• Member Since 19th Sep, 2015
  • offline last seen 1 hour ago

Fallowsthorn


Voracious reader and writer but living with severe depression. Please treat unexpected hiatuses gently.

E
Source

The whole school saw Sunset Shimmer's demonic form get hit by the Elements of Harmony, and half a second later she was in a smoking crater in the ground, sobbing and repentant. From Sunset's perspective, her change of heart took a bit more time.

Genre is... not well-suited but to be perfectly honest that's the closest it's gonna get. Think of it as a missing scene.

Art is by Rennygade, though for some reason I can't find this specific piece on their page. Please contact me if you object to my using it here; it's a beautiful piece.

Many thanks to the folks on the Fimfiction and Clocktower Discord servers for their editing help; any remaining errors are my own.

Cross-posted to AO3 finally here.
Featured at the Royal Canterlot Library!

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 47 )

Wish there was a little more of kindness but at the same time that was wonderful. ^~^

This was really, really good. A very sweet story. Reading stories about lots of characters and alternate universes and crossovers are nice and all but this story was starkly different from the usual, highlighting only how Sunset realized the values that she abandoned in her life and became worse in many ways as a result, and how this realization changed her. Good stuff.

This was so good.

I was kind of trepidation about reading this, because I've seen so many fics that flopped on the execution of this concept. But I'm so glad I read this one. It's interesting, heartfelt, and feels honest, rather than overly melodramatic l. Favorited.

9478249

There was one which horrified me: the Elements literally erased the "corrupted" parts of Sunset souls, replacing them which others taken from the Bearers. They essentially murdered Shimmer and used her remains to craft another, friendlier copy.

Wanderer D
Moderator

For a long time I've wanted to write something similar, although not exactly with Sunset. Every time, I struggled with what would be the setting, how it would progress, etc. I'm happy I don't have to worry about that, because the message I wanted to explore in that hypothetical story has been thoroughly and proficiently investigated here, I'd say better than I could have. So thank you for this story, I love it. :twilightsmile:

Wow. This was pretty incredible.

I've had my own idea of how Sunset lost a lot of her hatred.

This one is different from my idea, but it works pretty well.

There's nothing more entertaining than watching a bunch of characters sit around and wax philosophic after all the exciting things have happened prior to the actual story

9478069
To be totally honest with you, neither my nor Sunset Shimmer's model of Fluttershy is up for rigorous philosophic debate, and I didn't want Sunny to heal and regain her equilibrium too much before she got spat back out to the real world, both for reasons of continuity and because she needs outside input to cement the change. Most of what Flutters would have said was either covered by the others, something Sunset would consider cliche if said out loud, or tonally inconsistent (be kind to yourself, kindness isn't weakness, it's not necessarily your fault if other people are mean to you but that doesn't mean you get to be a jerk right back, there is no such thing as karma, etc). So Kindness kind of gets the short end of the stick here. I'm glad you liked it, though! All these comments mean a lot to me. :)

I loved this! Well done. A beautifully written character piece that fits perfectly with the end of the first EQG.

This is easily one of the best Sunset stories I've read. You should be proud of yourself.

Thank you for sharing this story.

9478700
I don't think it's the short end of the stick at all. The way you portrayed Kindness shows that there are some feelings that can't be described, only experienced. It was a fantastic "last straw" moment.

This was really well-done, quite excellent work. I liked the progression of the Elements and the order that they went in, and I liked the way it all wrapped up at the conclusion.

9478350
I mean, that wouldn't be bad horror.

This was really good.

A nice story about what being blasted by a rainbow laser would be like. The only thing I would have liked to have seen is for Sunset to have been trapped longer. She has been nursing that anger for years and a few conversations wouldn’t likely change much, but having her stuck, frozen in time as her defenses and self delusions get slowly eroded away would have had a bigger impact.

I'd have been a little bit more impressed with the Elements if they hadn't had root access to her mind throughout this little endeavor. Psychological manipulation is so much easier with a cheat sheet handy, so much so that one can't help but expect it. Cynical assumptions of brainwashing aside, nicely written.

I love a well written scene that was never there but should have been kind of story. This was great!

"I'm not pretending," Kindness said softly.

Hot damn. This spends 6,000 words carefully setting up a chain of dominoes that it then takes all of three words to knock down. This fills in a gap in canon I didn't even know I needed fixed, and it's on point throughout.

There's a lot of trash that makes the feature box. This, on the other hoof, is entirely worthy. Well done!

9479912
Congratulations, you're correct! Everything the Elements say, Sunset already knows and is in denial about (or in the case of Rarity's trivia, heard once and then forgot about -- I stole it from Ben Franklin, myself). The Elements aren't people and they can't offer her anything new or tell her anything she doesn't know. That's why they don't just keep her until she's 100% reformed, and it's why they turned Discord to stone instead of trying this rigmarole with him. He didn't understand what he was doing was wrong because he didn't have the concepts to attach his actions to. Sunset does, so she gets this incredibly laser-focused mirror held up to her and a real hard look at whether she likes what she sees. It's the interactions afterward, with real people and real friends and things Sunset doesn't already know, that make the real difference. You can put a seed in a box of dirt, but until you let in the light and the rain, it'll never grow.

ETA: This is also my excuse for why Rainbow's dialogue sounds a little weird. Sunset doesn't know her as well.

9479772
To be honest, this was supposed to be a lot longer when I originally outlined it, but when I got around to actually writing it the extra time would have just been basically repetitions of this. Which is more realistic, but also, not very interesting, especially with no set and no plot, and I didn't want her to wind up with like three months' worth of memories that never happened. So the Elements are kind of dumb and this is kind of short and it's made obvious that this is not going to be the be all end all of Sunset's reformation, not by a long shot.

This was great. It is an amazing interpretation of the elemental power and what they truly represent.

Is "Path Love" supposed to be a pony name for Pavlov?

9482277
Yep! I figured it was clear enough from context, and I kind of like the sort of "path as metaphor for classical conditioning" thing it's got going.

This can definitely explain Sunset's willingness to accept Twilight and her friends. As well as her waterworks.

This is really good, nice job

9478700
I saw fluttershy as the turnkey in this. This one stays quiet and allows her to process everything and to bring it in emotionally before finally telling her that she feels this way in truth.
She was the one who helped more with moving on into acceptance.
Cause im seeing the stages of grief here

9478421
Its weird how 'The Source' makes for an excellent stage for the mind.

Vice Principal Luna only believed it because she knew something was up with the new student and she was willing to overlook the source of the information to find out what it was.

That may be the best rationale for that scene that I've ever seen.

In any case, brilliant work with both the Elements and Sunset. I'm a huge sucker for stories set in a mindscape, and this was one of the better ones I've encountered. Thank you for a deeper look at the Rainbow Beam of Fix Everything, Single Element Edition.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

oh my god

You really nailed every single facet of this concept! And not only explored Sunset's character, but the meaning of the Elements? This was powerful, well done! :D

...dang it, where's that clip of riotous clapping when I need it?

In all seriousness, this is a fantastic story. I've had it in my head for a long time that Sunset went through something like this, but the way you presented it here is excellent. Well done.

So to be clear...this is what happens as soon as she gets blasted with the harmony rainbow. In the real world, this only takes place over like five seconds, but here it’s like an hour. And this is what caused her to be so repentant and sobbing when she came out of the crater.

EDIT: Okay, I read it, and it looks like it is. And btw: THIS STORY IS AMAZING! And this actually gave me a new perspective on the elements too: all of them-generosity, honesty, laughter, kindness, loyalty- they’re a two way street. Both people have to give and receive when it comes to them if they want to be true friends. And if one doesn’t give, leaving the other to pick up the slack, the former becomes like Sunset, without any friends. I knew that trust/honesty was a two-way-street, I just never thought to apply it to the others!

This story is awesome. You are awesome. Sunset is best human. That is all. :twilightsmile:

Soge #35 · 3 weeks ago · · ·

This is brilliant. A pitch perfect character study, propped up by amazing characterization.

I was just about to comment, but then I saw 9531122. That comment pretty much encapsulates it. In other words, this story is utterly beautiful.

Outstanding writing. Demonstrates an understanding of what the Elements stand for at a much deeper level than can be explored in the show.

Wow. What more can I say?

That was a nice fanfic addressing one of the more abrupt turnarounds in the series. Good and logical progression. Nice how Sunset didn't stay at a consistent level of hostility but was gradually disarmed, and nice how it made the point that even for everything she did Sunset wasn't "rotten to her core" but had gotten to a cognitive dissonant point where she knew, deep down inside, she was wrong but had made herself numb to it; which considering how much she turned around is important.

I had a bit of a minor issue with the ending, but seeing as I made the same mistake in my own fanfiction regarding Sunset Shimmer it's not really a big deal. That's that Sunset seemed a bit discouraged at the end. There was this great video essay by Silver Quill in which he pointed out the one character trait the "evil" Sunset Shimmer has in common with the "good" Sunset Shimmer is that they are both competitive to the point where they embrace challenge to prove themselves "better" (which explains why Sunset decided to try turning over a new leaf in the midst of the very individuals she bullied/enslaved).

But like I said, really minor. Great fanfiction and great work. Awesome job. :pinkiehappy:

I think everyone else already described how good this story was in great and sesquipedalian detail, so I'll just say this:

This may not have been flashy or exciting, but it was deep, amazingly so.


The loneliness part in particular reminded me of this:

Well done. I can’t say anymore than what has already been said.

Now if you can write an anon-a-miss short in direct to this story. I would love to see how those feelings would be tackled. I would say Rainbow Rocks but the Main 6 were affected by magic and not themselves. I know people are probably tired of hearing about anon-a-miss, but I find it quite a realistic setting for someone who haven’t been friends for long.

Anyways, keep on writing.

Very nice story, I still wish Sunset would’ve stayed a villian though.

Now I'm wondering if Nightmare Moon went through a similar mental friendship lesson before turning back into Luna. And did the elements try something similar with Discord but just failed because . . . well, he's Discord?

You've certainly opened up a very interesting can of worms friend. I'd love to see some sequels tackling the other villains reformations.

9566606
So, I thought about doing a side-quel of sorts for Nightmare Moon, but essentially couldn't make it work with the rules I'd set up for the Elements. I'm a fan of the theory that NMM was more than just Luna getting mad; either a mental illness or a foreign influence, or, likely, both. That already sets up a much different dynamic than what we see with Sunset, who is basically a kid who got in over her head, got burned, and tried to compensate by being the toughest, scariest thing around because the alternative was to accept that she was hurting and let herself feel the pain.

The other reason I didn't do it was just a total lack of material. The first time Nightmare's hit with the Elements, their only conduit is Celestia, which explains why that went as well as it did. The second time, it's the Bearers, who Luna doesn't know from a hole in the ground. Technically, this wouldn't be a problem, but writing it, they'd all seem wildly out of character, because the whole thing's happening in Luna's mind and drawing on only her own knowledge, experiences, and impressions.

(The above, incidentally, is why the Elements never worked on Discord. They don't really do anything mind-melting; pretty much the extent of their power is to force someone to stop and listen. They can get into someone's mind, but they can't actually change it anything other than the old-fashioned way. And, of course, trying to persuade Discord to be friendlier is like telling a frog to work on its penmanship. Until Fluttershy, his only relationships had been antagonistic and/or superficial.)

(Also also, the events of the s9 opener still fit in this model of the Elements. Sombra's just very, very good at doublethink. Why do you think his whole thing is mind control?)

Your story brought me to tears.
Very well written!

What I loved most about Long Road to Friendship was how it shows Sunset growing from self-centered bully to someone likable.

Imo this story does it just as well. Never would've thought that could work in a short story.

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