed around the jellybeans stuffing her cheeks like a chipmunk preparing for winter.

“Okay… just make sure not to choke or anything, Dash,” Sunset warned.

Ah won’!”

“So, any of you guys got any plans tonight?” Sunset asked, turning her attention to the rest of the girls.

“Well, I still need to finish that essay for Mr. Doodle tomorrow,” Rarity said.

A mortified look suddenly formed on Rainbow’s face. “Wae… hat’s ue omowo?!

Rarity gave the athlete a flat look. “My English to Idiot is a little rusty, but I take that to mean you haven’t started, have you?”

Rainbow merely slumped over the table, mouth full of jellybeans, and leaned towards her elegant friend. “Wawity… elp we!

Rarity gave a good-natured eye roll to the suddenly very pathetic girl next to her. “Fine, you can come over and we’ll work on it together.”

“Adagio wants Sonata and I to run more drills,” Aria answered, ignoring the other two.

“Look, our emergency response time is good, but it could still be better,” Adagio said. “Besides, if I don’t run them, the Admiral will, and we’re still trying to get into peak condition, right?”

“Especially after we got our asses handed to us by that one pegasus,” Sonata added.

“So then...would you rather be eased into it—or dragged?” To that response, Aria merely groaned.

Sunset looked to the one member of their group who had been uncharacteristically quiet that afternoon. “What about you, AJ?”

Applejack blinked and gave a slight shake of her head, apparently finding her way out of a thought she’d been lost in. “What? Yeah, uh… do you mind if I come over? I could use some help finishin’ my own essay and knowing you, you’ve probably finished it days ago. Not to mention, it’d be good to get some sparring in.”

Sunset studied her friend for a moment. Something was clearly still bothering her, and Sunset didn’t think it had anything to do with writing an essay. “Yeah, of course,” she answered with an easy smile. “Actually, why don’t we head over to your place instead? Remember, my new place is a bit further away than it used to be.”

“Right, I keep forgetting the timeline change put you in Rich-Person Land,” Applejack muttered, before giving her friend an appreciative smile. “Thanks, Sunny.”

The group of friends chatted for a little while longer before Sunset left to check on the customers in her section. Mrs. Honeycomb asked for the bill while her daughter meticulously scraped up every last ounce of cake from her plate.

“Hang on a moment dear, I wanted to give you something,” Mrs. Honeycomb said after handing the card reader back to Sunset. She then reached into her bag. “The other day I was consulting for my son on an exterminator job. Some people up north ended up with a bee hive in their walls and I thought I’d bring some souvenirs with me after the job was done. But I figured since I already have my own apiaries I have really little need for them so I’ve just been giving them to whoever wants them.”

“I got one too!” Darque Eulogy added with a huge grin.

Honeycomb pulled a glass jar out of her bag and placed it on the table. Inside, Sunset saw the older woman’s namesake with a decent amount of honey collecting at the bottom.

“Wow, cool,” Sunset said, picking up the jar to study the intricate pattern of honeycombs inside. It really was remarkable what nature could come up with. “Um, there isn’t any larvae or anything still in here, right?”

With a reassuring smile that women her age seemed to be so good at, Honeycomb said, “Of course not. When we removed the queen the rest of the hive followed, so you have nothing to fear. I think you’ll find that fresh bee’s honey is so much better than the store bought stuff.”

“Thank you very much, Mrs. H!” Sunset said, and the older woman gave her a smile as sweet as the honey in the jar.

Mrs. Honeycomb and her daughter then said their goodbyes and made their way out of the Sugarcube Corner Cafe, leaving Sunset to clear their table and place the jar full of honeycomb by her stuff in the back room. When she got back out Sunset knew who she needed to check on next, and so made her way to the only other occupied table in her section, mentally steeling herself.

But something was very different about Laces Out and Crazylegs. Neither of them made any sort of rude comment as she approached, and barely even glanced at her when she cleared her throat.

“All good here?” Sunset asked.

Crazylegs winced. “Yeah, uh… think we’ll just get the urk.” He was cut off by the sound of his stomach audibly churning. Across from him, Laces Out was simply staring at a spot on the table looking to be in a state of immense concentration, rivulets of sweat dripping down his pale face. Come to think of it, they both look pretty pale, Sunset thought, but gave it no more mind as she went to get their bill.

When she returned, Laces Out had disappeared entirely, likely having retreated to the bathroom. Crazylegs was not looking any better.

“Ugh… what was in that food?” Crazylegs groaned as he clutched his stomach. “Never eating here again, and you know what? Not recommending this place to anyone, either!”

“Good,” Sunset said before she could stop herself.

The well-dressed boy burped and winced again before saying, “Not only is the food makin’ me sick, but the service is shit!

All of his bluster went away as he leaned forward even further, clutching his stomach in clear pain. “Oh fuck….”

Sunset wondered for a moment if they were going to need to call an ambulance when suddenly Pinkie Pie appeared beside her. Sunset was about to tell her there might have been something wrong with the food when she noticed the satisfied smirk on her face. Then it all came together. Oh Pinkie, what did you do?

“Aw, what’s the matter buddy?” Pinkie asked Crazylegs with enough saccharine sweetness to rot teeth. “Feeling sick to your stomach?”

She then leaned closer to the boy, then closer still until they were eye to eye. “Now you know how we feel around you!”

Crazylegs’ sick stricken eyes turned hard as he too suddenly put the pieces together, looking back and forth from Pinkie to Sunset to Pinkie again. “You did this to me!? You crazy bit…!”

The sound of flatulence deftly cut off Crazylegs, and his furious eyes suddenly widened as he looked down at himself in pure terror. “Oh shit…” he whimpered, and Sunset realized it was more than just a figure of speech in that moment.

“Sure smells like it, yeah,” Pinkie deadpanned, standing up straight and stepping aside, presenting Crazylegs with a clear path to the men’s room.

His pale face now bright red, Crazylegs humbly took it without another word, carefully waddling across the Sugarcube Corner to where the restrooms were. Unfortunately for him, he had to pass the table where Sunset’s friends were sitting to get there.

“Oh my God!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, all the jellybeans in her mouth spilling to the floor as she nudged Adagio and Applejack and pointed at Crazylegs through increasing laughter. “He shit his pants! He shit his pants! BAH HA HA HA HA!”

Hastened by Rainbow’s continued laughter, Crazylegs disappeared into the bathroom while Rarity chastised Rainbow for laughing at others’ misfortune even though she was stifling giggles herself. Adagio simply held out a hand and Rainbow relinquished ten dollars. Sunset looked away from the scene and turned to Pinkie, who unlike Rarity was making no attempt to hide her mirth.

“You shouldn’t have done that, Pinkie,” Sunset said with absolutely no humor in her voice.

Pinkie Pie looked at her and her giggles petered out. “You heard the things he said about you, Sunny!” she exclaimed, but Sunset’s nonplussed stare continued. “They’re not gonna die or anything, Sunset. They’ll be fine!” Pinkie then grinned evilly. “Once they get it all out of their system….”

“It’s not just that, Pinkie, this is not okay!” Sunset said, glancing towards the window to the kitchen where Mrs. Cake was working, before addressing Pinkie in a much lower voice. “You could get in serious trouble for this! I appreciate that you’ve got my back, I really do, but you can’t go on the warpath every time someone is unpleasant to me, okay?”

Seeing the look of absolute seriousness on Sunset’s face, Pinkie relented. “Okay. I’m sorry, Sunny,” she said. But Sunset knew she would do it again a thousand times if she asked her to.

But what Sunset didn’t know was that Pinkie Pie was already in trouble.

Hours later, the sun was down, the Sugar Cube Corner was closed, and Pinkie Pie was cleaning the floor of the establishment with a mop and bucket. After setting all of the chairs on top of the tables, Pinkie had volunteered to stay late to clean up with the manager while Sunset and Sonata went over to Applejack’s place and home, respectively.

So Pinkie mopped, humming a little tune to herself as she did so, when her uncle came down from upstairs.

“Hey Uncle Carrot!” Pinkie greeted with a happy smile. “I’m almost finished down here. Are you and Auntie Cup almost ready to go?”

But the thin, orange-haired man wasn’t smiling. “Actually, Pinkie, can you come join us in the office?” Carrot asked seriously but not unkindly. “We need to have a talk.”

The stern, parental way he phrased that last sentence was what set off the first alarm bells in Pinkie’s head.

“Of course, Uncle Carrot!” Pinkie said with one of her bubbly smiles. “Let me just finish cleaning….”

Now, Pinkie.”

A primal fear slowly started to take root in Pinkie Pie’s stomach—she was distinctly reminded of a time she had gotten into a fight with another girl in grade school and had later that day heard her name called to the principal's office. So with a fading smile, Pinkie set the mop and bucket against the nearest table and wordlessly followed Carrot up the stairs.

“Is… something the matter, Uncle Carrot?” Pinkie asked tentatively as they walked, but her uncle didn’t answer. Part of her already knew the answer, but just the same she pressed, “A-am I in trouble?”

They reached the door to Cup’s office, and Carrot answered, “Sure looks like it, Pinkie,” before opening it and stepping aside, motioning for Pinkie to go in first.

Pinkie entered the moderately-sized office to find Cup Cake seated at the desk in front of the computer, not taking an eye off of whatever she was working on.

“Hey Auntie Cup!” Pinkie said as cheerfully as she could. “You, uh… wanted to talk?”

The portly woman at last looked up from her screen, her normally kind rose eyes giving Pinkie a cold, stern glare. “Take a seat, Pinkamena,” Cup said, gesturing to a chair across from the desk.

The use of her full first name activated all of the “obey authority” instincts carefully honed in all teenagers in the presence of their parental figures, like a trigger word for a sleeper agent. Pinkie sat down.

“I couldn’t help but notice that two of our customers got very sick after eating some of our pastries,” Cup stated simply. “Know anything about that, Pinkamena?”

Of course, Pinkie knew everything about that.

“Nope!” Pinkie meeped. Her answer was automatic, in part due to sheer terror. Cup Cake was, under normal circumstances, a sweet and wonderful aunt, and Pinkie loved her dearly. But on the very rare occasion when her Auntie Cup was genuinely pissed off, Pinkie lost all capacity for rational thought.

Indeed, Cup’s glare increased in intensity, and Pinkie was overcome by the need to find a rock to hide under—the one advantage of living on her old farm in Arkansas; those were plentiful.

“Don’t lie to me, Pinkamena. You were raised better than this,” Cup said before rotating the computer screen so Pinkie could see it.

To her immediate horror, Pinkie realized it currently displayed footage from the security cameras that had been installed at the Sugar Cube Corner after a former employee had been caught stealing from the till. Cup pressed a button on the keyboard, and a movie starring Pinkie Pie began to play, in which the main character shoveled unsafe amounts of tapioca into two cupcakes before putting them with the rest of the batch in the oven.

What in the hell were you thinking, Pinkamena Diane Pie!?” Cup shouted-without-shouting, a trick all parents seemed to know.

“I’m sorry…” Pinkie croaked.

“Do you have any idea how much trouble this could cause not just for you, but for your uncle and I?!”

Against her better judgement, Pinkie felt her crippling fear slowly replaced by indignation as her aunt went on. After all, I did it for Sunny!

“What if those boys’ parents decide to press charges?” Cup continued. “Did you think about the consequences of your actions for even a second!?”

And just like that, Pinkie felt her indignation growing even more now that her aunt was all but insulting her intelligence.

“Relax, I said I was sorry!” Pinkie protested. Cup’s hardened glare indicated it was the wrong move, but Pinkie suddenly found that she couldn’t stop. “Besides, I used tapioca which is a fecula, meaning that legally the incident can be written off as a baking accident and not a health code violation or deliberate poisoning.”

At this, both Cup and Carrot wordlessly looked at her with genuine shock.

“What? I’m not stupid, just in case you forgot!” Pinkie exclaimed, petulantly crossing her arms.

“That’s… not the issue here,” Carrot finally said.

“Pinkie, what you did was absolutely unacceptable! This is beyond mere misbehavior! Carrot and I should fire you for this!” Cup fully shouted this time, and Pinkie winced. “What could have possibly possessed you to do something so thoughtless?!

The idea that her beloved aunt and uncle would actually fire her momentarily caused Pinkie to falter. But then the memory of the whole ordeal—of the things Crazylegs and Laces Out had said—gave Pinkie a very different kind of fire. “They were huge jerks! They had it coming!”

“That doesn’t matter, Pinkie,” Carrot said sternly. “It’s California! Jerks come into our store every day, but we don’t poison them! What makes these particular boys so much worse?!”

“They insulted Sunny!” Pinkie exclaimed. “If you’d heard what they were saying you’d understand!”

Cup closed her eyes and took a deep breath through her nose. Pinkie could almost imagine steam coming out of it, like some kind of angry bull. Indeed, when Cup opened her eyes again, it was like some steam really was let out, and though she seemed no more happy with Pinkie than when she entered, Cup looked at her with abated fury.

“Pinkie, your romantic feelings are still no excuse for poisoning customers.”

Pinkie opened her mouth to respond, but then it hit her. “Wait… what did you say…?”

“In case you forgot, I’m not stupid,” Cup echoed, for the first time that conversation not sounding like she was about to explode. “I see the way you look at her.” She then briefly glanced to the door where Carrot was standing. “I’ve seen that look plenty of times before.”

“To say nothing of your antagonistic attitude towards Compass Rose,” Carrot added with clear distaste, “who, may I add, would also have grounds to sue the Corner for harassment given your ties to us.” Carrot seemed about to keep going, but a patient look from his wife changed that. “However, your treatment of Rose is a discussion for another time.”

Pinkie just looked at her shoes. How long had they known all of this? It was not for them to know!

Seeming to read her mind, Cup continued, her anger all but completely reigned in. “I can understand not telling your parents about it, Pinkie. Lord only knows what your mother would do.” She looked at her husband, and the pair exchanged a nod. “But I’m honestly surprised you haven’t told us.”

Pinkie was at a loss for words. Her feelings for Sunset was one of her most closely guarded secrets, second only to the Big One. The big, terrible burden and pain that she carried with her every single day since that horrible night.

“Then you know why I had to do it,” she said.

“No, you didn’t!” Cup said, raising her voice again. “Pinkie, I still don’t think you understand….”

“No, you don’t understand!” Pinkie exclaimed, rising to her feet in a fit of emotional rage. Somehow, the aunt and uncle she’d loved like her own parents had figured out how she felt about one of her closest friends deep down inside, and they still had the audacity to tell her she was wrong!

You weren’t there! You didn’t hear the terrible things they said!” The words were spilling out, but Pinkie couldn’t stop. Her throat was sore, but Pinkie couldn’t stop. She was dangerously close to letting the Big One slip out. But Pinkie couldn’t stop.

They talked about the Club! They said they hoped that Sunny was raped! They fetishized it like fucking psychopaths, but they don’t know the Club like I do! They don’t know what it’s like! NONE OF YOU DO!!!” Pinkie only stopped when she realized she was out of breath, and as she gasped for air she realized her nose wouldn’t stop running. Her vision was obscured both by tears, and her own perfectly straight hair.

Cup and Carrot Cake exchanged another look. All of the calculated parental anger was gone. The two of them looked at Pinkie with wide, almost terrified eyes. Cup’s hand moved to cover her mouth. They had the look of people who were just now putting together the pieces to a horrible jigsaw puzzle.

“Pinkie… what are you trying to say?” Cup asked.

Pinkie didn’t know what to do. She opened her mouth and tried to say something, anything, but all that came out was a muted whimper. She wanted to come up with some rationalization for her outburst. Wanted to write it off as just another joke. Just Pinkie Pie being Pinkie Pie. but every time she tried, all she saw were the nightmarish images—no, memories—of that night.

“Too much…” Pinkie finally answered before she went through with her final gambit.

She turned and ran out of the room. She heard Carrot and Cup both call out to her but their voices were distant—they might as well have been on another planet. She ran out of the office, down the stairs, and out the door, fighting back tears the entire way. Only when she made it back to their house on Bowtie Avenue and up to her bedroom did she finally allow herself to give up the fight, and the tears broke free.

Author's Note:

Stay tuned for the second half, coming the same time next week!

Steamy single TvTropes page in your area craves your touch today!