• Published 20th Aug 2019
  • 1,603 Views, 64 Comments

Wherever the Sun Shines - RS-Belle14

Moons after their fallout and guilt, Princess Celestia jumps through the portal and finds Sunset Shimmer! Or does she? The girl she finds certainly looks like Sunset, but the girl claims to be just a simple musician who doesn't know Celestia at all.

  • ...

Hey There

Sunset had taken Celestia to a café not too far away from where they had met. As Sunset had hoped, the restaurant was still open when had they had arrived. It was a rather modest establishment; the restaurant had to have had only six tables standing in the center and eight booths pressed up against the walls with only a single register to order near the kitchen. The café also had a small stage tucked away in a corner, ideal for some small concerts or stand-up shows. From the overall view, the restaurant definitely appeared to be designed for the humbler citizens of the city.

Celestia sat alone in her booth, quietly staring outside the window, looking up at the bright moon that illuminated the otherwise dark and quiet city. She had been left sitting there for a few minutes, waiting, never taking her eyes off the window. Being on her own, it was easy for her to drift away in her thoughts. It was only when Celestia heard someone call her name that snapped her back to reality.

"I'm back," Sunset took her seat in front of Celestia, passing her a paper cup. "Here you go. This is my favorite. It's the best this old shack has to offer. I hope you like it."

With some slight hesitation, Celestia looked down at the paper cup of coffee and then back up to Sunset, seeing the girl's soft eyes. Giving Sunset a small, assuring smile, Celestia picked up the cup and took a small sip. "Mmm. It's wonderful. Thank you."

"You really think so?" Sunset asked.

Celestia nodded. "Of course," She took another sip. "It's very good. I haven't had coffee like this where I'm from. I like it."

"Really?" Sunset relaxed in her seat as she took a sip of her own cup. "That's a relief. You had me worried there for a sec. Thought you were about to spit it in my face or something."

"Oh, there is no need for you to worry over me," Celestia spun a little spoon in her drink. "I wouldn't have gotten upset or anything of the sort over something as a simple as a cup of coffee, much less spit back at you," Celestia snickered. "I'm not here to scold you over your kindness."

Sunset smiled. "Well, I appreciate that," Sunset added some cream into her coffee. "Sorry if I got a little anxious there. It's kind of a bad habit of mine. If I do it again, don't read too much into it. I just don't want to make you any more upset is all."

"It's all right," Looked down at her cup. "And again, thank you. This is all really nice."

"Anytime," Sunset took another sip. "So, they don't brew coffee like this where you live, huh? Makes sense. You can only get this special cup of java in this shack. Just where are you from, anyway?"

Celestia paused for a moment. "Hmm... Pardon me, Sunset, but I would rather not say if that's okay."

"What?" Sunset raised her eyebrow. "Eh, okay," She shrugged.

"My apologies."

"Hey, it's cool. If you think it's too much for you to say after just meeting, I get it. I won't press," Sunset returned her attention to her beverage.

Wow, she's certainly more patient than the Sunset I know. "Thank you. And thanks again for inviting me here. It's quite nice."

Sunset gave Celestia a thumbs up. "You're welcome," She winked.

Celestia sat back in her seat. "Judging by your knowledge and fondness for it, I assume you have a bit of a connection with this modest establishment?"

Sunset's face lit up. "You bet!" Sunset quickly put down her coffee and happily held up her guitar case. "I like to play here, sometimes. You know, get up on stage and let the world hear the gifts I have for it. This café is actually the place where I made my big debut a while back. I played for a total of four people, including Caramel Kettle," Sunset pointed her thumb back at the kind elderly cashier by the register. "Sounds crazy, right? You should've seen it. It was one heck of a party. I thought Caramel was gonna burn the whole place to the ground."

"I can only imagine," Celestia playfully rolled her eyes. "So, you are very passionate about your music, aren't you?"

"Oh, yeah!" Sunset snuggled her guitar case. "I've known how to play my baby for years. I've actually performed at a few other shops and clubs around here, too!" Sunset placed her guitar case back down. "Hehe... But, unfortunately, my crowds haven't been anything too stellar. Reactions to my performances are usually okay, but the crowds I play for are rarely even in the double digits," Sunset sighed and placed a hand on her forehead. "Alas, it appears that the artist has yet to find her audience."

"Oh," Celestia put down her cup and frowned. "Well, I am sorry to hear that."

"Eh, don't worry about it," Sunset waved her off. "It's just all part of the process. I can't expect to start off on the top. I've got to climb my way up just like all the other great musicians in history. Besides, where's the fun of starting at the peak of the mountain? That'd be totally boring. The journey up there is half the adventure. Sure, it's taking me a little longer to get there than I'd like, but I'm sure I'll make it. I just have to keep trying."

Celestia gave Sunset an amused look. She sure is radiant. "Very well said, Sunset, and I hope you do make it, someday."

"Aw. Thank you, Miss Celestia," Sunset returned the smile.

Celestia admired the gesture on Sunset's face. "You're very welcome."

"And I hope you find the person you're looking for."

Celestia's eyes widened. "Er... Thank you."

"Uh oh," Sunset's smile disappeared. "Still too touchy of a subject? I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do that. I just thought I'd be nice and wish you luck like you did for me. I'm so sorry, Miss Celestia. I didn't mean to make you think of her."

"It's..." Celestia sighed. "It's all right. I know you didn't mean to," Celestia glanced at the young woman's face. You couldn't stop me from thinking of her if you tried. Celestia lowered her head.

"Oh, no," Sunset reached over and placed a hand on Celestia's shoulder. "Miss Celestia-"

"It's nothing," Celestia interrupted without even looking at the redhead. "Nothing at all. There is nothing for you to apologize for. This has nothing to do with you. Please, do not hold yourself responsible. It's really none of your concern."

Celestia felt Sunset's hand leave her. "That is a hell of a thing for you to say to me."

Celestia gasped as she lifted her head. "Excuse me?"

"Look, here," Sunset's face turned stern. "You can say that I've done nothing wrong. You can say that there is nothing wrong. You can go on and on telling me any excuse you want, but don't think for even a second that I'm not allowed to be 'concerned' about you."

"Sunset... I-I didn't mean-"

"And I'm not stupid. No matter what you say, I know something is bothering you. Finding you all alone crying on a bench is a pretty dead giveaway that you're not really fine."

Celestia lowered her gaze to the table. "Sunset, really, I-"

"And don't think I haven't noticed you looking up at the moon every two minutes, either," Sunset reached over and placed her hand on top of Celestia's. "Everyone has problems. It's part of life. We all have to deal with it," Sunset gave Celestia's hand a light squeeze. "And it's not a bad thing to get some help. It's what friends do. Please, Miss Celestia, don't block me out like that. I want to help. Please, don't distance yourself from me."

Celestia remained silent, unsure of how to react. Despite what she had been saying, Sunset was right; Celestia did have some things on her mind, and, despite her saying otherwise, they were definitely bothering her.

These inner turmoils that had been troubling Celestia had been with her for quite some time, but she had never before openly discussed them with anyone. Even to her most trusted advisers in Equestria, she was absolutely silent on the matters. Ever since she became its sole ruler, Celestia always tried to maintain the image as a strong, confident, and competent leader, and she had never given her subjects any reason to think otherwise.

However, putting on such an image came at a cost; by always, always carrying herself in such a manner in front of her subjects, Celesta had denied herself the opportunity to let anyone in on her inner thoughts and feelings. She could not let the citizens of Equestria see her in any type of vulnerable state, or there could be doubts about her leadership or even panic. Celestia made a choice to always appear strong but at the cost of closing herself off.

Yet, there in front of Celestia sat a teenager she had just met, asking her to open up, and, oddly enough, Celestia did not immediately think to turn her down. While her first instinct was to naturally keep to herself as she had for centuries, Celestia prevented herself from doing so. It was odd, but when Celestia actually gave it some thought, she recognized the rare opportunity presented in front of her: a blank slate.

Sunset was not the pony Celestia was looking for, had no idea that Equestria even existed, and did not even know exactly who Celestia was nor that she was a real princess. There was nothing about Celestia's royal image to be damaged or lost if she were to talk to Sunset about her true feelings. The only hurdle was would Celestia actually allow herself to open up.

Celestia remained unresponsive, her gaze focused solely on the table.

"Miss Celestia?"

Feeling Sunset caress the top of her hand, Celestia slowly looked back up. "... Forgive me. It appears I had let my emotions get the better of me... again."

A small smile formed on Sunset's face. "Hey, don't worry about. It's almost never easy letting things out," Sunset's eyes softened. "And hey, you know what? Maybe you're right. Maybe I shouldn't be pushing you to tell me anything. It's your business, not mine. I shouldn't be so pushy," Sunset lightly chuckled. "Sorry, about that. It's another habit of mine. But if you really don't want to tell me anything, then I'll respect your choice. I won't push."

"Thank you. I appreciate your concern," Celestia nodded. "But... Perhaps a push is what I really need right now."

Sunset's eyes widened. "Really?" She tightened her grip on Celestia's hand. "Are you sure, Miss Celestia? Like I said, I overreacted. You don't have to tell me anything if you're really not up for it. This is your choice. Don't do this unless you really want to."

"Hmm," Celestia turned her toward the window, giving herself a moment to consider her options. It was a pretty tough decision. Celestia could either decide against it and keep carrying her thoughts all on her own, or she could let down her walls to Sunset and... see what happens.

After about a minute had passed, Celestia returned her attention back to Sunset and spoke. "Yes... Yes, I believe that I need to talk. I have been holding a lot with me for quite a long time, and perhaps they're long overdue to be let out."

"Well," Sunset sat back. "If that's really what you want, then I'm here for you. I'm all ears."

Celestia took a deep breath. "Though, I am not really sure where to begin. I have not had much experience with... this."

"That's okay," Sunset calmly assured. "We just have to think of a place to start," Sunset brightened. "Like today! How about you try telling me about your day, today? You seem like you've had a pretty long one. Try that."

Celestia thought for a moment. "All right. That seems like a decent place to start. I will try."

Sunset responded with a simple nod.

Celestia took a deep breath. Here it goes. "I had come to the city today to look for someone, someone very important to me."

"The girl you thought was me, right?"

"That is correct," Celestia nodded. "I have known her for some time, now. You see, she grew up in the city where I live and actually attended the school I overlook. I even took her under my wing as my own personal protégée. She was a very bright student, and I saw that she had a lot of potential. It just seemed natural to assign her to me. She really shined while we were together, and we even became pretty close, or, at least," Celestia took a quick glance at her coffee. "I thought we did."

"Something happened," Sunset said. "Something bad, right?"

"Yes," Celestia solemnly nodded. "We had a fallout, a significant one. She was always a bit fiery, and we have had our disagreements before, but this one, this one was different; it was much worse than any argument we have had up to that point," Celestia sighed. "It started very bad and only grew worse. A lot of things were said that night, Sunset, and none of them were pleasant to hear... or to say."

Sunset slowly nodded.

"We soon reached a breaking point, and, in my anger, I told her that she was no longer my pupil nor welcome in my school. I told her to leave the school and my sight," Celestia shook her head. "And that is exactly what she did, but she did not just leave; she ran away."

Sunset covered her mouth. "Oh, no."

"It's true," Celestia closed her eyes. "Her home, everything she knew, I drove her to run away from all of it, to this very city," Celestia creaked her eyes open. "It was not very easy to get up the next morning. After some time to reflect, I realized that we both made mistakes that night and that it was awful of me to drive her to run away from home, so I made a promise, a promise to myself and to her."

Sunset tilted her head. "A promise?"

"To return her home safe and sound. Ever since that night, I have made it my mission to bring her back. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I travel alone here to this city where I know she is to search for her. I have already visited this city a few times, but I have still not found her. My trips here, for reasons beyond my control, are always very brief and never allow me sufficient time to find her."

"Probably doesn't help that the city is pretty big, right?"

"Correct. I certainly would not rate this city 'small' on the scale," Celestia looked at her reflection in her coffee. "However, regardless of that or any other obstacle put in front of me, I am determined to find her and bring her back home. This place, this city, she does not belong here; she belongs back home," Celestia tapped her cup. "I have not heard from her since the night she left. I fear what may become of her if I do not find her. If anything were to happen to her, I could never forgive myself... not again," Celestia looked up to face Sunset. "That is why I am here."

It became very silent after Celestia had finished telling her story. Sunset did not say anything after hearing it; she just stared back at Celestia, speechless, until, without any warning, she reached over and rested her hands on top of Celestia's.

"I'm so sorry to hear all that," Sunset lightly squeezed Celestia's hands. "Now, I understand why you were so upset. I can't imagine what you must be going through right now. Everyone disagrees sometimes, but to actually run away from home? You poor thing."

"Don't feel bad for me," Celestia started to take her hands back. "I am to blame. I failed to see the path my actions would lead her toward."

"Don't say that," Sunset pulled Celestia's hand back in her own. "Yes, you two had an argument, but she's the one who decided to leave. That was her choice, not yours."

"But I am the one that pushed her to go that far. I know her, so I should have known what would have happened when if I let her look into that accursed looking glass."

"But Miss Celestia-"

"It was my actions that led to all of this misfortune, so everything is my responsibility," Celestia glared at her reflection in her coffee before sternly looking at Sunset. "And it is my responsibility to see to it that my beloved student returns home, safe and sound."

"... I see," Sunset stood up from her bench, walked over and took a seat beside Celestia, and rested her head on Celestia's shoulder. "I know you think that it's all your fault, but you shouldn't be so hard on yourself, and," Sunset snuggled her head. "Regardless of anything you think you've done wrong, I still think it's really sweet that you're willing to go through all this trouble to make sure she's safe."

Celestia's eyes widened when she felt Sunset snuggle on her shoulder. It was strange. The Sunset from Equestria had never been so affectionate with her, yet this world's Sunset seemed to have had no hesitation displaying it, and they had just met. Celestia was about to speak out on it but stopped herself when she saw Sunset's hair, that oh so familiar looking hair. It may have been in a different style, but it was still definitely the same hair Celestia had known for a long time, and looking at it then prevented Celestia from mounting any type of protest on Sunset.

Closing her eyes and beginning to relax, Celestia eventually rested her head on top of Sunset's with a small smile. "Thank you, Sunset."

"I know you'll find her someday."

Celestia nodded. "I hope so. I won't stop until I do."

"Ha. You know, she must be really special if you're willing to go through all of this just to find her."

"Yes. She is very special to me."

"What's she like? Do you still remember her?"

Celestia lightly chuckled. "Of course I do. We spent a lot of time together back when we were home. My student is very..." Celestia paused. "She's very... Uh, she's somewhat..." Celestia opened her eyes. "Er... She's very intelligent."

"I bet. If you wanted to take her under your own wing, she must have quite the noggin. What else?"

What else? "Um..." Celestia's eyes shuffled. "She's also very... ambitious."

Sunset snuggled some more. "Sounds like a real go-getter."

Celestia's eye ran back and forth "Oh, she certainly... had her priorities in order."

"Someone who knows what exactly they really want in life, huh? Hehe. She's very lucky."

A bead of sweat began to descend from Celestia's forehead. "Oh, she certainly was... something."

Sunset smiled. "The way you describe her, she could be a saint."

Celestia felt her lips quiver. "Oh, that would not be the first word to come to mind when describing her."

"Really? Then what word would you use to describe her? You make her sound pretty amazing."

Celestia gulped. "Hehe... Well, let us not jump to too many conclusions, now, Sunset. As much as I am sure my student would appreciate your compliments," Oh, she would enjoy them, all right. "She was not perfect." Though, if I had to choose one word, it would be prideful.

"Oh, I know that," Sunset laughed. "There's no such thing as perfection. I'm just saying that your old student sounds pretty awesome."

"... In some circles, perhaps."

"... Huh?" Sunset opened her eyes and looked up to face Celestia. "What do you mean?"

Celestia felt more sweat escaping her pores. "Well, while it is true that she was immensely talented and intelligent, my former protégée lacked a few essential..." Celestia cleared her throat. "Qualities."

"What?" Sunset lifted her head off of Celestia's shoulder. "I don't get it. What does that mean? What was she missing?"

"Um..." Celestia clasped her hand together. "Let's say, just a few emotional qualities."

Sunset raised her eyebrow. "For example..." Sunset motioned her hand to keep going.

"... Just a few things along the lines of... Compassion, sincerity, integrity, loyalty, and humility."

Sunset's face turned stern. "Come again?"

"Oh, and kindness!" Celestia quickly added. "Yes, she definitely needed to improve on showing kindness toward others... or, at the very least, start trying to show any sign of kindness to anybody and anything whatsoever," Celestia then noticed Sunset's glare. "Sunset?"

Celestia waited for Sunset to respond, but it did not come as quickly as she would have hoped. All Celestia appeared to have been receiving was Sunset's scowl, a look that was all too familiar to Celestia, one that brought back very unhappy memories. Now, she's being more like the Sunset I know.

Sunset glared at Celestia. "Wait, wait, wait, wait," Sunset shook her head. "Give me a minute. Give me just one minute, here. Let me try to wrap my head around this. Let me try to hone in on the central point of your story just to make sure that I'm clear on it and understand," Sunset exaggeratedly cleared her throat. "You mean to tell me that your former student, of whom you dearly care for, is a brilliant, capable, and talented person, but lacks... even the smallest amount of decency or morality?"

"Well... Perhaps... I mean..." Celestia looked into Sunset's scowling eyes, and, with a sigh of defeat, lowered her head. "Yes, Sunset, it's true. My beloved protégée was not very friendly, to other students or even me for that matter. There were many complications during her time spent at my school. Even before I took her in as my personal student, she had a history of looking down at her fellow classmates. She thought herself to be far superior to them. I would often receive complaints of her insulting, belittling, and bullying other students in a variety of different ways in order for her to get her own way or for even just the pure joy of it," Celestia solemnly raised her head.

Sunset crossed her arms and glared back at Celestia. At different times, she made many gestures as if she were about to speak only to stop midway each time and retreat.

Celestia grew a little anxious as she watched Sunset continue. The softness and sympathy that Sunset was giving her had vanished immediately after she had been more honest with Sunset regarding her former student. At that moment, Sunset seemed to be expressing nothing but confusion and discontent, and none of that was making Celestia feel any more comfortable. Did I just turn another Sunset Shimmer away from me?

Finally, Sunset stopped and stared at Celestia, her eyes void of any emotion. "Why?" She asked.

Celestia shook her head. "I, myself, am not sure, Sunset. She never really did tell me much about her past. My best guess is the constant praise she received for her talents while growing up caused her to grow rather prideful and-"

"No," Sunset interrupted. "That's not what I meant. I'm asking you why are you looking for her when she has a long history of being... difficult? I mean, I know you're a nice person, and it would only make sense for you to care, but why do you care so much? It doesn't even sound like she even respected you that much at all."

That response surprised Celestia. She had expected Sunset to cease all sympathy once she had revealed more about her former student. It was actually kind of relieving to Celestia that Sunset's question was more concerned toward her than her student. Of course, answering the question was not as relieving.

"I'm not sure..." Celestia paused and looked at Sunset, who was giving her another stare. "No, I am being honest with you, Sunset. I have never really given that any thought before, but..." Think about it, Celestia. She has deserved your integrity. "Well, I'm just not sure, Sunset, but I guess it's because I... feel as though it is my fault she left. I started the chain of events that led to our argument," Celestia started. "We were together one day, just like most others, nothing out of the ordinary. I was trying to teach her a lesson, and I... showed her something that I never should have. It... planted thoughts into her mind, nasty ones, and, as time passed on, the thoughts only grew until...we reached our breaking point," Celestia sighed. "If only I had known-"

"But there's no way you could have known, Miss Celestia," Sunset interjected. "You can't go on thinking about how things would be different if you made one, two, or however many changes. You can't change the past, and you shouldn't delve too much into it or you could get lost in it, and then you'll really be suffering. Besides," Sunset reached over and placed a hand on Celestia's shoulder. "It doesn't even sound like it's really your fault. You were just trying to teach her something like you were supposed to. That's all you were doing. She's the one that's had a history of trouble."

Celestia briefly glanced at Sunset's hand. "I do not think I am completely without blame, either, Sunset. I-"

"I'm not saying you're not," Sunset interrupted again. "I'm sure that in some way, shape, or form, you might hold some responsibility, but that's not what I'm trying to get at. What I'm trying to say is don't be so hard on yourself."

Those words rang in Celestia's mind. "Don't be so hard on myself?"

"Yeah," Sunset leaned in. "Look, I know it's easy to blame yourself whenever something goes wrong, and, okay, maybe sometimes it can be your fault and you should hold up to it, but you shouldn't ever let it consume you because then you'll be blaming yourself more than anyone else would and get lost in it. Sure, things can feel like they've hit rock bottom every so often, but time passes and life moves on and so should you. Don't stay on one thing forever; keep moving forward, and if you make another mistake (and believe me, you will), don't get stuck on that one, either. It happens. You wouldn't be much of a human being if you didn't ever make mistakes. Learn to forgive yourself."

Celestia's jaw hung loose. Learn to forgive myself?

Those words held some irony over Celestia. For moons, she had seen her subjects make mistakes in her kingdom and then beg her for her forgiveness, and she would always forgive them, letting them go so long as their hearts were in the right places. However, when it came to her own mistakes, particularly what she considered to be her two biggest, it was another story.

Throughout her life and especially during her reign, Celestia always longed to correct any mistake or problem she faced, whether they were her fault or not. It only felt right for her to try to fix whatever she felt was damaged or incomplete, and once they were, she would mostly just let them go, but there were two things she always carried with her wherever she went, one being the fall of Sunset Shimmer and the other being a different incident.

Turning her attention back to Sunset, Celestia spoke. "I only wish it was that easy to forgive."

"I'm not saying it's always easy," Sunset replied. "I'm saying it's what you should aim to do. You can't go on blaming yourself for your student leaving."

"I understand what you are trying to tell me, but-"

"But what?" Sunset calmly interrupted. "Do you really think it's right to treat yourself the way you do right now? Do you really think you deserve all the hurt you've been giving yourself for who knows how long? Do you really think you messed up so bad that you no longer believe you have the right to move on with your life?"

"N...No, I do not think that, at all."

Sunset's eyes sparkled. "Then why bother torturing yourself?"

Celestia shook her head. "I'm not trying to torture myself, Sunset. I just... It's just that... This entire situation..." Celestia trembled. "Hurts. It hurts a lot. It hurts because... it isn't the first time."

"Your student ran away before?"

"No," Celestia corrected. "I don't mean to say that my student ran away from home before. What I mean to say is that...she was not the first one I have driven away."

Sunset's eyes widened. "Oh," She managed to whisper.

"Yes," Celestia started. "I have lost someone else before, someone especially dear to me," Celestia's eyes turned glassy. "My sister."

Sunset gasped. "Oh, my gosh. How... How did that happen?"

Celestia shook her head. "Through the most unfair of events and circumstances. Fate has been cruel and order unkind. The blame was my own, but the punishment was hers."

"Wait," Sunset tried. "Miss Celestia, I told you, don't talk like tha-"

Celestia raised her hand in front of Sunset's face, commanding her to stop. Hesitantly, Sunset backed off as Celestia began her tale.

"I have a sister, a younger sister, whom I love, dearly. Growing up, we mostly only had each other. We had no parents and had no home, but she had me and I had her. As kids, we would wander the plains of our land alone, searching for... well, anything. We had no idea where we came from or where to even go, but we refused to believe that we had no purpose. It was very hard growing up, but, no matter what problems we faced, no matter what challenges came our way, we always had each other to rely on.

From the very beginning, we always noticed that we were... different from the others around us. We were unique, and we knew had to be given life for a reason, so we continued searching, looking for something, and we eventually found it when we came across a bearded old man. After he took us in, my sister and I were properly raised and educated, and we eventually reached our current positions.

It all seemed too perfect. We had found it. My sister and I had found the purpose we had been aimlessly looking for and we loved it, or, at least, I thought we did. As fate would have it, our biggest problems had only just begun.

Throughout my life since we met that old man, I have been surrounded by the praise and adoration of others, and, a long time ago, I relished it. When I was younger, there was nothing I wanted more than to hear all of the people around me praise me for every little thing I would do, and I could not get enough of it. If I did even one thing, I wanted everyone else to know it, and, moreover, I wanted them to tell me it was excellent and praise me for it. Back then, I would often look at my position and accomplishments and think to myself, 'Surely, there is no other so lovely and beloved as I,'," Celestia sighed. "And, sadly, I was not the only one who actually believed that. With my so-called brilliance and glory came a price, a very costly price.

With all my praise and accomplishments came a long shadow that I cast, a shadow that unfortunately fell dark upon my younger sister," Celestia shook her head. "While I was being applauded for every little thing I did, my sister was constantly and unfairly being ignored. She did many things as well, plenty of which she should have been lauded for, but no one ever noticed her, whether it was by the people's own ignorance or... my own doing.

It did not take me long to notice my sister's frustration. Regardless of how shaky our relationship might have been at the time, I still tried to help her. I would visit her every so often and tried to tell her that she was beloved more than she knew and to just keep trying. That worked a little at first; she believed me, but, as time passed and my spotlight got brighter, my visits happened less and less, and her unhappiness grew.

Her demons eventually consumed her mind, and I foolishly did nothing to stop her. Her breaking point was absolutely awful. I had never seen so much rage and hatred in my entire life, and all of it was directed toward me. My sister hated me, and it was my fault. I was too caught up in my own exposure to notice my own sister needing me.

Our fallout has to be the worst moment of my life. She yelled, she screamed, and she begged me to just... give up everything. It was awful. I can never un-hear the words she said to me that night," Celestia began to cry. "But then I did something even worse. I...banished her.

She's gone, and it's all my fault. I did not give her the love and attention she needed from her sister, and then she was punished for it. I sent her away, banishing her from her home for years to come," Celestia sniffled. "It is the greatest failure of my life," Celestia took a good look at Sunset, and then the tears dropped like a waterfall. "And I could not even prevent it from happening a second time with my student."

Celestia dropped her head when she had finished her tale. Those memories had haunted her for centuries, and remembering them did not become any less painful as the years went on. It hurt Celestia so much to remember them, but telling them to Sunset as she did was just excruciating. It was almost as if she was reliving those tragedies all over again. She could almost hear both her sister and her student screaming at her, giving her those hateful glares.

Celestia was about to let her dams break when she felt a soft hand brush her cheek.

"There, now," Sunset gently spoke. "It's okay. Don't cry. Everything is okay."

Celestia's eyes grew wide. "What?"

"Don't cry, Miss Celestia," Sunset smiled. "Everything is just fine."

"Sunset?" Celestia shook her head. "What are you-"

"Shh," Sunset softly placed a finger on Celestia's lips. "It's okay."

"How is everything ok-"

"Shh," Sunset stopped her again. "Just hear me out."

Sunset drew back her hands and look into Celestia's eyes. "I get it now. I see why you're hurting so much. I understand your frustrations. I understand why you've been doing this to yourself for so long. I get it, but you're wrong."

"What?" Celestia looked at Sunset in disbelief. "I don't understand."

"That is exactly what I'm saying, Miss Celestia; you don't," Sunset calmly spoke. "Let me just ask you one question: did you try to help them?"

Celestia shook her head in disbelief. She cannot be serious. "Why are you asking me this? Have I not already answered that question more than once, tonight?"

"Maybe," Sunset replied. "But I want to hear you answer it. Right now. All of it."

Celestia just stared at Sunset. She had no idea just what was it Sunset was trying to prove with that question. Surely Sunset could have inferred the answer to that question after hearing Celestia open up about everything. Even after hearing of Celestia's difficult student and temperamental younger sister, Sunset must have known that Celestia still cared deeply for both of them and would not just abandon them. Anyone with the least bit of common sense could have seen that. Did Sunset really think Celestia did not care enough for the two? Did Sunset just ignore Celestia's first open confession?

"Yes," Celestia sternly answered. "Yes, I did. My emotions may have gotten the better of me at times, and I may have made my mistakes, but I have never stopped loving my student or my sister and would never have let them just leave the way did, and, yes, I had tried to help them any way I could, anything I could possibly do. To this day, I am still trying to help them; I look for my student every single time life allows me to so I may apologize to her and bring her home, and, every night, every single night, I look up at the moon and tell my sister I am waiting for her return, that I will still sing her a lullaby so she can sleep peacefully, and that I am counting the days until she and I are finally reunited. Not one day has passed without me hoping for their return, Sunset, not one. Does that answer your question?"

"Uh-huh," Sunset nodded. "And why are you helping them, again?"

"Because I love them!" The words came out with more emotion than Celestia intended. When they did register, Celestia repeated herself. "I love them," She spoke softly. "And I will not stop until they are both back."

"Right," Sunset shrugged. "Well, that answers that, and I think it's all the proof you need to stop blaming yourself so much," Sunset reached over and took Celestia's hands. "Miss Celestia, you're a kind and thoughtful soul. Even when people turn their backs on you, you won't turn your back on them. Even after everything that's happened with your student and your sister, you still love them enough to want to help and be with them again. Whether they know it or not, they are both very lucky to have you. Not many others would go through all this for someone else, especially after a disagreement. A lot of people would want someone like you in their lives. You're a very good soul, but there is one thing you have to realize: you don't control the lives of others.

We can all try our best to make everyone happy, we can try our best to make the world a better place to live, but, no matter what you do, no matter what you try, there is just no such thing as perfection. Even the best of friends will have their differences, and, sometimes it only takes one thing to split them apart. You had problems with your sister and student, and, yes, you made some mistakes, but you're trying to fix them, now. You've seen that you were wrong, and you're trying to make everything right again. You're doing your part, but, sometimes, that's all you can do. You can't do their part.

Miss Celestia, everything that happened wasn't just because of you; your student and your sister both had their roles, and, while you have realized your mistakes and wish to make things right, it's also up to them to decide if things get better. You can't do everything by yourself; they have to be willing to forgive, too. You can't just make them want to come back, because that would not be true forgiveness, and the cycle could repeat all over again. If that happens, where would that leave you?

Now, I'm not saying you should stop searching for them; you keep going until you find them. But what I am saying is," Sunset squeezed Celestia's hands. "Not everything that's happened is your fault, and you can't let the mistakes of your past hold you down forever. You deserve to forgive yourself and keep living your life. Besides," Sunset smiled. "Whenever it is you do reunite with them-because I know you will-I'm pretty sure they would rather see you happy."

Celestia stared back at Sunset, unable to mutter a single word. She could not even bring herself to move an inch. All she could do was hear Sunset's speech repeat in her head, and it made her rethink everything they had talked about that night.

Throughout the centuries, Celestia had carried so much baggage with her, haunting memories of the past that she never thought she was allowed to ever let go. Since that fateful night where she was forced to confront her sister, Celestia was left alone to carry the burdens of her life. She had many ponies around her, plenty of subjects to pass the time looking over, but she never had someone, someone to trust and console with. She thought she might have found someone she could have in her student, a young pony with an incredible amount of magic, potential, and a confident attitude not unlike that of her sister's, but, in the end, Celestia ended up turning her away as well. The two people Celestia had cared most for in her lifetime both ran from her, and it was all her fault.

At least, that was what she originally thought. Thinking back at it then, after her conversations with Sunset, Celestia tried to see things at a slightly different angle. I banished Luna to the moon, but she was threatening to take over Equestria... I told her I would not fight her, but she persisted... I showed my Sunset the portal, but I also told her to not to get consumed by the mirror. She went against my orders and left.

These thoughts flooded Celestia's mind, repeating themselves over and over in slightly varied ways. Was it her fault? Was she the reason? Was she really to blame for her sister and her student abandoning her? Yes. Absolutely. Without a doubt. Celestia thought so, anyway, but, thinking about it more at that moment, maybe not everything was her fault.

Celestia may have had her input, but Luna and Sunset had their own free wills, and they would not listen when she tried to reason with them. There were plenty of mistakes made during those fateful times, and there was definitely no shortage of those on Celestia's part, but, as she had been told throughout her time with the human Sunset, that was just part of life. Mistakes happen.

And thinking a lot over what the human Sunset said about what would happen when Celestia inevitably reunites with her sister and student, would Celestia really want them to see her as she had been for all these moons? Did she want them to see her so anxious, uncertain, and doubtful?

No. No, she most certainly did not. She wanted them to see her happy. Not happy because they were gone, but happy because she was alive, enjoying everything great in it and ready to share it with them, so that they could all be happy together. That was what Celestia truly wanted.

"Miss Celestia?" Celestia broke away from her thoughts and looked into the concerned eyes of Sunset. "Are you okay?"

"I... I'm... I think I'm..." Celestia took a deep breath, and, for the first, true time that night, she smiled. "I am fine, Sunset. Everything is just fine."

Sunset raised her eyebrow. "Now, when you say that-"

"No, no," Celestia politely interrupted. "I really mean it this time. You were right; I shouldn't be treating myself the way I have been for so long."

Sunset lightly chuckled. "Well, I like what I hear, but I'm not sure if really believe you, yet."

"You have nothing to doubt, Sunset," Celestia gave Sunset an assuring nod. "I really do mean it, this time."

Celestia squeezed Sunset's hands. "You're right, Sunset; I shouldn't be putting myself through all this unnecessary pain. Yes, I've made my mistakes and will no doubt make more in the years to come, but I shouldn't be letting them weigh me down the way I have. There is still so much more that I have to do. I have to keep moving forward, not just for myself but for those around me. Whenever it is I do reunite with my student and my sister, I want them to see someone they can trust, someone they can rely on. I want them to see that we can move past our past and move forward to a brighter future together because-"

"-Because you have the right to live," Sunset finished. "Everyone does."

Celestia nodded. "Thank you so much, Sunset. I really needed this."

Sunset reached over and gave Celestia a snuggling, warm hug. "You're very welcome. That's what friends are for."

Surprised a little at first, Celestia soon leaned over and returned the hug. It was over. The stress that Celestia had been putting herself through was no more. Her personal problems may not have yet been over, but Celestia was ready to face them and the rest of the world with a new, brighter view, and it was all starting with Celestia hugging the human Sunset, something she had always wanted to do with her Sunset.

"I cannot thank you enough for tonight. I've really needed this for a long time. You've been so much help tonight. You know," Celestia started. "You are very insightful for a teenager."

"Ha. Yeah, my mom wanted me to be a therapist," Sunset broke away from the hug. "I didn't really agree with the idea, but I still picked up some of the things she taught me."

"Hmm? She taught you?"

"Yeah, I was homeschooled," Sunset nodded. "My mom raised me and taught me everything I know."

"Oh," Celestia smiled. "Well, I can see first hoo-hand your mother did a very good job teaching. You are very intelligent. She must be very proud of you."

"Hehe," Sunset nervously rubbed the back of her head. "Well, she likes what she's done with my brains, but she isn't exactly proud of my career choice," Sunset winked at her guitar case.

"Oh," Celestia began to understand what Sunset was trying to say. "Well, everyone takes some time to adjust. I'm sure she'll come around."

"Me, too," Sunset nodded. "But until then, I think it would be best if we had some time apart."

"Huh?" Celestia raised her eyebrow. "What do you mean, Sunset?"

Sunset shrugged. "I'm gonna be moving away soon. I'm gonna live with a friend a few towns over."

"What?" Celestia leaned in. "Why? Did something happen between you and your mother?"

"Eh," Sunset waved her hand so-so. "Sorta. I mean, we're fine. We didn't get into an actual fight or anything, but... We just need to give each other some space for a while. I mean, I'll be back. I promise I'll return to her, but for now, this is best."

"Oh," Celestia's mood slightly dropped. "Well... You know best, Sunset, so if that is what you think then I support your decision. I wish you nothing but the best," she fell back in her seat.

"Hey," Sunset placed a hand on Celestia's shoulder. "What's wrong?"

"It's noth... Actually, there really is no point in trying to hide it, is there?" Celestia crossed her arms. "You would just get it out of me one way or another, wouldn't you?"

Sunset smirked. "Eeyup."

"Well, then," Celestia slightly snickered. "Just going to stay honest, then. It's... Well, it's a little embarrassing."

"Ooo," Sunset leaned in. "Now, I really want to know. Tell me."

"Well..."Celestia looked up at the ceiling. "It's just that..." Celestia could not manage to get a goofy smile from appearing on her face. "I was kind of hoping that you would be here for me to visit whenever I came to the city. I thought that if I couldn't find my student, I could at least see you, my... friend."

Sunset's face lit up. "Aw. Really?" Sunset dropped her head on Celestia's shoulder again. "That's so sweet! Don't worry! Just because I'm leaving doesn't mean I'll never come back. I'll stop by whenever you're in town. I promise!" Sunset then sat up and pulled a small device out of her jacket pocket. "Here, tell me your cell phone number."

"Uh..." Celestia looked down at the shiny brick.

Celestia had visited the human world enough times to know what a cell phone was and what was their function, but, needless to say, these devices could not be found anywhere in Equestria, and she seriously doubted one would work if she just took one back with her.

"I'm sorry, Sunset," Celestia shook her head. "I don't have a cell phone."

"What?!" Sunset's eyes widened. "You serious?! Wow, you really are old school. Er!" Sunset jerked. "No offense."

"None taken."

"Can't you get one?"

Celestia shook her head. "I'm afraid they don't work where I live."

"What?! You've got to be kidding me!" Sunset facepalmed herself. "What, do you live on a rural farm with no tower? What a drag."

"I know. I'm sorry," Celestia placed a hand on Sunset's shoulder. "But do not blame yourself. You've already done more than enough for me tonight. I promise you, I will always treasure this time we have shared together."

Sunset raised her eyebrow and snickered. "Why are you talking like that? Just because I'm leaving town doesn't mean you'll never see me again. I promised to come see you whenever you're in town, didn't I?"


"But what? Sure, it's gonna take some extra effort, but if we really want to see each other again, we will," Sunset playfully elbowed Celestia. "We're just gonna have to put in the work and be a little patient. Not everything comes free and easy, Miss Celestia. Sometimes things don't work out one day, and there will be nothing we can do but to just try again tomorrow," Sunset's eyes suddenly grew. "Hey..." A grin gradually formed on Sunset's face. "I think I just got it!"

"Uh," Celestia looked back and forth. "Got what, Sunset?"

"My song!" Sunset then reached over, grabbed her guitar case and laid it on the table. "I've been trying to work on a song for weeks, but I've had some trouble trying to finish it," Sunset then opened the case to reveal multiple sheets of paper spread out on top of a guitar. "But I think I might've just struck gold."

Celestia watched as Sunset began to rummage through the papers, picking up and dropping many of them until she finally settled on one.

"Found it!" Sunset exclaimed as she slammed the piece of paper onto the table. "Now, pencil, pencil, pencil!" Sunset reached into the case and pulled out a pencil. "Eureka!" Sunset then proceeded to scribble and erase words all over the paper.

Celestia was left amused as she watched Sunset passionately work on her project. Celestia would let out a little laugh whenever she heard Sunset talk to herself and smiled at the sparkle in Sunset's eyes. She watched Sunset continue working for a little longer until Sunset triumphantly held up the paper in the air.

"Voilà!" Sunset exclaimed. Quickly putting the paper to the side, Sunset reached into the case and pulled out her guitar. "Talk to me, baby," Sunset placed her ear on the guitar's body as she strummed its strings. "Almost, baby," She turned a few of the tuning keys and strummed again. "There it is. Good girl," She whispered.

Sunset suddenly stood up and grabbed Celestia's hand. "This way, Miss Celestia!"

Celestia was dragged along before she could even respond. Approaching a table near the counter, Sunset pulled out a chair and directed Celestia to sit. Humoring the girl's enthusiasm, Celestia obliged and took a seat before watching Sunset run up to the stage.

Celestia casually watched Sunset fiddle with the microphones and the speakers when she heard a gentle elderly voice speak from behind.

"She really is something, isn't she?"

Celestia turned around and saw Caramel Kettle smiling at her.

"Yes," Celestia happily nodded. "She certainly is."

"Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3. Check, check. Viva la revolución."

Celestia turned her attention back to the stage to see Sunset sitting up on a stool, guitar in hands, and microphone to face.

"Good evening, all you beautiful people!" Sunset spoke into the microphone. "I hope you all are having a great time, tonight, and let me be to first to welcome you to my impromptu free show!" Celestia and Caramel Kettle humored Sunset with claps. "Aw, thank you. Thank you. You're too kind. You're all so beautiful," Sunset waved to her crowd "So, how about we get this show going, eh? I've been working on this little ditty for a while now, and I hope you like it. This is gonna be the first time I've ever played it for anyone. So, making its grand debut tonight, I present to you all," Sunset strummed her guitar. "'Hey There Celestia.'"

Celestia gasped when she heard the end of Sunset's announcement. She wordlessly watched as Sunset began to gently strum the strings of her guitar and sing, starting her performance.

Hey, there, Celestia,
How are things going on with you?
I know that times can feel real rough,
But, even so, I wish that you'd still smile,

It really brightens up my day,
Please, let it stay,

Sunset gave Celestia a little wink.

Hey, Miss Celestia,
So things did not work out, before,
You'll always have tomorrow,
That's a beauty of these lives we live,
Just try,

There's still things in this life to do,
You know it's true,

Sunset then closed her eyes and took a very deep breath.

You're just so beautiful,
So no,
Don't hang your head so low,

Your smile's such a ray,
Please don't,
Let it go away,
Don't let it go away,

Sunset opened her eyes again and stared directly at Celestia.

Hey there, Celestia,
What is crossing your mind, right now?
Please, don't get too lost in your thoughts,
'Cause if you do, you'll miss my song for you,

Every word in it is not pretend,
You are my friend,

Celestia received a few nods from Sunset.

Dear, Miss Celestia,
Your heart is really made of gold,
You're a real joy to be around,
I wish I met you earlier,
I do,

I would've been there for you more,
Alone, no more,

Sunset playfully shook her head at Celestia before taking in another deep breath.

You're just so beautiful,
Please, don't,
Think that you're alone,

You're more loved than you know,
Just don't,
Think you're on your own,
Don't think you're on your own,

Sunset's face then became a bit more stern before she started to strum her guitar with more conviction.

Life's lower times can you hit you hard,
But when you're down,
Reach for the stars,
You only lose if you never attempt,

But if you ever feel alone,
Just make a call to my phone,
And I'll run right there to you, blasting away,

Celestia, I promise, here,
I'll be your friend, one most dear,
And everything will be fine,

Sunset flipped her hair and became more relaxed.

You're just so beautiful,
Go on,
Lead a life so full,

You're just so beautiful,
And that's,
You're just so beautiful,
Just so beautiful,

Sunset then eased down on her seat and softly vocalized into the microphone, smiling at Celestia at the end.

Oh, oh,
Hmm, hmm,
Whoa, Whoa, Whoa,
Oh, oh,
You are beautiful,
You are beautiful.

With one final strum, Sunset stopped playing her guitar and spoke normally into the microphone. "And that was tonight's show, everybody. Thank you so much for being here. I hope you all liked it."

Celestia and Caramel applauded and gave Sunset a standing ovation.

"Thank you," Sunset stood up and took a bow. "Thank you all very much. You're too kind. You're beautiful, all of you. Remember, stay strong, and keep your heads up. There is always light at the end of every tunnel. Never think you don't deserve to see it."

After one last bow, Sunset hopped off the stage. She popped and stretched out her back for a moment before she made her way back to her audience, greeting them when she arrived. "'Sup?"

"Oh, Sunset," Caramel was the first to reply. "You're always such a big ball of sunshine," The older woman walked up and hugged Sunset. "I'm gonna miss ya. Don't ya ever change, sweetie."

"Aw," Sunset hugged back. "I'm going to miss you, too, Caramel. Don't worry. I'll visit you whenever I'm in town."

"You better," Caramel let go of Sunset and began to walk away. "I'll leave you two to it," She said as she passed Celestia.

Left to themselves, Celestia took a few steps toward Sunset. "Nice song."

"Eh," Sunset shrugged. "I think it could probably use some more tinkering. The rhythm can feel off on some points and I'm thinking there might need to be another verse after the bridge before the final chorus, but, overall, not bad for a first draft, I'd say."

"Indeed," Celestia nodded. "I certainly enjoyed it. You know... I think I change my mind."

"Hmm? About what?"

"What I said to you when we first met," Celestia answered. "I think I am a fan of yours, now."

"Aw. Really?" Sunset walked up and hugged Celestia. "You're so sweet. Thank you."

"You're very welcome," Celestia happily hugged back. "I can't thank you enough for everything you've done for me, tonight."

"Don't mention it. What are friends for?"

Celestia smiled as she let go of Sunset.

"So," Sunset began. "What are you gonna do, now?"

"Well," Celestia thought for a moment. "It's probably too late for me to find my student, tonight. I suppose I could just start going home."

"Do you have to leave right now?"

"Hmm. No, I don't. I don't really have to leave until around daybreak."

"Really, now?" Sunset perked up. "Because I've been thinking; you said you really only show up in town to just look for your student, right?"

"Yes," Celestia nodded.

"So, it's probably safe to say you haven't really done anything in town other than search for her, right?"

"Yes, that is correct."

Sunset grinned. "Then how about this? Let me take you out tonight for some fun. Hit some clubs, get some food, ya know, see what this town really has to offer when you're not so focused on one thing?"

"Oh, my," Celestia stuttered. "I mean, that all sounds nice, Sunset, but I wouldn't want to be a burden."

"Ha! You're kidding me, right?" Sunset snickered. "With how the economy is thriving these days, I could afford an apartment working at a sushi bar. You wouldn't be burdening me in any sense of the word. Come on, let's go!" Sunset wrapped a free arm around one of Celestia's and looked at Celestia with a pair of big, sparkling eyes. "Please?"

Now, that just isn't fair. Celestia laughed. "Oh, all right. Let's go."

"Great!" Sunset smiled. "Just follow me, Miss Celestia. I promise this gonna be great. You're gonna see what the city really has for you."

Author's Note:

Ah, Human Sunset. What would you really be like?

Obviously, the song is a parody of Hey There Delilah. I tried to make things mesh well together, but I ended axing the verse before the final chorus because, darn it, parodies are hard. Ha.