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Even when it Rains

Morning came the next day, and it was a wonderful one too. There was not a cloud in the sky, and as a result the sun’s radiant beams shone upon Canterlot, and through the bedroom window of Pinkie Pie.

The arrival of the sun, and the corresponding warmth, caused the residents inside, either on the bed or splayed in numerous awkward positions on the floor, to wake from their slumber, groaning as they did so.

“Is it morning already?” Rainbow Dash asked, rubbing her eyes. “If so, that was a really short night.”

“Well, we did go to bed pretty late,” Fluttershy countered, looking around her with bleary eyes. “What time is is? I can’t see the clock.”

Applejack leaned over to look at it, and gasped. “Gosh dang it! It’s 8 in the mornin’!”

Sunset suddenly looked to be in a panic. “We’ve only got an hour to get ready and get to school!” She bolted from the room and flew out of the door, only to come back a moment later. “Hate to ask Pinkie, but where’s the shower?”

“Take a left, then a right, then go up a flight of stairs, and then you’ll get to the bathroom.” Pinkie Pie’s instructions were at once helpful and yet vague. “But, remember to let the water tank recharge or else the shower will be very cold.”

Sunset nodded. “Yep. I know all about cold showers on a morning.”

“What do you mean, darling?” Rarity asked. “I thought all homes in Canterlot had some form of water heating system.”

“You’re forgetting that I lived in an abandoned factory for about a year here, before deciding to transfer to the library,” Sunset replied.

“By factory, do you mean that old place in the north of the city on the left of the highway?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“Yep, that one.” Sunset was a little surprised as to why Rainbow Dash was asking her this, but ultimately chose not to push it further, and instead disappeared off down the corridor to find the shower.

Applejack looked over to Rainbow Dash. “Err, Dash, why did ya ask her where this factory was?”

“That’s the old carriage shop for the California Coast Railroad,” Rainbow Dash replied. “They used it until about 1970, then moved operations to the current building in the centre of town, next to the railroad station.” She grabbed her bag, and went off to find somewhere to change.

Pinkie Pie sighed. “Well, I’ll cook something for you guys,” she said, also vanishing through the door and heading on her way.

Applejack sat down on the bed and sighed. “Ah just hope Apple Bloom’s OK with getting' ta school on her own,” she said, a tone of worry in her voice. “Ah’ve always been there ta help her out, but what if somethin’ goes wron’ when Ah’m not there?”

“Honestly darling, you worry too much!” Rarity laughed. “If the adventures that she and her friends-one of whom just happens to be my little sister-get up to are anything to go by, they are more than capable of handling themselves.”

“Ah hope so,” Applejack said glumly. “Because one day Ma, Pa and mahself won’t be here ta help and protect her.”

Fluttershy put a hand on Applejack’s shoulder. “Hopefully that won’t be for a long time. But I do agree with Rarity; she needs a chance to take on more responsibilities and show she can do things herself.”

Applejack nodded. “Ah guess yer right. She ain’t a baby anymore.”


Breakfast was a delicious procession of omelettes with ham and cheese. Lots of cheese, as Pinkie Pie had considerable amounts of cheese to use up, and had decided to use them all in 12 omelettes. Another indication that this was cuisine de la Pinkie Pie was the combination of cheeses, as little attention had been taken to arrange them rationally. As a result, red Leicester was mixed up with gruyere, blue cheese with brie, and similarly weird and wonderful combinations that sounded good upon paper, but otherwise were quite unpleasant to taste. Nonetheless, as Rarity observed, the thought was what counted, and Pinkie’s food was always a delight despite its occasional weirdness, or large quantities of chocolate frostings that she once put on a steak. That had been one to remember...for all the wrong reasons.

Eventually, 8:30 rolled around, and the girls boarded the local streetcar and rode to school, taking an all stations stopping service to Canterlot High School. The six friends stepped through the main door of the school and headed toward their locker, walking through the central atrium.

Just then, Pinkie Pie yawned loudly, stretching her arms above her to avoid hitting anybody else.

“Ya sleepy, Pinkie?” Applejack asked.

“Never!” Pinkie Pie replied.

“Really?” added Rarity. “Because anything cheese related makes it very hard to sleep, and you effortlessly wolfed down those pieces of cheese pizza yesterday.”

“Rainbow Dash went through hers at speed!” Pinkie protested loudly. “Besides, parties give me my energy! Parties are my...my...my something important!” Having fumbled about for a moment or two for the right word, she finally settled upon a phrase that added little to clarify what she was saying.

But there was no time to consider this, as suddenly a voice rang out in the crowd. “Hey, piggly-wiggly!"

Applejack suddenly wheeled around to try and locate where the voice had come from. “What in the?” she asked. “Who in tarnation said that?”

But the crowd did not yield any suspects. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact. The large sea of people streaming in through the doors made it almost impossible to pinpoint the original source of the voice, who by now was undoubtedly out of range.

Applejack turned back to her friends. “That was weird. Did somebody just say-”

Equally suddenly, a blur of yellow and red, with some green, blue, and orange mixed in there, flew down the corridor, stopping next to Applejack and letting loose a stream of incomprehensible gibberish into her ear.

The older girl looked over once the blur had stopped moving and speaking, and saw it was none other than Apple Bloom, her little sister. She looked to be out of breath, and was panting heavily. Her phone was in her hand, which was open on a MyStable page.

“Sorry, could ya please repeat that? Ah didn’t catch a word of that,” Applejack said.

Once Apple Bloom was breathing normally again, she spoke up. “Sis! Sis! Ya gotta see this!” With that, a phone was thrust in Applejack’s face. On it was a post about Applejack. As the older farm girl read the post aloud, her facial expressions kept changing, from confusion to shock to anger and eventually outrage.

“Did ya guys know when AJ was a kid, she loved playin’ with her pigs? Oh-Em-Gee! She sat in the mud fer hours! Her whole family calls her ‘piggly-wiggly’ ‘cause she loves them so much! What a PIG?”

Her eyes scanned down the page, and noticed the post was not only tagged to her account, but had been uploaded by a user called ‘Anon-a-Miss', who had a crude image of Sunset Shimmer as its avatar. Applejack groaned at the awful pun, but then noticed several folks in the school who disliked her, such as Trixie Lulamoon and Dumbbell, had liked the post. Not only that, 67 others had liked it as well; quite a few of whom didn’t even go to the school, but to Crystal Prep Academy 200 miles to the south!

“What?” Applejack exclaimed. Her mouth fell open in shock and her eyes widened. “How the? What the?”

“When did this go up?” Sunset asked, getting to the point.

“It got posted three hours ago!” Apple Bloom exclaimed. Something didn’t seem right at all, as Apple Bloom seemed to be overacting. That, or the post had really troubled her.

Sunset looked at the account page. “Who’s this ‘Anon-a-Miss'?” she asked. “This just screams of somebody doing something dodgy.” She then looked closer. “They’ve clearly got something against me though, given that the profile avatar is a crudely drawn caricature of myself.”

“Her profile were created at the same time as th’ posts-no clue who she is!” Apple Bloom replied. “She posted on yer page, mah page, all you guys pages-the whole school probably knows about it by now!”

All around was evidence seemingly confirming Apple Bloom’s statement, as voices spoke mockingly from the crowd.

“Piggly-wiggly!” called one.

“Piggly-wiggly!” called another.

“Oink oink!” called yet another.



“Well,” Applejack sighed. “This ain’t gonna bother me. Why should Ah care if somebody too scared ta show their face thinks Ah’m a dumb hick? Ah can handle a little teasin’.”

Rainbow Dash wasn’t convinced. “Fine,” she said, “but what about this ‘Anon-a-Miss'? How did she know about your nickname?”

“And why would she post it online?” Fluttershy added. “That...that’s just...cruel!”

Sunset looked around at her friends. “Why should it be a ‘she’?”

“Sorry, darling?” Rarity asked, confused at the question.

“Why should this ‘Anon-a-Miss' be a girl?” Sunset asked them again. “If there's anything about this world that I’ve learned, it’s that you should never make assumptions about who’s running a social media account-especially since you only know them from the opposite side of a computer or phone screen. Why should it not be a guy running it?”

Just then, the bell for registration went. “Ah guess the questions are gonna have ta wait until after school,” Applejack sighed.

“Let us know if we can help, AJ,” Sunset told her, her face full of concern for her country friend.

“Sure thin’, Sunset,” Applejack replied, her face gloomy and full of woe. With that, the gathering split, going in two separate directions. Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Sunset all went in one direction, leaving Applejack alone with her sister.

There was a brief silence, before Apple Bloom began to speak. “So, about this ‘Anon-a-Miss' person...” she started, seemingly with some sort of intent.

“What about her?” Applejack snapped, causing Apple Bloom to recoil back.

“Well,” Apple Bloom began, “the only person who knew about yer nickname was us an’ yer friends. Ya sure ya didn’t tell anybody else?”

Applejack sighed. “Positive. What’re gettin' at, Apple Bloom?”

Apple Bloom continued with a sigh of her own. “Well, Sunset only heard the story last night, and as Sunset herself pointed out the account avatar is a crude caricature of herself...”

Something inside Applejack snapped at the very suggestion. “Apple Bloom!” she bellowed, loud enough to blow open windows and shatter glass. “How could you? Sunset’s mah friend!”

Apple Bloom blinked. “If Ah may finish,” she answered. “The account is too obvious. It is, quite frankly, sloppy and suggests that somebody or other is mimickin’ her in an attempt ta make us think it’s her, when it really isn’t!”

Upon hearing this, Applejack calmed down almost immediately. “Sorry, sugarcube,” she said. “Ah thought ya were implyin’ Sunset were doin’ it, and here ya are defendin’ her. But if not her, then who?”

“That’s mah question too,” her little sister replied.

Applejack set off in the direction of her registration. “See ya later!” she called. “And ya may wanna run, lest ya want the tardy bell ta catch ya!”

Apple Bloom didn’t reply, and instead turned around to walk off to her registration. On the way, she ran into Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle. “Hiya guys!” she said.

“Hey, did you see that Anon-a-Miss post?” Scootaloo asked.

“Yup,” Apple Bloom replied miserably. “Ah know she won’t show it, but Applejack is mighty upset about it.”

“I’m not surprised,” Sweetie Belle added. “It was really mean in tone, not to mention it seems to be targeting Sunset.”

“You spotted that too?” Apple Bloom asked, surprised.

“Yes, we did,” Scootaloo commented. “The sloppy editing, the prose style, the avatar that is a crude drawing of Sunset-it just screams of being a bad frame job.”

“Can we talk about somethin’ else?” Apple Bloom asked. “Has anythin’ interestin’ been goin’ on fer you two?”

“Dad and I have expanded the model railroad a bit,” Sweetie Belle said. “We’ve added a depot with working coaling tower and roundhouse turntable. I’d love to show it to you two.”

Scootaloo had a grin on her face. “And I showed Mom how to use Raildriver yesterday,” she smiled. “Boy was it funny...”


Scootaloo relaxed at her desk as she finished writing her last answer. That support session with Sunset had really helped her, and the questions hadn’t been too tough.

“And, C equals 23!” she added, as she retracted the nib on her pen. Now that her homework was done for the day, she could relax and spend her time as she saw fit. And there was plenty to look forward to. After all, Christmas was only four weeks away, and that meant something especially important to Scootaloo.

It meant she could see her dad.

The first question most people asked her was who her dad was. A Mr William Collins, he and her mom had met at college, and she had been born in 2001. But duty called, as her dad was in the military, and he had been deployed to Germany with his unit, where he had been for years, only coming back at allocated points in the year when he was permitted leave. Although they often spoke over Skype, he had been absent for more of Scootaloo’s life than he was present. As a result, every chance she had to see him was special to her, and never something she would ever take for granted.

At least he wasn’t on the front lines of America’s wars, as he was a member of a support squadron. Scootaloo wouldn’t know what she would do without him, or her mother.

On the topic of her mother, her voice could now be heard flowing through the wall. “Argh! Why won’t it move?”

Scootaloo got out of her chair, and opened the door, walking in the direction of the voice. Sure enough, she saw her mother sitting at the PC, with the Raildriver unit plugged in, and apparently frustrated.

A year ago, Cheerilee had received a bonus for having worked for the school for 10 years, which she had spent on a Raildriver unit for Scootaloo’s birthday. Although it spent most of its time plugged into Scootaloo’s computer, sometimes Cheerilee borrowed it (Scootaloo was getting one for her mom for Christmas). And now, Cheerilee was trying to get a Class 87 to move, but it wouldn’t budge.

“Having trouble, mom?” Scootaloo asked, innocently.

Cheerilee turned her chair around to look at her daughter. “Yes, dear, I am,” she replied. “I’ve released the brakes, got the reverser set up, and am ready to apply the tap changer, but the engine won’t move. Am I doing something wrong?”

Scootaloo stepped over, and looked at the air brake gauge. “That’s because you haven’t overcharged the brakes.”

“What?”

“You need to hold the air brake lever in the release position for 60 seconds for the brakes to reset and be maintained throughout the train.” To demonstrate, Scootaloo held the train brake lever down on the console, and a loud sucking noise came from the speakers to indicate the brakes being reset. Eventually, the lever clicked back up to indicate the brakes were ready.

Cheerilee then adjusted the power lever, applying notch one. And sure enough, the locomotive began to move away, but slowly.

“Once the speed limit increases, I’d suggest setting the throttle to ‘Run Up’,” Scootaloo added. “That’ll allow you to increase speed without needing to constantly change throttle settings.”

They completed the run without any difficulties, and Cheerilee shook her daughter’s hand. “Thanks for the help,” she said.

“No problem. We make a pretty good team,” Scootaloo replied.

Cheerilee laughed. “Well, that’s enough of that; time to do some marking.” She got up, and headed to her office (or, as it was most of the time, her bedroom).



“Yer really good at that, ain’t ya?” Apple Bloom asked.

“You’ve got the APT startup sequence from memory, haven’t you?” Sweetie Belle enquired. “I was thinking of getting that for Christmas, and thought you could help me.”

“I’ll happily run you through it,” Scootaloo replied. “Ah, here we are.” She pushed open the door, and they stepped into their homeroom for their registration.


At the end of the day, following a multitude of name calling and mockery, Applejack stood at the streetcar stop outside Canterlot High. The last day had left a lot on her mind, and although she had tried to cover it up and seem brave, the issue of the nickname was bothering her. First off, who knew the nickname? The obvious suspects were her five friends, and her own family members. She ruled Pinkie, Fluttershy, Rarity, Rainbow Dash and Sunset out almost immediately. She trusted them, and as they hadn’t been using their phones at all yesterday, and furthermore had been asleep at the time the post went up and the account was created, that ruled them out.

That left her family. But her parents seemed unlikely to do such a thing. Besides, neither of them had MyStable accounts. That also applied to Granny Smith, who could barely use a word processor, and Big Mac, who rarely updated his account. That left...

Apple Bloom.

Applejack’s face went pale at the thought of it. How could she think such a thing? Her own sister would never do something like that! And yet, it was the only plausible option she had left. After the slumber party, she planned to confront Apple Bloom and put a stop to this once and for all.

She was suddenly shaken from her thoughts by a loud horn, and a streetcar blasted through the snow and came to a halt, sparks flying off the wires and landing on the ground. Applejack climbed aboard once the doors had opened, and showed the driver her pass. The matter of Anon-a-Miss could wait. She had other things to do, such as spend time with her friends.

“Greetings AJ!” called Rarity, from a row of seats near the back of the very full streetcar. “We’re going slumber partying!”

Applejack sat down next to Rarity. “Thanks fer savin’ a seat Rarity,” she said.

“No problem, dear!” Rarity replied. “I’m so glad you were able to come!”

Applejack sighed. “Yeah,” she said, her face down. “It’s been rough. It’ll be good ta relax.”

“Oh dear,” Rarity answered. “Are people still making fun of you?”

“Oh, yeah. Ah get oinked at in every class.” Applejack’s face then shifted to one of determination. “Well, phooey to them! Ah don’t care about a buncha names! Let’s just get our party on!”

“Sounds good to me.” Suddenly, the bell for Songco Drive, where Rarity lived, went, and the streetcar came to a halt at the station. “Ah, here we are at last. I must say this streetcar journey was just long enough to allow us to discuss this important plot point. I must thank the driver.”

“Erm, what?” Applejack asked.

“Never mind,” Rarity replied, as they got up and walked off.


Rarity’s home was a fairly standard two-story affair, very much belonging to the Levittown era of American homes. The two girls walked through the door, shook the snow off their boots, and went up the stairs to Rarity’s bedroom, which currently hosted a set of mannequins, a large full-body mirror, and a four-poster bed. Dotted around were Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Sweetie Belle, who was currently on her phone showing Rainbow Dash something.

“So, you see, you need to avoid applying too much regulator in order to prevent wheelslip.”

“Oh!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed. “No wonder I was having so much trouble driving that engine.”

Rarity called out to them. “Hello girls!”

Fluttershy looked over. “Hello Rarity!” she said. “We were just talking with Sweetie Belle.”

Sweetie Belle beamed in that cheerful way she did, as Fluttershy continued. “She was just telling us what she and her friends have been up to. Did you know they restored a steam engine all by themselves?”

Rarity suddenly looked irritated. “Yes, well, she gets that from her father. It’s most unladylike.” She then pulled Sweetie Belle up and started to push her towards the door. “I’m certain you’ve been lovely Sweetie Belle, but isn’t it almost your bedtime?”

Just for reasons of clarity, it was about 5 or 6 in the afternoon, which Sweetie Belle reacted to almost immediately. “What? Hey, no it’s not!”

“Come along little sister,” Rarity said, in the patronising tone normally reserved for talking to pet animals or small children. “it’s time for your big sisterand her friends to spend time together!”

“Aw, c’mon!” Sweetie Belle exclaimed, as she was shoved out of the door. “I can be cool!”

But Rarity would not listen, and closed the door behind her.



Sweetie Belle stood outside the room, frustrated. “It’s not fair,” she said.

“What isn’t fair?” asked a voice. Sweetie Belle looked over to see Sunset looking at her, concerned.

“Rarity won’t let me spend time with you guys.”

Sunset sighed. “Rarity seems to see you as more of a nuisance, right?”

The younger girl nodded. “Yeah. And mom and dad aren’t gonna be back for a while. They’re doing something else, meaning I’ll be alone for a few hours.”

Sunset put her hand on the door. “I’ll talk to Rarity,” she said, as she went in.

Sweetie Belle sighed sadly. “I suppose I’ll just stay in my bedroom,” she moaned, and walked off.



Sunset looked at Rarity. “Mind if I ask why you treat your sister like a leper?” she asked.

“Whatever do you mean darling?” Rarity asked. “I only told her that this is time for us. No reason for her to throw a strop just because I won’t play with her.”

“That’s just it!” Sunset replied. “According to what she’s told me, you’ve been doing this for a while! It’s as if you don’t want her around. She looks up to you, and this is how you repay her?”

Rarity snorted. “Oh, really, Sunset. That girl’s quite the fool at times, spouting elaborate poppycock and putting on ridiculous fine airs that are simply absurd for a girl in her position.”

“Her position is that she is lonely,” Sunset answered.

“Can we discuss this later?”

“OK!” Pinkie cried, appearing from nowhere wearing a creepy hood. “Who’s ready for some ghost stories? I’ve got some creepy tales lined up.”

Sunset laughed. “You know, Pinkie, if you want to hear weird stories about beings in another world, I have the journal from Twilight on me.”

“Oh yeah!” Rainbow Dash commented. “I know that’s how you got the distress call to Twilight, but I never really understood how it works. How often do you use it?”

“I use it all the time. Twilight says hi, by the way.” Sunset paused, before starting her explanation. “It kinda works like texting does. When I write a message in the book, an exact duplicate of that message appears in a book in Twilight’s castle.”

“That journal really is something,” Fluttershy smiled. “It’s a perfect way of keeping in touch with other worlds!”

“Ah, the wonders of Equestrian Magic,” Sunset smiled, as she reminisced about the old days. “Funny thing is, such techniques are pretty commonplace over there, and our equivalent of cell phones is magical burping dragons!”

“Well,” Rarity smiled, “make sure to tell Twilight everything that has happened. In the meantime, let’s party!”



Just then, Rarity activated a CD player linked to a set of speakers, which began blasting out an old favourite of theirs. Each of them grabbed toothbrushes, glasses cases, and many other things that could double for microphones, and began to sing along.



“Hey, hey, everybody

We've got something to say;

We may seem as different,

As the night is from day!”



As they continued, Sunset took out her phone and began taking pictures and recording video.

“Are you recording them?” Rarity asked.

“I want to capture the memories!” Sunset replied, smiling as she did so.

“STAGE DIVE!” Pinkie suddenly cried, leaping off the bed.

“TAKE COVER!” Rainbow Dash shouted, jumping to one side.

“Oh, goodness!” Fluttershy exclaimed, as Pinkie flew through the air and smashed through a door.

Pinkie Pie looked sheepish. “I guess that works better when there’s a stage,” she admitted.

Fluttershy sighed. “I think this is the 6th door you’ve broken by dancing, Pinkie,” she said.

“Nope!” Sunset corrected. “Twelfth!”

“Rarity, what are all these clothes?” Pinkie Pie asked.

Rarity sighed. “Oh, this is just my closet of shame. It’s where I put the outfits that I make or buy that turn out to be horrible. I clean it out and donate everything to a clothing drive occasionally. I should probably do so again...”

Pinkie Pie was not convinced. “What are you talking about?” she asked, now in a blue suit with waistcoat and top hat. “This stuff is great! It’s the perfect material for outrageous selfies!”



Many, many more silly pictures were taken in the varying outfits, with the girls being quite impressed. “These are pretty funky clothes Rarity,” Sunset commented, currently dressed as a 1920s flapper.

“Yeah, check me out!” Rainbow Dash called, looking like Dracula.

Rarity laughed. “Well, feel free to try them on, I suppose.”


That night, Sunset took out her magic journal, and began to write in it.



Dear Twilight,

Only my third slumber party with the girls, and I’m already feeling so much closer to everyone! I haven’t felt so loved, so accepted, in... well, ever! I feel like I finally have a family again. Without all of you to help and support me, I’d be-

Well, you know what I’d be!

Anyway, I should get some sleep. But I wanted to let you know, before I do...that I love you all.

Your student,

Sunset Shimmer.



And with that, Sunset put the book down and drifted off to the land of sleep.



Meanwhile, Sweetie Belle tossed and turned in her sleep, unable to rest properly from all the noise coming from the other room. “It’s not fair,” she moaned, reaching for her phone and slipping out of bed.



A few days later, Sunset came into school with a happy smile on her face, and rounded a bend, seeing her friends looking at her. Some had blank faces, and others looked angry, but none of them were smiling.

Author's Note:

Hello, and welcome to another chapter. Anybody care to guess what the song reference is this time?

It is from here I shall begin to diverge more from the original comic, so get ready for a rollercoaster of surprises.

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