• Published 5th Jan 2019
  • 3,450 Views, 30 Comments

Redemption - Zael



Sunset and the Rainbooms: not just a simple forgive and forget - Third part of the Free/Sadness series!

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Phoenix, or how to unveil the past

It wasn't really a long walk, but the silence between the three mares was deafening, and to Sunset it felt like the silence itself was prolonging the time. Few ponies were walking on the other side of the road, but she didn't really pay attention to them, though, seeing them with the corner of her eye, they seemed quite familiar.

When the three arrived at their destination, the building seemed quite anonymous: a simple concrete building with no decoration whatsoever: the only thing that could catch Sunset's eyes was the heavy steel door. Luna knocked three times, then after a short pause, other two times. An eye-level slot opened, and the figure on the other side said:

"Word."

"Poultice."

The slot closed and after a moment the door opened. The figure who opened was a brown coated, red-eyed, male earth pony, almost bald, that quickly gestured for the three to enter, and then closed the door.

"Who do I have the pleasure to bring in, today?"

"Codename Artemis, plus two guests."

"Understood. Please follow me. Ah, but before that, you two must sign this. Codenames only."

The earth pony gave two contracts to Sunset and to Celestia, which they signed after reading it; after they gave back the contracts, the earth pony read their codenamed signatures, and said:

"So, Codename Artemis, Codename Amaterasu and Codename Phoenix. I, Codename Janus, welcome you all into my humble establishment, the Imperial Eagle. While Codename Artemis is one of our most distinguished guests, so I can stay calm about you two, I'll say you the basic rules. First of all, no real names: the commoner or the noble, the merchant or the soldier, everyone is on the same status here, that's why we all use our codenames. Second: no fights. If you wish to fight another guest, you must do it only with words in a debate: this is an exclusive establishment, not your average slums bar. Third: newcomers can't bring in more guests until their fidelity. Basically, you need to pass a trial time and be evaluated before you can invite other people. Now, if you would please follow me."

Codename Janus brought the three mares through the entrance hallway to another door, which he quickly opened: when the three entered the real establishment, both Celestia and Sunset were amazed of what they saw, while Luna snickered. If the outside saw simple brutalist concrete, the inside was masterfully decorated Roam-style: statues, columns and bas-reliefs on the walls, richly painted and inlaid with precious gems.

"I told you I knew a place."

"How did you knew it?"

Celestia asked, genuinely curious.

"Long story short, after I came back from that, ehm, 'forced vacation', let's put it like that, I did travel a bit, no? Well, when I was in Roam, I met a lovely pegasus, that wanted to live in Manehattan. She did manage a huge place back in Roam, so I gave her a bit of help in choosing the right place for a similar establishment here in Manehattan. I am one of the first members. Come now, I do have a personal table."

Walking a bit to one of the most decorated tables, Luna accomodated herself and gestured to the other two to do the same. Then she waved a hoof and called:

"Codename Hebe! Here please!"

A young mare, with ice blue mane and coat and golden eyes, smiled and arrived near the table, asking:

"Codename Artemis, it's always a pleasure seeing you here! And I welcome our new guests too. I guess you'll take your usual drink?"

"You know me well, Codename Hebe. Yes, I'll take a Blue Moon. Codename Amaterasu, Codename Phoenix? What will you two take?"

Celestia and Sunset quicklysaw the cocktail list, and Celestia almost immediately said:

"A Tequila Sunrise for me, please."

Sunset added, after a couple of seconds:

"Cardinale. No ice, thanks."

The waitress nodded and went to the bartender to give him the orders. Both Luna and Celestia were surprised at what the youngest mare ordered, and the Princess of the Sun said:

"Cardinale? A bit strong without ice, no?"

"I was fine in the other world, I should be fine here too. Plus, I need this, after meeting you and 'Codename Artemis' here. And I'll probably need one more later, after we've talked."

In a couple of minutes Codename Hebe returned with the three cocktails, then went back to the other tables. Sunset started:

"Well, let's start from the beginning. In the other world, ponies are simple animals. The dominant species are a sort of highly evolved primate called 'humans'. Before the link through the mirror, magic wasn't really present, and only used by so-called 'magicians', basically glorified performers; still very weak though. They made instead huge jumps in technology: what is powered by magic in our world, in theirs is powered by electricity."

Luna asked:

"What are this humans like?"

"They have no fur, or mane, or tail. Most have hair on their heads, aside from some which are bald, plus as far as I checked, they grow hair on their armpits and near their private parts. Most males also have beards and moustaches, though some cut it. There are some hair also in other parts of the body but they're forgettable. While we use clothes only on formal occasions or while working if needed, they wear them almost all the time, in multiple layers. Lastly, they don't have hooves and walk on only two legs. Their legs end with so-called 'feet', while their arms end with 'hands'."

Sunset drinked a bit, and continued:

"So, I was suddenly there. Fortunately the language is mostly the same, at least were did I end, so I wasn't completely without resources. Having only some bits, them being made of gold, I was able to exchange them for some of the local currency. I ended up in a school, and started to make plans and schemes, basically becoming the 'queen bee', and plotting to return here. I did return to steal the crown, and that's when… er… 'Codename Friendship', let's call her like this, followed me. I did plan to invade here after dominating every student there thanks to the power of the crown. Yes, I know, stupid plan and stupid move, but I wasn't exactly mentally stable at that time. I tried to use the crown to repel Codename Friendship and the five students that didn't completely submit to my plans, but the crown turned me in a sort of demon. Then Codename Friendship was able to channel the elements into those girls and blam, I got blown out of the sky, landing in a huge crater, where I did actually reflect a bit about my actions, not only thanks to the elements."

Celestia carefully sipped her drink, and asked:

"Is that all?"

"Of course not. After that event, I tried my hardest to clean my name and to delete every plan and every scheme I made, but now magic had free access to that world. And that's where the Sirens come in."

Luna almost chocked while drinking.

"Sirens?!"

"Yes. It seems like they were banished there by Stars-'Codename Beard', and went on living for a millennia and more eating negative emotions. And of course they were near that school when the all magic mess happened. So they tried to do what I did, brainwash people to gain more power to return here. Where I used secrets and plots to bind them to me, the Sirens just used their songs. I called Codename Friendship for help, since even the five girls 'tasked' to watch over me were affected. In the end they seemed to powerful to handle for the five girls plus Codename Friendship, so I helped out, and it worked. We blasted them with a sort of huge magic beam, they got their gems shattered and ran away. Things started going better after that."

Sunset gulped the rest of her drink and asked for another showing the empty glass to a passerby waitress, which immediately advised Codename Hebe; she then provided a new drink for Sunset.

"Then the whole Anon-a-Miss fiasco. Photos and secrets started being spread, and even after I cleared my name, for everyone I was the culprit. Heck, even those five girls accused me first, since the photos were from my device. I'll explain later all the technical things if you like. So I basically shut myself off from them and did some uncovering of my own. I left them a loooong video where I did uncover who was behind all this, then came back here, trying to pick up the pieces I left."

Luna was baffled about the girl's life in the other world, while Celestia was crying, at point of hugging Sunset in a bone-crushing hug.

"Don't worry, my child. You're not alone here."

Author's Note:

Yeah, I did promise regular updates, but I found work and I was absolutely destroyed after doing it 5 days a week, and I didn't have the will to write anything.
I got fired because hey, the Postal Service bought new automated machines that did my work automatically, so the company lost their contract with the Postal Service and I lost my job.

Anyway, here it is, finally! I should have more time to update, so I hope to finish the fic before the end of May: without a job I should be able to write the other chapters in much less time, I already got ideas in my head.

As usual, if you have any questions, any doubts, anything, just ask in the comments!
See ya in the next chapter!