• Published 14th Sep 2018
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Sunset the Shadowbolt - snq144

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Chapter 2: Familiar Faces

“They really didn’t hold back, did they?” a soft chuckle escaped Sunset’s lips as she looked around the room, taking in the mass of furniture that she had unboxed and arranged the previous day. It had taken her the entire afternoon to set everything up, willingly skipping supper even as she set up her new room, smiling the whole while.

A wide dresser with six drawers sat beside the walk in closet, thankfully this one was only a fraction of the size at the Sirens’, with a full body mirror just beside it. Her desk sat in the corner, its shape resting perfectly there with long arms on either side with a small shelf like piece on the edges. Countless bookshelves lined her walls, empty for the moment but Sunset knew she would soon fill them to the brim with mighty tomes of knowledge! She chuckled at the thought as the dark morning twilight passed through her blinds and blanketed her now made bed. It was a king size, something Sunset both enjoyed and despised; she hated making her bed every morning!

A large stand stood against the far wall from her bed, a sticky note on the box in Aria’s scrawling had told her it was a stand for a television that would be arriving at the end of the week; apparently the store was out of the model the Sirens had bought for her, making her wonder just how big it was going to be.

She meandered over towards her closet, opening it and digging around inside for clothes and a towel. She needed to go out and buy school supplies again thanks to her apartment blowing up and taking all of her old CHS stuff with it. She glanced over at the massive wad of hundred dollar bills that had been stored in the box that had held the bedding the Sirens had gotten her, that time it was Adagio telling her that it was for Sunset to buy anything else that she needed for the week, and to let her know if she needed more.

That reminded her that she needed a bank account now; Dean Cadence had asked for her deposit information as soon as possible for the student funding, making Sunset wonder just how much it was going to be. She assumed that they paid all of the students, so surely it couldn’t be that much, right?

She started to discard her sleepwear into her new laundry hamper, skipping on one leg as she tried to both unclothe and get over to her private washroom. She had organized it last night when she took a quick shower before bed, enjoying the hot water running down her aching frame. It had both a stand alone shower and a separate bath, both of them beyond spacious a single user, such as Sunset.

She smirked as she shut the door behind her, her underwear slipping silently to the ground. Time for a good start to her last day of freedom.

(V):.:(V)

“Huh… She really does look like Sunstrike.” Sunset paused as she reached the bottom of the stairs, noticing a pair of newcomers sitting alongside Indigo Zap in the living room area. The girl speaking had long hair made of many shades of green, which popped against her light pink skin as she removed her headphones off her head. “That’s a real bitching scar though.”

“What did you say her name was again?” the other new girl had periwinkle skin and long white hair tied back in pigtails. She adjusted her glasses as she glanced between Sunset and Indigo as a door closed shut back upstairs.

“Her name is Sunset Shimmer, Sugarcoat.” was that girl Sour Sweet? Or Sunny Flare? Sunset stepped out of the way as the girl tromped down the stairs. “She’s our new classmate.”

“Nice to meet you.” Sunset nodded towards Sugarcoat as the other new girl raised her hand and called out at her.

“I’m Lemon Zest! I love your coat.”

“Thank you. You’re much nicer than the others were yesterday.”

“Hey! We thought you were Sunstrike, alright?” Indigo Zap cried from the couch in annoyance. “I don’t think anyone here likes that girl except the Nerd.”

“Well I expect to have quite the explaining to do over the next… Probably month or so of classes.” Sunset shrugged as she pulled her jacket snugger. The wind hadn’t been too cold blowing through her open window earlier, so she wasn’t dressed too thickly, her jeans and heeled boots matching her leather jacket and top quite well. “Now if you’ll all excuse me, I need to go finish some last minute shopping.”

“You need more!?” Sour Sweet shouted from the kitchen, starting to juggle her bread that she was about to insert into the toaster. “What else could you possibly need in that room?”

“Well my T.V. still has to arrive, apparently they were out of the model at the local stores. I also need to grab a laptop and some speakers, maybe some new strings for my guitar.” Sunset rang out her list, tapping finger against finger. “Oh! And I need supplies for school, binders and all that stuff. Apparently I forgot all mine back home.”

“Well at least she isn’t perfect…” grumbled Sour noisily as she stuffed the bread into the toaster, hammering down on the lever to depress the toast-to-be. “But why are you going out so early? The mall isn’t even open for another half an hour!”

“Well I figured I go and buy some breakfast. I saw this neat little pub a little ways down the street.” she shrugged as she made her way to the door, ‘accidentally’ slipping her wallet out of her coat on the way. “I’ll be back in a few hours.”

“You dropped your wallet!” Lemon Zest shouted as she vaulted over the sofa, grabbing the fake leather piece and freezing. “Here you… go…?”

“Hm? What’s up, Lemon?” Indigo asked, following her comrade in arms, only to do a spit take as her audiophile friend flipped the wallet over and the mass of hundred dollar bills filtered out of it. “What the hell!? Did you rob a bank or something!?”

“No, that was an advance on my allowance.” Sunset gave a warm smile as she walked over and grabbed the bills, but she was snickering uncontrollably on the inside. “Tell ya what, why don’t the five of you order something nice for lunch? My treat.”

Sunset slowly stood back up, handing one of the hundred’s over to Lemon Zest before stuffing her wallet into her front pocket and walking back to the door. “Toodles.”

She could barely control her laughing as an argument broke out on the other side of the door as soon as it shut behind her, causing her to scurry away rapidly to the elevator. Thankfully it was clear out this morning, no fresh snow on the ground and only mostly cloud covered skies. The cafe would be about a five minute walk, she figured, and after she ate she could head to the mall; maybe even walk there.

“Don’t be afraid to spend that money.” Adagio had said when Sunset called the previous night, refusing to take more of their money. “We’ve been saving up since the banks first came into existence here; we probably have two-thirds of the world’s wealth spread around it.”

Sunset still wondered why it was that they didn’t control the world yet. Heck, for all she knew, maybe they already did! She would have to ask them the next time she got to hang out with them. She pulled out her phone; no, it would be rude to call them at this hour. Knowing them, they would be either asleep in a cuddle-puddle, or busy being busy with one another.

The door opened, letting Sunset enter the short amount of hallway before slipping out the door into the common room. It was still empty, though Sunset wondered if it would always be like that. Hopefully people would learn the difference between her and Sunstrike quickly, she really didn’t want to be dealing with yet another situation of mistaken identities…

She sighed as she swiped her ID card over the console for the elevator. Those days were behind her, but she still felt the pain, even as she tried to bury it that night during karaoke. It was going to take a long time for the wounds to heal, though she also understand that she was the cause of all of this in the first place with her actions.

“Hey. The doors open.” Sunset gave a small jump as the purple girl pushed past her, not even sparing a glance. At least she told Sunset that, so that was a plus.

“T-Thanks…” she muttered as she slipped into the large box with the girl. “Um, could I learn your name now?”

“Tempest Shadow.” the girl said, narrowing her eyes as she stared through their corners at the girl standing beside her. “Starlight told me that you were indeed not Sunstrike, and I recommend you do not interact with that girl.”

“Um, why? Everyone keeps saying that but no one has explained why.”

“She’s a troublemaker; a dissenter that seeks to ruin this school from the inside.” Sunset was amazed at just how adamant Tempest’s voice was, her body remaining entirely composed. “That’s all you need to know.”

“Um, thanks?” she responded meekly as the elevator opened once more and Tempest walked out, a subdued haste to her step. Sunset just shook her head and slowly followed after her schoolmate, before Tempest scowled and walked down a separate path, leaving Sunset alone. First impressions were everything, and the student body so far was prickly, to say the best. At least it was only a handful of students out of hundreds, things should surely balance out.

She gave one last swipe of her card as she stepped out of the gate locking off the student housing from the outside world, giving a small stretch before she started her way down the street. The sidewalks were clear of any snow, the large amount on the street packed down from frequent traveling upon, leaving Sunset’s boots to clack on the cold, frozen pavement underfoot.

Five minutes and twenty some seconds later, only due to someone in a sporty looking car with tinted windows roaring past, Sunset stood in front of the cafe, frozen in spot as she looked in through the large window.

“Hello, Sunset.” Adagio mouthed as all three Sirens greeted her. Aria crossed her arms while a smug grin spread over her face, while Sonata’s exuberance could be felt through the large pane of glass as Sunset slowly walked inside. “How are you this morning?”

“Um, fine, thank you.” she said in response to finally hearing Adagio’s conceited voice, walking over to stand beside the three girls, Sonata launching off the chair and wrapping her arms around her friend. “What are you three doing here?”

“Getting a bit to eat before the morning started.” the lead Siren responded, Sunset surprised that Aria didn’t break out into cackles. Sonata meanwhile was cuddling Sunset desperately, purring happily.

“Believe it or not, but we own this place.” Aria said, leaning back and putting her boots up onto the table, only to just as quickly remove them while hissing and rubbing her aching shins. “The fuck was that for, Adagio!?”

“Just because we own it doesn’t mean we should act like pompous teenagers!” the orange curled mass of dominance spat, shaking her head as Sunset started to giggle.

“Well I guess I should ask if you three have space for anoth-”

“Right here!!!” Sonata shouted, Sunset’s ears ringing from the intensity as the blue Siren rapidly deposited the taller girl in between herself and Adagio, Aria scowling momentarily. “I tooootally recommend the breakfast burrito!”

“I regret us ever going to Mexicolt…” Aria grumbled loudly.

“I was thinking something with apple, rose tea, and white bread.” Sunset chuckled, rubbing Sonata’s head, the girl giggling happily underneath the amber hand. “Nice and light to start a day of shopping.”

“Ah yes, the necessary school supplies.” Adagio sighed melodramatically as she sat back and took a delicate sip of her tea. “That was the most annoying part leading up to the Battle of the Bands.”

“Math is, like, mental torture of these humans!” Sonata moaned, her head thrown back. “For realsies! Why do they even put up with it!?”

“Without math, how would you track the perfect mixture for your tacos, Sonata?” Sunset asked, watching as the girl’s face fell, causing giggling to fill the air from the other three Equestrians.

“So tell us again what it is that you are shopping for today?” Adagio asked, looking away momentarily to motion at one of the girls that had been standing off to the side. “Yes, we need an order of apple-cinnamon waffles, with a side of white bread, plain, and some rose tea.”

“Wow, that sounds really good, Adagio.” Sunset nodded, matching the waitress as she started walking to the back of the cafe. “As far as I’m looking for, probably just a massive binder, loose leaf, and writing utensils. And I guess a new laptop, the student housing has a massive computer lab, but I’d prefer something a little more… personal.”

“Just remember that if you need more money-”

“Give you three a call, yes; but really! There was like seven grand in that box! I don’t think I’ve had that much money here ever!” Sunset watched as the three Sirens started to chuckle in response to her exasperation. “Oh! Speaking of money; I need a bank account. Apparently the school funds its students?”

“Oh, that’s different.” Adagio said, bringing her hand up to her chin. “I mean, we could open you up one tomorrow afternoon. What time do you get out of classes again?”

“I think around four? I don’t even know my schedule yet, I’m supposed to go in and do that tomorrow morning.”

“Aren’t finals starting soon?” inquired Aria, tilting her head. “Are you gonna be ready for them even? I would hate for you to get in and then immediately bomb out because of tests that you haven’t studied for.”

Sunset burst into laughter at the comment, wiping away a tear as she quickly quieted herself. “Aria, please. I was the personal protégé of Celestia when I lived in Equestria. I probably knew more then than any of these kids do now! And I’ve studied tons of stuff in this world! I swear, if there was an actual career that just involved learning everything, that would me.”

“Still, Crystal Prep apparently has quite the reputation of high standards.” Adagio cautioned, resting a hand on Sunset’s leg. “Don’t be afraid to ask us for help.”

“Yeah! We’re smarter than we look!” Sonata beamed as she finally looked up from her pile of whipped cream with a hint of what looked like pancakes and plate underneath, her face almost totally hidden behind a mask of the dairy confection.

(V):..:(V)

“Thanks again for the meal and the ride you three.” Sunset gave a slight bow as she departed the car. “Are you sure you don’t want to come with me?”

“No, I think it best for our cover story if you go alone, sadly.” Adagio said slowly, all three Sirens giving their own sad looks. “This way you can pull out you Great Bridal driver’s license should any Wondercolt come after you.”

“I guess? Well, if you’re sure.” Sunset waved farewell as the Sirens’ car pulled away, stuffing her hands into her jacket pockets as they disappeared around the corner of the building. She felt just as disappointed to be apart again after how nice it was to eat together again. She didn’t realize just how much she enjoyed their company.

She shrugged as she started into the mall, the building relatively quiet thanks to the combination of early morning and holidays. It felt cavernous inside, the music bouncing around off the walls thanks to no foot traffic. Sunset was alone, more or less, save for the employees she saw lingering around in the various stores.

What was first on the list then? She paused at one of the many terminals that dotted the mall, tapping a finger against the wide circle to start the map. The Crystal Empire Mall spanned five floors, and Sunset had a sneaking hunch she was going to be visiting all of them. For now she should find somewhere that did school supplies.

Scissors was on the next floor, so that was going to be the first choice. She would be able to get all of her school supplies there most likely, though lugging all of that through the mall was going to be a hindrance. What else could she hit first, something lighter perhaps?

There was a computer shop up on the fourth floor, Sunset remembering that the shop that she went to with the Sirens to get her phone didn’t deal with laptops nor desktops, so no use going there. Except that walking around the mall with a laptop would be risky too; she would be unable to set it down anywhere.

The next business she spotted was a video game retailer, up on the fifth floor. She was getting a T.V. soon, so maybe she should pick herself up a console to go with it? Depending on the console it could also act as a movie player if she so desired, so that wasn’t a bad choice. Again it was the price of the item though, and that’s what caused her pause. She couldn’t carry it around the mall, let alone the long walk back to the student housing!

She should have had the Sirens stay with her, Wondercolts be damned! A taxi was what it was going to be it looked like, and she’d never used one of them before. A first time for everything, then. Sunset paused and looked at the map again, deciding on starting at the top and working her way down, carrying the least for as long as possible.

She took off towards the staircase that led up to the next floor, following them up and up their winding path until she sat at the far end of the floor she needed to be on. She counted all of three other people from this height that weren’t employees, and judging by the way they were walking, they were probably half asleep at the wheel.

It only took her a couple minutes to reach the game store, ‘Equestrian Boutique Games’, walking in and waking up the pair of half asleep boys at the counter.

“Welcome to Equestrian Boutique Games.” one of them yawned, the other too busy copying suite to speak, only nodding as much as he could. “Can we help you find anything?”

“I’m just gonna look for a minute, but I’ll probably need a hand getting something shortly.” Sunset chuckled, the pair joining in as they scratched the back of their heads.

There were tons of games lining the shelves, for all sorts of systems and handhelds; she didn’t know where to even begin looking! If she remembered right, the Gamestation was the more popular of the three, with the 180-Box lagging behind, and the newer version of Sonata’s favourite console lacking even more, so it seemed her choice of console was set.

But what about games? She glanced through the covers, picking up a few to look at the back if they triggered her interest, and it wasn’t long until she had a small collection of various titles, ranging from rpg’s to fps’ as she walked up to the counter, depositing them in front of one of the boys.

“I’ll also need the console this goes with.” she said, the boys looking at her in amazement, causing her to chuckle. They were probably sophomores judging by their looks as they scrambled about.

“S-Sure, wh-which one?” asked the second, drawing her attention to the wall that he now stood beside, pointing up at the shelving holding up the same system with all sorts of prices.

“That one, I guess?” she just pointed at the most expensive one, a small piece of coloured paper hanging off of it saying it had the most storage space. But it was the box sitting beside it that interested her even more. “Oh! And that one too!”

The boy gulped as he looked up at the massive box sitting beside the console, the other boy silently chuckling from behind the counter as he started ringing up the games.

“I haven’t played Band Hero in forever!”

(V):...:(V)

Eight hundred some dollars later, Sunset stumbled out of the shop with her arms full of the box full of plastic band instruments and the system to play it with, giggling in excitement. She no longer cared about the other games that sat in her bag, instead focusing on what could be done with Band Hero. She didn’t have an amp for her own guitar, and she wasn’t planning on purchasing one at the moment, but this game would more than suffice. Apparently it came with all the new songs, as well as all the songs from all the previous iterations of the game.

Next was the computer shop that sat a level down and across on the other side of the mall. She had to take her time walking down the stairs thanks to the sheer bulkiness of the box, combined with four people trying to walk up the way she was heading down, but she was soon panting as she rested inside the aptly named, ‘Computer Store’.

“Good morning!” Sunset looked up just in time to see a young peach skinned man with blondish hair wave at her from behind the counter. “Looks like you have your hands full.”

Sunset chuckled. “Yes, just slightly. How are you this morning?”

“Oh, alive and kicking.” was the surprisingly cheery response as Sunset picked up her box again.

“That’s better than the alternative!”

“Yup! Better to be picking the daisies than pulling them.” the pair laughed for a moment. “Want to leave your stuff up here behind the counter? It looks heavy.”

“Sure, plus it’s store policy I see.” Sunset responded, motioning to a small sign sitting beside her.

“Your words, not mine. So what brings you in at this ungodly hour?”

“I need a laptop, I know nothing about them, and I have a lot of money.” she said simply, the man’s face remaining in a smile as he nodded along with her voice.

“Alrighty, what is the laptop for?” he asked as Sunset deposited her stuff, motioning to follow him over to the long display that was set up.

“School, but I want something powerful.” Sunset responded, watching as her host brought his hand up to his scruffy haired chin as he studied the wall.

“Any gaming?”

“Maybe?” she said slowly, giving an apologetic smile, only to pause when she saw something start glittering on the far end of the display, scampering towards it. “Oooh! What’s this?”

“Ah, that one.” the man walked down to the laptop Sunset hovered in front of. “The NSI Dragon. It’s the top of the line laptop available to the public at the moment, though I hear-”

“Its keyboard lights up!” Sunset said as the keys twinkled with various colours, her eyes opened wide as she smiled excitedly.

“Yes, it does.” the man chuckled as Sunset sat there beaming over the light show playing before her.

“I want it…”

“It’s a lot more than you sound like you need.”

“Wait… You do work here, right?” Sunset said, looking up at the man in amusement who simply nodded. “Are you telling me not to buy something?”

“I’m just saying that maybe there is something more price efficient for you.” he chortled, clasping his hands. “That’s all.”

“Well you deserve an award for the most customer conscious salesman of all time. And while I appreciate the concern, this is the one I want, so let’s go ring me up!”

(V):....:(V)

Sunset shifted her new backpack around, her laptop shifting around slightly as she maneuvered down the stairs towards Scissors. The man didn’t even work on commission! Sunset asked if there was some way she could tip him, but he politely declined, saying he was just happy to help her. Her wallet was much reduced in width now, thanks to about three fifths of the money she brought having been spent now.

At least she saved the inexpensive stuff for last, as she didn’t know how much she was going to spend on a taxi. The mall wasn’t that far away from the student housing, maybe a half hour walk, so it would be a quick drive most likely.

She skipped down the stairs as she started on her way towards Scissors, wanting to get back home and start fiddling with her new laptop. First things first, she would need to finish her shopping; school supplies were a higher priority. But as soon as she hit the floor that held Scissor’s she found herself face to face with a large advertisement in the window of an optometrist’s.

“Hmmm…” Sunset stared at the advertisement, a couple in glasses smiling brightly as large letters advertised a fifty percent off sale on frames. “I mean, I don’t need them to see, thankfully, but maybe they would help differentiate me from this Sunstrike girl.”

With a small nod she shifted into the store for a disguise worthy of a superhero.

(V):.....:(V)

She felt bad telling them that she needed the glasses for looks instead of vision correction, the lenses was where they made their money after all. Still, it was cheap, and should help with distinguishing her from Sunstrike hopefully. Plus they looked really good on her; she couldn’t wait to put them on when she got home, but first, to Scissors.

As soon as she entered she was asked to leave her bags at the front, which she was more than happy to comply with; it would be easier to find what she needed if she could use her hands after all.

“Let’s see… Stationary… Lunchroom?” Sunset walked past the aisles in search of school supplies. “Legal… Ah! School, perfect!”

She walked slowly as she studied the shelving, looking for whatever she could find that was practical; she’d already spent enough money on luxury today after all. Sunset paused before grabbing a few packs of mechanical pencils, replacement graphites, and erasers before stuffing them into her shopping cart.

“Heh… Someone forgot your crown it seems.” Sunset chuckled as she noticed a child’s pencil bag with a snow white unicorn with wings and flowing, multicoloured hair, she reached out for it, only to pause when a familiar voice echoed from the near end of the aisle.

“Look, I knooow I use a lot of paper, but it’s all for a good purpose!” a short, lavender coloured girl giggled as she rounded the corner, a grey woman with white and purple streaked hair laughing alongside a blue man with cobalt hair. “I promise!”

“Twily, please. For the sake of you not deforesting the planet I think you should switch to a tablet for your excessive note taking.” the blue man rested a hand on the shoulder of the younger girl.

“Princess Twilight…?” Sunset muttered, perhaps louder than she have judging by the fact that she was now getting looks from all three people standing a few feet away from her.

Princess Twilight? You didn’t tell me you were royalty.” the woman chuckled as she patted the girl on the back before looking up at Sunset. “Hello, Sunstrike. I thought- Oh my, what happened to your face?”

“O-Oh, you must be- I’m not Sunstrike, my name is Sunset Shimmer.” Sunset stuttered, speaking quickly as she gave a quick chuckle. “I’m a new student at Crystal Prep and I’m just picking up my supplies. S-Sorry, you just look like someone I knew. I-I’ll, uh, leave you three be.”

“Hey now, no need to be embarrassed.” Sunset froze in spot, her body quaking as the man, obviously the father of this world’s Twilight Sparkle, addressed her. “Our girl Twily here is a student at the Academy as well!”

“U-Um… P-Please to meet you.” Twilight said, adjusting her glasses self consciously as she looked up at the towering Sunset. Twilight came up to bust height on the girl, and while Sunset knew she was tall by anyone’s standards in this world, let alone for a woman, she still couldn’t help but chuckle as she looked down at the shorter girl. “Y-You said you knew someone like me?”

“Y-Yeah… It’s, uh… Personal, sorry.” Sunset smiled apologetically as she fingered her scar subconsciously. “It’s nice to meet another student from CPA, however! I’ve been so busy setting up my room that I haven’t had too much time to go out and meet very many other students yet.”

“Which floor are you on? Maybe Twily here could come visit you!”

“Dad! S-Stop calling me that when other people are around!” Twilight’s face was a cherry red as she flailed her arms at her father, the other three people chuckling softly.

“Well I’m up on the fifteenth floor, actually. Room… Eleven? I think?” Sunset paused. She was still getting used to her new living arrangements.

“Oh! I’m in room ten!” the purple girl looked up at Sunset, a slight smile on her face. “I guess you’re my neighbour then!”

“I’m Night Light, and this is my wife, Twilight Velvet.” the man finally introduced both himself and his wife, Twilight Velvet giving a small wave as Sunset nodded at them in turn.

“Nice to meet you. I guess I was just running into all the bad apples at the school.”

“Bad apples? You mean like Indigo and her clique?” Twilight Sparkle looked up at Sunset with a tired hint to her eyes as her parents took a step back.

“Why don’t you two talk for a little bit, me and your Mom will go look around.” Night Light said with a sly wink as the pair walked away.

“Uh, I guess? I mean, the most trouble I’ve had so far was… Starlight Glimmer?” Sunset said, shivering as she thought of that girl. There were all sorts of hints back to Sunset as she had been; manipulative, controlling, and that hint of superiority.

“Oh, Starlight’s not that bad.” Sunset was shocked as Twilight started to laugh, waving a hand at her. “She just wants all the students to come together with one another as equals, that’s all.”

“Is she… your friend?” she asked the shorter girl, trying her best to keep her worrying out of her voice.

“I-I-I mean, I guess? She’s been one of the few students to treat me nicely at that school. The whole place is a giant shark tank.” Twilight sighed, slumping her shoulders. “I had hoped that I would make some friends there, but all the students are so focused on themselves. I’ve been thinking about transferring into a private study program, but each time I bring it up to her, Starlight convinces me to stay at CPA.”

“Well what about this Sunstrike girl? Your parents and you obviously know her; and all I’ve heard at school so far is to avoid her.” Sunset rested gently against her cart as she started to quiz Twilight.

“Sunstrike is… unique. She’s easily the smartest, most capable student at the school, but anyone who tries to get close to her, well…” Twilight gave a slight chuckle as she straightened her hair. “She’s rough around the edges, she’s let her achievements get to her and sees no others as her equal.”

Yuuup, I know that feeling all to well… Sunset nodded. “Okay, so how are you close with her then?”

“Not really. I mean me, her, and Starlight are the top three students of the school, so we usually end up together in various things, and Starlight can’t stand Sunstrike’s attitude. I, uh… put up with her.”

“Ah, gotcha. Well I guess I shouldn’t hold up hopes for the students being friendly then, huh?” Sunset received a small shrug in response.

“I mean, there’s a few. Lemon Zest is alright, Coco Pommel, assuming you don’t talk to her in front of Suri… Um…” Twilight grew silent as she obviously ran out of names. “T-There’s more! I promise! But… Just don’t get your hopes up.”

“Gotcha. Play it quiet then.” Sunset nodded, her fears manifesting in visions of the students during Anon-A-Miss. “Don’t draw any attention to myself.”

“Ummm… You’re part of the “Upper Floor”, and you look just like Sunstrike.” Twilight said, smiling awkwardly. “You’re not gonna get that chance.”

“Right…” Sunset’s shoulders slumped. She had gathered that this Sunstrike was this versions world of herself, all the comments of the two of them looking alike, combining with what this world’s Twilight said about her behaviour, it just made sense.

“Princess Twilight!? What are you doing here? And with her of all people?” Sunset wanted to stab the next Murphy she met with a dull, rusted spoon as she watched none other than Trixie Lulamoon point a finger at the two of them in her usual over dramatic fashion.

“Um, do we know you?” Sunset said aloud, walking up to stand beside Twilight. She was doing her best to look confused, and her years of experience in playing the Principal’s at CHS definitely helped as the sky blue girl stormed towards them.

“Oh don’t think you can play coy, Anon-A-Miss!” the girl said loudly, scowling at Sunset. “Trixie knows that you deleted your account just so the authorities can’t track you!”

“Look, you obviously have me and my classmate here mistaken with someone else.” Sunset brought her hand up to her face and gave a tired sigh, before smiling and reaching that hand out towards the girl. “My name is Sunset Shimmer-”

“Trixie knows that.”

“-And I just moved here from Great Bridle. Are you a student at Crystal Prep as well?” Sunset could feel her facade start to fail, the corners of her mouth trembling as Trixie slapped away her hand.

“Don’t think for a moment that you can trick me again, Shimmer!” she spat, looking now at the cowering and confused Twilight Sparkle. “Princess, surely you know not to be around this-”

“I-I-I-I don’t even know you…” Twilight stuttered, looking up at Sunset for help.

“Here…” Sunset dug into her wallet, blessing the stars that the Sirens had their… lackeys fly overnight to bring Sunset’s forged documentation as she pulled out her Great Bridle driver’s license. “See? Now whatever issues you may have with this other Sunset Shimmer obviously doesn’t involve me. Are you sure you don’t mean Sunstrike? A lot of the other students at CPA seem to talk a lot about her.”

“She’s not a student there.” Twilight said, adjusting her glasses as she stepped somewhat out from behind Sunset. “I think she goes to Canterlot High School, one of the other schools in town.”

“I… Trixie has found our Sunset Shimmer…” the girl said, backpedaling and looking like her world was imploding as she pointed a finger between the two girls. “A-A-And the Princess! J-J-Just wait until everyone hears of this!”

“Umm… What?” Sunset said, chuckling on the inside as she watched the girl backpedal all the way back out of the aisle before running in the direction of the entrance. “Well that was… something.”

“I agree. Um, tha-thank you. I’m not the greatest at public interactions.” Twilight smiled, a slight blush coming to her face. “Um… M-Maybe we could be, ya know… friends?”

Sunset remained neutral at the girl’s proposal, conflict raging internally. She could use a friend at the school, but she was certain Starlight had her claws in this Twilight, and that could cause issues. She wasn’t sure if she could survive another Twilight Sparkle turning on her. “Sure, why not. Just, uh… Don’t expect a lot out of me. I’m not much of a people person myself, especially after… Yeah.”

“Um, are you two alright?” Night Light said as him and his wife reappeared at the end of the hall.

“We just saw this girl run out of here shouting about… Equestrians?” Twilight Velvet looked utterly confused before she started to giggle. “I don’t know what horse riding has to do with anything, but it seems like you two are fine.”

“Yeah. Yeah, we’re fine. That girl had us confused for someone else.” Sunset chuckled, rubbing the back of her head. “I’m used to it now honestly.”

“Well, hopefully you can clear that up quickly at the school. Reputation is a pretty major thing there.” Night Light said as he wrapped an arm around his daughter.

“So I hear. I, uh, need to finish my shopping; gotta get my school supplies ready for tomorrow, and I’m not looking forward to taking my first taxi here, especially with all the stuff I purchased already.” Sunset gave a small sigh as she started grabbing various binders and packs of paper, adding them to the pile she had started in her cart before running into the Human Twilight Sparkle.

“A taxi? Why don’t you let us give you a ride back?” Twilight Velvet wore a motherly smile as she looked up at Sunset.

“We were on our way there with Twilly before she asked to stop here for more note paper.” Night Light chuckled as Twilight once again voiced her annoyances over the pet name.

“Um, sure. Thank you!” Sunset nodded happily as she smiled. She wasn’t receiving any warning signals anything was up with them, and worst case scenario she knew the Sirens had put a tracking device on her phone; Sonata had spoiled that in secret over breakfast. “I should have almost everything here already, so why don’t I meet you three up at the tills?”

“Don’t be long! Spike is still waiting out in the car!” Twilight said as the three started to depart, only to freeze when she remembered her companion. “Er, you’re not allergic to dogs, are you?”

“Nope, all good here.” Sunset smiled as she returned to grabbing whatever supplies she still needed. This was going to be all kinds of awkward now, wasn’t it?

(V):......:(V)

“So you said you moved here from Great Bridal? What caused you to do that?” Night Light asked as he looked at Sunset through the rear view mirror.

“Yeah, uh… Had some problems at my school and had to leave. Crystal Prep seemed like the best choice for me to continue my studies.” Sunset said quietly, being careful not to divulge too much.

“Well you made the right choice, dear. Crystal Prep is the top rated Academy on the continent! That’s why we enrolled Twilight here.” Twilight Velvet smiled as she looked back at the pair of students, smiling proudly at her daughter.

“Um… W-What happened at your old school?” Twilight asked, her eyes obviously studying Sunset’s scar.

“Uh… Oh boy.” Sunset looked out the window, unsure of what she should even say here. “Look, it’s really personal. All I’ll say is that the closest people in my life at that point turned on me over something I wasn’t responsible for.”

“I’m sorry to hear that dear.” Velvet said, resting a hand on the girl’s knee. “It sounds like they weren’t really your friends in the first place.”

“Yeah…” Sunset said, looking out the window. She could see the rapidly approaching student housing complex, its towers reaching high up into the sky as the car came to a halt against the curb right across from the main gate.

“Are you sure you don’t need a hand with all that?” Night Light said, watching as Sunset grabbed hold of the large box holding the goodies for Band Hero.

“Nah, I’ll be fine.” Sunset grinned as she grabbed the rest of her bags, looping her backpack across her shoulders and hanging her new school supplies from her arms before picking up the box again. “Thank you so much for the ride though, definitely saved me from trying to deal with a taxi.”

“No worries. Best of luck with everything here, Sunset!” Twilight Velvet waved as she and her husband got back into their car after giving Twilight each a loving embrace.

“Here, let me get the doors for you.” Twilight offered as the duo crossed the street, the girl rushing ahead and pulling her large wallet from her purse, pulling out a more official looking ID card than what Sunset possessed.

“Thanks. Much easier than unloading everything at every single door.” the duo chuckled as they slowly made their way into the building, slowly climbing up it through elevators and stairs until they walked out onto the seventh floor common grounds, running face to face with a new trio of girls.

“Oh, your back.” the tall one with striking white skin and long pink hair said as the yellow skinned girl with the white and lilac hair rolled her eyes. The third one barely looked up from her phone, her pale purple skin matching well with her darker violet hair. “I would be careful. Sunstrike got back early…”

“A-Ah, thank you for the heads up, Fleur.” Twilight nodded as she shot aside for the three girls to enter, before grabbing Sunset by the wrist and pulling her out of the elevator before it shut.

“Um, who were those three?” she asked, looking behind and only seeing the shut doors.

“Fleur de Lis was the tall one with the pink hair and her friend Upper Crust was the girl with the yellow skin.” Twilight explained as they started towards the door to the girl’s side of the dorms.

“And the other girl?”

“That was Suri Polomare… She’s a friend of Starlight’s, but I don’t really trust her.”

“Suri… You mentioned her earlier, right? With Coco?” Sunset paused, trying to remember their previous conversation at the mall.

“Yes. Coco hangs around with Suri, but I don’t really know why or what she sees in her.” Twilight motioned for Sunset to enter the elevator that just arrived. “She’s a nice girl though.”

They remained quiet as they rode the elevator up to their floor, Sunset briefly once again thanking Twilight for getting the doors as they paused outside of the barrier to their personal floor.

“So you’re in the room beside me, huh? Do you know if anyone is in room twelve?” Sunset asked as Twilight unlocked the last door.

“That would be Sunstrike…” Twilight’s tone was uneven as she explained, following behind Sunset into the living room.

“Oh. Well I’m gonna have to meet her at some point, may as well get it over with, right?” Sunset shrugged as she walked over to the stairs up, carefully maneuvering her way towards her room.

“I guess everyone has run away…” Twilight said, playful barking from the small carrier she hefted. Spike thankfully did not speak the same language as Sunset and the other humans, though he did love to bark. “I wish you the best of luck with Sunstrike, Sunset… Wow, say that five times fast.”

Sunset chuckled as she waved farewell to the girl as she entered her own room, Sunset depositing the box of plastic instruments onto the floor as she dug her wallet out of her pocket, finally using her own card to get into her room, where she carried her things over to her bed before depositing them on and around it; gently in the case of her new laptop.

With a tired sigh, and slumping of shoulders, she departed her room, making sure to lock it behind her as she walked over to room number twelve, raising her hand and knocking firmly on the door.

No response.

She knocked again, more firmly this time.

“Alright, alright. Stop your incessant knocking!” a familiar voice called out from the other side of the door, the floor shaking ever so slightly as the person stomped towards the door. “What the hell do you want, Star… light…?”

“Uh, hi.” Sunset said, raising a hand and waving at herself, unsure of what else to say.

Sunstrike was Sunset, the exact same stunning hair of yellow and red, striking aquamarine eyes, and smooth amber skin, though she lacked the eye scar and her hair was back in the style Sunset used to wear before she switched over to the ponytail she had been sporting since the karaoke night.

“...What…?” Sunstrike looked at Sunset in utter confusion, causing her to chuckle.

“Everyone has a doppelganger somewhere in the world, right?” she said, smiling warmly. “My name is Sunset Shimmer, I just moved here from Great Bridle.”

“...What…?” Sunset burst out into joyful giggling as her other self stood there, completely lost.

“Okay, so I’m your doppelganger apparently, and-”

“No, I get that, it’s just that normally the whole doppelganger thing isn’t usually this accurate.” Sunstrike said as she studied Sunset, slowly walking around her in the hallway. “I mean, you are literally me, minus the whole eye scar thing.”

That’s not the only difference between us. Sunset chuckled as Sunstrike leaned against the wall beside the door to her room, her arms crossed. “Yup, looks like it.”

“Well you’re obviously smart enough to make it up here, that or you cheated on your exam.” a familiar sneer spread across Sunstrike’s face as she addressed her opposite, Sunset giving a slight chuckle in response.

“You should know that we don’t cheat- There’s no reason to. Besides, I know a lot more than you do; perhaps a whole world’s worth.” Sunset watched as she rolled her eyes at herself, a dark bark of laughter

“You think you know me? Please.”

“I’ve heard that you’re a trouble maker, though if I know me, it’s due to not having someone around to temper your ego; and just a hint of desperation for attention from someone important in your life.” Sunstrike’s face darkened as Sunset talked, her mood obviously souring.

“You don’t know anything.” she whispered harshly, glaring at Sunset.

“I know that it takes a lot to get my attention, let alone my respect. I figure once I start proving my worth to you, you’ll change your mind. That or you’ve started to see me as a threat, and will be searching for blackmail to try and hold me hostage; though I am amazed that you’ve let Starlight Glimmer take over the school.”

“Shut up.”

“I will let you know that you will have trouble finding any dirt on me, sorta hard when someone comes from a world away.” Sunset watched as Suntrike pushed off the wall and stormed back into her room, the door closing behind her with a dull thud and a loud clack as the lock was set, leaving Sunset standing alone in the hall.

“That went about as well as I could have expected…” she sighed as she trudged over to her room. Sunstrike reminded her so much of her past self when she ruled CHS, but this girl obviously lost in her bid for dominance, that role falling to Starlight Glimmer. She paused as she thought over the encounter; perhaps she should have played it a little nicer and less stalker-like. She knew that Sunstrike wouldn’t value friendship, hell, she didn’t want to get close to any of the people in this world again, and knowing old her she would offer friendship as a tool.

She shelved the thoughts for now, instead deciding to focus on getting ready for her classes tomorrow. She was supposed to meet Dean Cadence at the front of the school early in the morning, apparently the two of them were going to be going over her class selection, as well as getting her a temporary school uniform to wear until the school's seamstress returned from their holiday period.

Hopefully it wouldn’t be too small.

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