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There's no use in Worrying when Things start going Wrong

Just as Sunset was about to start writing to Twilight, she stopped, and lifted her pen clear of the page, setting it aside for a moment. Should she drag Twilight into this? She doubted that, although Twilight was the Princess of Friendship, she would have much expertise in what amounted to internet gossip, even if the tone of what was being spread wasn’t hugely chivalrous. Indeed, Sunset could understand why Applejack found the secret of her nickname being posted so hurtful. It wasn’t only embarrassing, (although the farm girl had done a good job of masking how she really felt), it was hurtful, given the context.

And now everybody in the school knew. Although nothing nasty had happened yet, Sunset feared this was just the start, and things would only go downhill from here. And what of the Dazzlings? How could she trust them? They seemed as though they had genuinely reformed, but what if it was just a ruse to gain her trust? What if, the moment they got the pendants, they went out for revenge?

“Oh, stop dealing in what ifs!” Sunset thought “Work in concrete facts! They are all you can rely on.”

Having resolved as to the right course of action, Sunset put her pen to the page once more.

Dear Princess Twilight,

I’m sorry for writing to you so soon, so suddenly, and so often, but a potentially serious problem has come up. There’s a mysterious social media account that’s posting mean things about people, and we may need your help.


Sunset Shimmer.

A few minutes later, the book lit up orange, and text began to appear on the facing page.

Dear Sunset,

You wouldn’t mind elaborating on what this ‘social media’ is? That isn’t a concept in Equestria, I’m afraid. I’d also be happy to support from a distance, but unfortunately the portal has suffered some sort of mechanical fault and as a result cannot be used for a few days.


Twilight Sparkle.

Sunset, relieved her friend could help but perturbed about the problems with the portal, began to write back.

Dear Princess Twilight,

Apologies. I had assumed that social media was a concept to you, having spent some time here a while back. I shall elaborate.

Social media is a means of quickly communicating between people. Often it is used for coordinating people, or spreading news, or alternatively just chatting with other people. Here, we often use a media platform called ‘MyStable’. Terrible name, I know, but it’s what the developers chose, and so we roll with it.

The problem is that such technology, whilst a wonderful tool for communication, can be misused for evil. This account, which is how people communicate on the site, is called ‘Anon-a-Miss', and is leaking secrets that belong to people, that are personal. The first person who got their information leaked was Applejack, who had a personal nickname leaked that was embarrassing. I won’t repeat it here as it would constitute a breach of trust, but safe to say it hurt her quite badly.

Then, only today, the account posted again, revealing another set of personal secrets, this time pictures taken at a slumber party I attended with the girls. Even more worrying, the pictures were taken from my phone. That would suggest somebody is good at stealing personal information, which would potentially tip this over into identity theft.

I await your reply,

Sunset Shimmer.

The book glowed again, and another response appeared;

Dear Sunset,

Your phone got hacked? By Celestia, are you OK? Who knows what else they could do if they can access this information?

Panic aside, this sounds very similar to something that happened in Ponyville a few years ago. For a few weeks, a column appeared in the Foal Free Press (going back a way, I know, but I digress) called ‘Gabby Gums’. This column spread gossip that had been picked up across town, such as Snips and Snails getting covered in gum, or even news about Celestia’s cake habits that continue to rumble on. When they ran out of private information, they started printing complete and utter lies, including ones about me and my friends that we did not take kindly too.

But it was the last people we expected. It was Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom, or the Cutie Mark Crusaders as they are collectively known. It turns out they desperately wanted to get their Cutie Marks in journalism, and tried a gossip column. They wanted to stop, but got egged on by Diamond Tiara, the editor. Eventually they confessed and were forgiven, but the damage was done, and some of the rumours are rumbling on today.

And if this person is intent on causing discord-

Suddenly, the text changed to a completely different colour and handwriting.

I don’t appreciate having my name being used badly, Twilight.

Then the text resumed in its original colour and handwriting.

Sorry Discord. As I was saying, if this person is intent on causing havoc, could it be a Wendigo?

I’ll get back to you,

Your friend,

Twilight Sparkle.

Sunset smiled. It seemed their worlds were more similar than she thought, given they had a Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom too. In fact, they also had a Diamond Tiara, although she didn’t seem to be hostile toward the Crusaders. Even the acronym for their group matched up, the Canterlot Move Club. Cutie Mark Crusaders. CMC. That stunt she referred to even sounded like Snips and Snails. On that topic, she had to check how they were getting on.

Wait a second, that stunt...

Sunset was suddenly struck by a horrified thought. “Please no,” she whispered. If the other world’s CMC had been Gabby Gums, could the Crusaders be Anon-a-Miss? If so, it made no sense, as those three would gain nothing from dragging her name through the mud. Besides, they were friends with her! Why would they stab her in the back like this, if they even had done it?

She took out her pen and began writing back.

Dear Princess Twilight,

Don’t worry. Since the incident, I’ve changed the security settings on my phone, so whomever it is won’t be getting anything from me anytime soon. But I have no reason to suspect our world’s Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom. I’m on very good terms with them, and I’m actually their tutor for several subjects, such as math.

I doubt it would be a Wendigo. That seems unnecessarily complex. A mythical creature to spread disharmony is not necessary, as here you can do the same thing at just the touch of a button. It would be paradise for such a creature, true, but it isn’t needed.

I’ll keep you updated as time goes by.

Your student,

Sunset Shimmer.

With that, Sunset closed the book, and pulled her sheets over her, drifting off into an uneasy sleep.

As the week went by, the situation slowly got worse and worse. Anon-a-Miss wasn’t done. In fact, it was only getting started, and the secrets continued to stream out, the damage they caused being felt by all.

Sunset walked into school one morning with a concerned look, seeing the school starting to disintegrate due to the actions of this person.

Just then, a girl with cyan-emerald hair ran past her, crying.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Sunset called.

The girl stopped, and looked at her. “Have you seen what Anon-a-Miss has posted?” she asked.

“Admittedly, no,” Sunset replied, who pulled out her phone and checked the account.

What she saw stunned her. Anon-a-Miss had decided to upload a very personal image, showing the girl in front of her, whom Sunset now recognised as Vapour Trail, kissing Sky Stinger, one of the boys from the soccer team. There was also a caption attached to the picture:

Look at them! At least we know the truth now. Get into bed, you two!

Sunset stepped closer. “Oh my God. Anon-a-Miss has absolutely no respect for people’s privacy.”

Vapour continued to sob. “We were going to t-tell our parents in our own time. But now everyone knows. A-and my mom and dad won’t even speak to me about it!” And with that, the girl ran off into the corridor.

Sky brushed past a moment later, calling after her. “Vapour! Vapour! Can we discuss this, please?”

Sunset felt horrible. This mess had to be cleaned up, and fast, or else who knows what could happen.

Things took a nastier turn the next day. The post consisted of a picture of Applejack asleep in lessons, with another nasty caption below it;

Applejack sleeping on the job! So much for hard work!

This was followed almost immediately by another one about Pinkie Pie, which red;

Pinkie Pie; out of control party animal! Get her on Ritalin, you guys!

This only got worse and worse, as a steady stream of horrible posts and mean-spirited comments continued to flow from the factory-like production line that was the rumour and gossip mill that was Anon-a-Miss. First appeared Rainbow Dash’s bad test grade. They had been required to submit a project on buoyancy, but due to circumstances beyond her control had messed the paper up, a problem not helped by her inconsistent approach to spelling buoyancy, which was rendered as ‘buouyancee’ on the front cover. The harsh remark on the front cover, ‘VERY POOR, SEE ME’, written in red ink in Mrs. Harshvoice’s trademark handwriting, ensured Rainbow Dash’s humiliation was complete.

This was followed fairly promptly with a video of Fluttershy singing on her own in the animal shelter, admittedly not entirely in tune but trying her best nontheless. Alas, the footage of her singing, recorded on a security camera, was posted on Anon-a-Miss complete with markings to suggest where she had gone sharp or flat, complete with the caption;

Fluttershy singing fail!

To say the shy girl was upset would be an understatement, and Pinkie Pie did her best to comfort Fluttershy, who sobbed for several minutes over the embarrassment and humiliation she was suffering.

Even the older secrets weren’t forgotten, if the post-it notes that covered Applejack’s locker with ‘piggly-wiggly’ scrawled all over them were anything to go by. There were often messages left in permanent marker there as well, mostly consisting of profanity and accusations of the Apple family doing... ‘unsavoury’ or transgressive things with animals or each other. Applejack had tried for a few days to clean up the mess, but she had long since given up trying to remove the messages or wash the permanent marker off.

Even Rarity wasn’t spared. Pictures of some of her failed outfits had been leaked online, some of them truly hideous, and others looking like costumes out of a 1980s science fiction film. As a result of the leaks, Rarity had become somewhat allusive and withdrawn, wearing a hat that covered her face at all times, as well as a formal coat that wouldn’t look out of place on a 1930s detective.

If this seemed bad, then it was only just the start of the crisis. People were asking for blood, and got it. Fights began breaking out in the locker areas over secrets being posted, and many members of the school body had to be treated for injuries. They had to hire extra staff for the medical facility simply to keep up with demand. In addition, extra security staff were hired in from a Private Military Corporation in order to keep things under control.

It was truly horrible to see this happening, a school that had once been so united turning into a den of violence and destruction from which it seemed nobody would emerge unscathed. Everybody knew everyone, and many used the incident as a chance to settle old scores and destroy old rivals by pinning information leaks on them. Students turned on one another, and Canterlot High School descended into a warzone, worse than it had been during Sunset’s reign of terror during the last three years. And it was only going to get worse.

One morning, Sunset walked to her locker, as had been the usual every day, only to find that hers had been defaced as well. It was covered from top to bottom in paint, post-it notes, and other graffiti, as well as smeared in red paint and what, on closer inspection, turned out to be horse excrement. But that wasn’t what hurt the most, apart from the mess that Sunset would need to wash off it before it was usable.

All over the locker were profane messages, written in red ink. Most of them are too vile to repeat here, but I shall present a selection of the handful of those that can be repeated.

Burn in hell, Sunshit.

Do you enjoy causing others pain? ‘Cause I’ll enjoy causing pain to you.

Go back to that factory, before we tie you up there.

Leave our world and never return, monster.

Go away, She-Demon.

But the last of all of these messages was by far the worst of them all.

I hope you die, Anon-a-Miss.

So, this was what it had come to. The school thought she was the one behind it, and had fallen for the obvious con trick that was the account. Sunset felt her knees buckle beneath her as she collapsed onto the floor, tears rolling out of her eyes.

“No,” she whispered. “Why can’t I do anything right? No matter what I do, people always turn on me.”

“Because you can never change, She-Demon!” said a voice. Sunset looked around at the speaker, and saw to her horror who was speaking.

He was a giant of a student at 6 foot, and had muscles the size of skyscrapers. He stomped over, continuing his verbal assault.

“All you ever do is hurt others and split them up, secret stealer!” he spat. “You simply want to get back on top!”

“But I saved you from the Sirens, alongside my friends!” Sunset cried. “Why would I do that if I wasn’t truly redeemed!”

“To make us think you had reformed!” he answered, as he closed his fist. “Well, come on boys, time to teach Anon-a-Bitch a lesson!”

Suddenly, more and more students, flooding out of the woodwork and doors of various classrooms, appeared and congregated around Sunset, their blood boiling. All of them looked furious and all of them were chanting loudly. Rude names and verbal abuse flowed from their lips as they vented their rage. The pressure had been building for days now, and at last it now had a way to be vented. And the students didn’t care who they hurt.

“Eat this! LET HER HAVE IT!”

At that moment, objects began to fly through the air. Rotten apples bounced onto the ground and ricocheted of the locker, slamming into Sunset’s chest and knocking her off balance. Banana skins and half eaten peaches rained down like rotten missiles, making a further mess of Sunset’s locker and covering her body in filth. Finally, tomatoes flew through the sky and splattered all over her, turning Sunset’s normally orange/yellow skin to a shade of red, similar to that when she had been turned into that demon they so often referred to.

The mess and ruined food pulp, not to mention juices, intermingled with Sunset’s tears as she desperately tried to run, only to get jammed in amongst the huge crowds of students. It seemed as if there was no escape for the poor teenager, until somebody decided to intervene.

“WHAT IN THE NAME OF GOD IS GOING ON HERE?!” a furious voice boomed down the corridor. Most of the students turned around to see Vice-Principal Luna striding toward them, a look of unbridled fury on her face.

“She’s Anon-a-Miss!” a student shouted back. “We’re just giving her what she deserves!”

“And what proof have you that she is this Anon-a-Miss?” asked Luna, her face still angry.

“Well,” shouted another student, “she did this sort of thing in the past, so she must be doing it now?”

Luna sighed, before resuming her anger at this group of students. “Has it not occurred to you that because somebody commits one crime, they are not automatically guilty of another?” Before any of them had a chance to respond, she dropped in another rhetorical question. “Has it also not occurred to you that you are all hypocrites?”

“What hypocrites?” asked another, adding their voice to the ocean of discontent roiling about. “We’re the ones who are wronged!”

“And yet most of you have been submitting posts to the Anon-a-Miss page, are you not?” Luna answered.

There was no answer from the assembled students, who simply shuffled at the implication of Luna’s words.

“If I see any of this again, I will personally expel each and every one of you! DO I MAKE MYSELF QUITE CLEAR?” Luna boomed, her voice causing a localised earthquake due to the volume. Most of the students nodded meekly.

“Good. Now get to lessons!”

The hastily assembled crowd vanished off into the distance, and Luna came over to help Sunset up. “Are you alright, apart from the mess?” she asked, concerned.

“If you mean I have no physical injuries, then I’m fine,” Sunset replied. “But do you believe I am innocent?”

“My sister and I believe your innocence,” Luna replied, as she helped Sunset onto her feet. “And we are working with all deliberate speed to uncover the heinous monster who has reduced this place to a lunatic asylum.” Then a tone of doubt entered her voice. “But I had no idea you were being attacked. How long has this been going on for?”

“That was the first time,” Sunset answered. “Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to go and wash this all off.”

The students took Luna’s words all too literally. From now on, they only attacked her off of school property, usually when she was on her way home from school. To see the change in Sunset was awful. She shifted from the relative confidence she had held since the end of the Battle of the Bands to being an emotional wreck. She began to avoid the cafeteria, fearing being beaten up or otherwise abused there, bringing food in from home in order to be able to eat, as her lunch money was stolen on far too many occasions. Eventually, she considered not coming into school altogether, or going back to Equestria. But she rejected that last option on the grounds she was probably regarded as a war criminal there, and would face trial for her actions.

One sad winter afternoon, as the rain fell hard on the town and the roads turned to slush, due to the rain washing away the snow from the streets, and the clouds thundered overhead, a group of friends, namely Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Rarity, sat sadly in Sugarcube Corner. Nobody felt at all festive, with Anon-a-Miss wreaking havoc upon the school and ruining everybody’s lives. Whoever Anon-a-Miss was had turned their attention on people outside the school, targeting Mr and Mrs Cake by alleging their two children were not theirs. An especially horrible post had targeted Dr. Turner, a local scientist, and his two daughters, Ditzy and Dinky. This one had claimed (whilst providing no evidence) that Dinky was actually the child of Ditzy, which seemed implausible given there was only an age gap of three years, but nonetheless it had destroyed their reputation overnight.

Fluttershy sighed as she nursed her coffee. “Some Christmas this is turning out to be,” she sighed.

Rarity looked around, her face still hidden by her coat. “I wonder where Sunset is,” she sighed, not in the mood for talk. Income from her fashion business had taken a nosedive recently, and although her parents generated the bulk of the family income, it had still affected Rarity’s self-confidence. Reportedly, she hadn’t made an item of clothing in weeks.

“Probably snaking on us,” Pinkie Pie replied.

“What?” Rainbow Dash asked. “What did you just say?”

“She said that Sunset is probably snakin’ on us,” Applejack replied. “There’s no other answer. All the evidence now points to Sunset bein’ Anon-a-Miss.”

Rainbow Dash facepalmed. “You cannot be serious, AJ!” she exclaimed. “After all she has done for us, you would throw her to the wolves like this?”

“She brought it upon herself,” Pinkie Pie answered, getting up. “There is no other person with the skills to extract our personal secrets and post them online for everyone to see.”

“Probably usin’ her backmail tools ta get the info,” Applejack added, putting her hat on as if getting ready to leave.

“Really darling, this is preposterous!” Rarity answered, looking amazed at Applejack’s assertion. “After all Sunset has done for us, would she really want to go back to being the most hated person in Canterlot?”

“Well, you’re delusional!” Pinkie shouted. “As sure as a cupcake comes from a machine, so does Anon-a-Miss come from Sunset!”

“That made no sense,” Fluttershy answered, her face full of worry.

“I honestly cannot believe that you think Sunset’s Anon-a-Miss!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed. “Are you crazy, AJ?”

“Yer loyalty, generosity and kindness is blindin’ ya!” the farm girl answered defiantly, a look of anger on her face. “Only Ah have the honesty ta accept the truth!”

“I take it then Pinkie that the only laughing you are doing is behind Sunset’s back?” Rarity shot back, her face the image of irritation.

Pinkie sighed. “Come on Applejack,” she said. “There’s no convincing some people.” And the two of them walked out, exchanging angry glares with the other three.

Rainbow Dash sighed. “Great. We’re split in two, and still no closer to figuring out who Anon-a-Miss is!”

“Wait!” Rarity cried. “The first post was Applejack’s nickname, right?”

“We’ve already been through this, Rarity,” Fluttershy replied. “Apple Bloom was asleep at the time the post went up.”

“MyStable has a queuing function,” Rarity answered. “She could have set the post to go up at a specific time, and then gone to sleep.”

“Shaky, that,” Rainbow Dash answered. “Bit of a shot in the dark. And that wouldn’t explain how Anon-a-Miss got Sunset’s pictures.”

“What if Anon-a-Miss isn’t one person?” Fluttershy suggested.

Rarity’s jaw fell open. “You cannot be serious!”

A few hours later, Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle were sat around the computer in Scootaloo’s bedroom.

“Well?” Apple Bloom asked.

“We got two of them away,” Scootaloo replied.

“That’s less than half!” Sweetie Belle answered. “I wouldn’t exactly call that a smashing success, Scootaloo!”

“OK, OK!” Scootaloo replied. “I’m working on it, OK? We need a new strategy if we’re going to get the other three!”

“That’s gonna be a lot of work,” Apple Bloom answered. “Like sluggin’ up a steep hill.”

Scootaloo grinned. “This ought to do it,” she said, and reached toward her keyboard, starting to press down some keys.

The next morning, Cheerilee walked into her office, having dropped Scootaloo off at the gates and left her to go join her friends. These last few days had been depressing, as Anon-a-Miss had somehow got their hands on some pictures of her when she was at college. Cheerilee didn’t deny she’d been a bit of a party animal back then, but since then she had straightened up noticeably. But now some of the embarrassing outfits she thought were hip and trendy when she was in her late teens and early twenties were on the internet for all eternity.

She sat down, after having locked the door, and took out the tests she would be handing back that day. The performance had not been amazing, mostly Bs and Cs, but this was to be expected of 7th graders, after all. They were fairly new to the whole enterprise, after all, and this would be about the standard she would have expected.

Just then, her phone beeped with the news that Anon-a-Miss had posted again, if the distinctive beep of MyStable was anything to go by. Who’s life were they going to ruin this time?

Cheerilee opened her phone, swiped across, and put in her code. When the app loaded, and she saw the message, her face was the image of horror.

Author's Note:

I'll admit I wanted to avoid some of the stereotypes and tropes of this genre, but after having read some good takes on this story, I chose to incorporate the student body turning on Sunset.

What do you think will happen next?

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