• Published 8th Jan 2020
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Golden Age of Apocalypse - Book III: Legacies - BlueBastard

Everything is finally ready for Sunset Shimmer to be crowned a ruling princess of Equestria, but not all is as it seems as the Covenant make their move and the history of Equestria itself is called into question as GAOA reaches its explosive end!

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Chapter 6 - The Coronation of Princess Sunset Shimmer

GAOA Book 3 Chapter 6

The Coronation of Princess Sunset Shimmer

While ponies were still talking about the disturbing “Hash of Humans” that had occurred that morning, they gradually had already begun putting it behind them as the hour drew closer to the coronation. Already ponies and other species of all kinds were pouring into the parade grounds to fill the stands. Some visiting dignitaries already had taken their seats in the reserved boxes even though the ceremony itself wasn’t due to start for another few hours.

As she looked over the capital city of this still quite alien world, seeing the alien equines congregate down the city streets to the parade grounds, Celestia couldn’t help but wonder if this had been how her ancestors felt. She was descended from Italian nobility, but the closest she’d ever come to having this kind of sensation was her first day as Canterlot High’s principal and watching all the students come into the auditorium for the first day speech.

“Man, if only we could tell our families about this,” said Luna, who had opted to come visit her sister in the hours leading up to the reason they’d journeyed quite literally across time and space. Sable was off doing drills with the SIRENs in preparation for the big event so it was just the two sisters once more.

“Heh, yeah. Imagine what Mama would say if she even had an inkling of where we were now. She’d probably say we’d drunk too much wine.”

“I mean, how long did it take Sable to come around? We are in a land straight out of a fairytale book for children, where not only do a ton of different civilized species exist, but our own counterparts are literally goddesses whose eternal youth makes our own looks like we got hefty plastic surgery bills.”

“You ever wonder if there’s some kind of greater purpose to all this?”

The non-sequitur question caught Luna off guard. “What do you mean, Tia?”

“Isn’t it strange how between our social and familial connections in both our own world and of this, we generally seem to have the same relationships? The translation between worlds isn’t perfect, but even discounting how Sunset plays into all this – which is not a minor thing – me, the human Celestia, is in a position of authority, while my counterpart is literally one of the most powerful beings on this planet. As is you and yours, Luna.”

“And yet if I recall what I heard correctly, your boyfriend’s counterpart was an infamous terrorist who lived a thousand or so years ago and had no love for the local Celestia.”

“There has to be some irony in how that worked out.” Celestia shook her head in mock disbelief. “Still, it makes me wonder if we’re going to be ready for what comes next. I remember telling you that Sunset was nothing but a trouble magnet the first year she went to CHS, and while obviously the context has changed as have our opinions, I fear that statement is still true.”

“Are you talking about that whole affair when those mercenaries attacked Sunset’s house a few weeks ago?”

“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m talking about – in the old timeline, when Sable had nothing to do with Sunset’s military cousins, we all got attacked simply because I resembled Solaire, who happened to be the human Sunset’s mother. And now we are privy to a falsehood on an international scale, all to protect Sunset. And now that Sunset has become obscenely powerful... – I’d honestly be scared out of my wits to think that a girl like her with that kind of power at her fingertips was around if it wasn’t for the fact she did reform and ultimately become worthy of being royalty.”

“Is there anything we can really do about it, though?” said Luna, “All we can do is protect her the best we can – admittedly now more me than you since I’m the principal of CHS.”

“If you were to tell me a little over a year ago that the terror of CHS would not only become one of our most treasured students, but straight up a beloved family member we would visit an alien world simply to be there for, I would have called you crazy.” Celestia then turned and walked over to the bed where she’d laid out the beautiful gown that had been made for her by both human and pony Rarity. It has been specifically designed so the human Celestia wouldn’t look like she was trying to copy the princess given their hair colors were identical. “Anyway, we’d best start getting dressed.”

Nestled down the street from Nobility House, the 2862 Club was possibly one of the ritziest and most exclusive lounge establishments in all of Equus. Being the domain of the nobility – by tradition, none of the royal ponies could venture into its spaces, as to allow the nobles a chance to talk freely without having to worry about upsetting the princesses – the waiting list had a waiting list: were a pony to put their name on the list, it was likely that the honor of being let into the Club would fall to their grandfoals. Only the ponies that everypony simply absolutely had to know if they were anypony were among its clientele, and to even be a part of a member’s entourage, to be allowed in as a guest was a privilege beyond words.

And on the day of Sunset’s coronation, it was largely sparse save for a small group of ponies who wanted absolutely nothing to do with the orgy of commoners that was being gathered at the grand arena to hold the lot.

“This whole ‘coronation’ is a farce,” groaned Riven Oak, drinking from a brandy snifter and relaxing in a lounge chair made of the finest starspider silk. Even though he’d been discharged with a full bill of health from the hospital following him passing out cold from that...illusion...that the undeserving princess-to-be pulled and somehow fooled the majority of the idiotic commoners, he certainly didn’t feel all that great. “I have no doubt Celestia had Sunset sent away purely so she could trot out her orphaned whelp as a precipice of distraction from the fact this country is still aching from Tirek running roughshod over it!”

“Indeed,” agreed Diamond Life, one of the newer socialites to join the Canterlot scene. Technically, her mother, Diamond Amore, had the actual membership, but the staff at the Club knew better than to get into an argument with somepony as powerful as that so they let her daugher have full access. She had grace and beauty finer than any fashion runway model, but her personality was anything but. “These dirty humans are just attention whores of the worst kind – one of them’s even passing off some sad excuse for music down at that two-bit instrument stand! It’s bad enough that the little runt Celestia ran off for five years is back in town going ‘Look at me, my wings are so pretty!’ but with inequine beasts in tow? Why, they’re taking all the attention away from ponies who deserve it!”

“Like you?” drolled Oak.

“Yes, because I am worthy of attention!”

“Hrmph!” harrumphed the younger mare sitting next to Riven Oak, apparently disinterested in virtually everything except the sasparilla pina colada in which she only slightly less disinterestedly sipped from. “You want to talk about undue attention? Prince Blueblood has the attention of virtually every mare in the city when everypony damn well knows he’s mine – he’s just playing hard to get!” She slammed the glass down on the counter, cracking it. “Even that harridelle he grew up with should know better than to try to present for him!”

Riven Oak diplomatically chose to handle the comment from his daughter Heatherfield the same way he always handled it: by ignoring her. “It’s bad enough so much is being spent on this ridiculous celebration for a pony who hasn’t been relevant for the past five years, but she’s getting all the trimmings of a pony of high station when it’s been made clear she isn’t even going to live with pony kind again! She’s chosen the hyo-mahns over her own native species! The traitor!”

“Well, she’s being given a worthless title, isn’t she?” observed Diamond. “I mean, Westphalia is largely condemned to the history books, I honestly couldn’t tell you what part of the country it used to be in.”

“You couldn’t tell me where Percheron is,” Oak retorted. “I’m frankly surprised you know where Canterlot is.”

“Yes, but my calling in life is to be beautiful and envied by others, not a filthy geographer.”

“Whatever. But the fact Sunset is being made Princess means that the Barony of Westphalia – which contains significant portions of my land – is going to humans! Can you believe it? All this warring and protection from other species, only to just hoof it over to a bunch of furless, tailless monkeys who have never had anything to do with our society and if there is any justice left anywhere, never will!”

“If there was any justice in this world, Blueblood would already be mine!” continued Heatherfield, completely oblivious to whatever her father and the other well-to-do pony were blabbing about. “I almost had him at that party following Sunset’s stupid little speech, but then when I found myself the next morning with no Blueblood but instead a–”

“That’s nice, dear,” Riven Oak said dismissively .

Just then, another pony entered and sat down at the table. “Glad to see there are still some ponies who know better than to bow to that anorexic winged unicorn’s wishes.”

“Ah, Brass Shock, good to see you’re still out and about.”

“Yes, old friend, I needed to get out of my business and somewhere where I could relax.” He plopped into the seat across from Oak and poured himself a brandy as well. “My business has been threatened, and it stands on the verge of ruin now!”

“How so? You’re one of the ponies whose companies produce the weapons that are vital for the military to protect the land! After the war with Tirek, you’ve been instrumental in rearming not only us, but the kitsunes and the yaks as well!”

Shock crushed his glass in his magical grasp, the brandy spraying everywhere. “And none of that matters anymore! And do you know why? Those damn humans and their weapons – the military have been fawning all over them, with the exception of sensible ponies like Adm. Tumblehome!”

Oak nodded at the sage wisdom. “Ah, yes – I’ve met the good admiral. It’s a good thing to know we still have sensible ponies in charge where we need them. But please, continue.”

Shock’s eyes narrowed. “Ever since those ‘SIRENs’ – what the hell is a ‘Special Initiative’, anyway? – showed up with their inequine weapons, the military has been telling me they want those, or else they’ll have to see about having that human admiral procure them.”

“A human as a flag officer?” Oak gasped. “We already have enough issues with zebras and griffins in our military, and now we’re letting monsters into our midst?”

“Oh, you haven’t heard the rest, I presume. Many of our best mares in barding are willingly being turned into humans! Hell, there was that little stunt they pulled this morning, scaring the wits out of countless innocent ponies in a sad parody of the Military Gallop!” Shock then leaned in, as if conspiratorially. “It wasn’t enough to take hardworking ponies and whatever other species serve our country and turn them into humans, but they completely besmirched the dignity and honor of our realm’s fighting forces! Have we completely sold out to these human monsters, completely ignoring the legends of yore?“

“Oh, how dare you question the wisdom of Celestia,” Oak replied in a mocking tone. “How wise it is to fawn over her alleged daughter by giving her and her human entourage whatever they want?”

“Indeed,” Shock laughed, summoning another glass. “How dare I think of the good of Equestria and its ponies rather than throwing a tantrum, blowing up a mountain and then plunging the world into an unnatural winter because of my supposed runaway child. I guess I must not have proper perspective that wings and a horn provides.”

The two clinked their glasses and were about to comment further when a pair of ponies came in, a husband and wife. “Please, can anypony spare a glass of champagne? I fear it will be the last before we are ruined by the damnable alicorns and their need to ‘change the world’.”

“Indeed,” the mare added. “Perhaps it is not Tirek we should fear, but those who are reputedly our, ahem, ‘benevolent rulers’.”

Typically, nopony present – or anypony at all, really – ever paid much attention to Baron Wormwood and his wife, Baroness Chamfered Joist. They were small potatoes in the scheme of things and were only members of the Club because the baron’s company had done refurbishment of the premises free of charge. But as of recent, perhaps even what they had to say made more sense than originally thought.

“Something on your mind, Wormwood?” Shock asked.

“Yes. A little pain in the plot known as Princess Twilight Sparkle,” Wormwood grunted as he made his way to the champagne bar, pouring himself a large flute. “It seems that engineers working for that dolt Mayor Mare found...irregularities...in the recent apartment complexes I’ve built in Ponyville. And when she demanded that I fix them, I told her that with the cost of the construction materials, she’s lucky that I’m building them at all, since it would be far more lucrative to build in places like Manehattan or Baltimare! And do you know what her response to that was?”

“No, but I suppose you’ll tell us,” Oak drolled.

“Damn right I will! She got that simpering little bookworm of an alicorn – Princess Twilight – to demand that I make all repairs to the buildings and then check all my buildings nationally to ensure they are up to safety or else she will institute a board review of my business! And then to top things off, she put that snivelling plothole Fancy Pants in charge of the inspection! My biggest business rival! What is she trying to do, ruin me?”

“Well, you know that brown noser and his wife have been friends of the royal family for years,” Joist commented. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Pants’ wife gave ‘special favors’ to some of the royal stallions.” She drained her glass, adding, “Everypony knows that Fleur dis Lee is nothing but an open stifle anyway.”

“Yeah! She’s even tried to get with my Blueblood!” Heatherfield cried, though none paid attention to that.

“Well, perhaps it’s not my place to say,” Oak commented as he looked at his brandy glass, “but maybe our dear friend Highfalutin’ has the right of it. She may be technically part of the royal family, but she’s always had our best interests in mind, you know. She’s been complaining for years that just to get by, we’ve been practically forced to kiss the collective ass of the royals!” –

Joist nodded. “Yes, I’ve spoken to her myself. She admits that even though they are her family, the truth is that in her opinion, the alicorns should have been deposed after Celestia nearly killed us all in her melancholy. She even stated that this whole bit about Sunset Shimmer’s ‘secret mission’ wasn’t just so she could be forgiven for betraying Equestria and forging ties with those horrible humans.”

“You don’t even know the half of it,” Shock commented. “Halberd and his fellow senior military officers are completely fawning over how those SIRENs unleashed some kind of new weapon technology and laid waste to some griffin mercenaries.”

“Mercenaries? In Canterlot?” Wormwood asked.

“That’s what the news is calling them,” Shock replied. “In truth, they were likely just a diplomatic group dispatched from that wreckage of a kingdom that the griffins call home and were trying to insist that runaway griffoness simply return to that shithole – excuse me, homeland of hers – where she belongs.” He swirled the brandy in his glass and then added, “Instead, those human barbarians ‘saved’ her with their horrifying weapons and then, from what I understand, Celestia appointed that griffin as Sunset’s Seneschal!”

“You mean the catbird is going to the human world?” Diamond snorted in amusement. “That’s the best damn news I’ve heard all day! One less catbird clogging up our city the better.”

“Don’t be a fool,” Joist noted. “While she might be getting out of Equestria and going to live with a different sort of trash – humans instead of her own kind – it still means she will wield considerable but undue influence in the halls of the palace. It’s just that she won’t be hiding under Princess Twilight’s tail instead.”

Oak scoffed. “There was a time when I had such high hopes for that filly. She had everything going for her – noble unicorn birth, her parents are extremely well respected by the commoners, and the understudy of the princess such that she almost was an acceptable choice for succession. But then Celestia sent her to goddamn Ponyville with the mudponies and feather dusters for ‘friendship’. While, yes, it led to Equestria being saved a couple times, then she became an alicorn and a princess and who knows what do-gooder mess she’ll do now?”

“She’s already doing it!” Wormwood argued. “She’s destroying my business without knowing a damn thing about how the real world works! She may as well hoof all my life’s work over to Fancy Pants in return for getting some time in bed with his wife!”

“Not if we can help it.” Shock took a drink, then smiled. “Once this business with Sunset is over, I propose we discuss things with Princess Highfalutin’. Perhaps it’s time that we spoke to a royal who cares about the true future of this nation instead of turning it into some nonsensical farce.”

As the hour of ascension drew ever nearer, the stands seemed to inexplicably continue to fill with ponies and creatures of all kinds. But for a select few, the personal entourage of Sunset, they were waiting in a private box seat until they were later to be brought down to the VIP seating at the edge of the stage.

“Part of me is in awe at being at the heart and center of such a grand occasion,” said Rarity, “but at the same time, I can’t be the only one who is thinking this feels like a bigger school assembly we would have back at CHS?”

“You mean a bunch of individuals gathered in one place to listen to a speech from Celestia?” replied Fluttershy, “I guess it is funny that in a way that’s what it boils down to.”

“I hope this is quick,” quipped Rainbow, “I do not do dresses.”

“You will for Sunset’s sake,” chided Applejack, who admittedly didn’t seem to be all that enthused about wearing something so elaborately fancy herself.

“Well, yeah, for her I’d do anything,” Rainbow said. Applejack’s eyebrow raised mischievously in response, to which Rainbow angrily snapped back, “Oh, come on, don’t you dare go there!”

“Ah don’t have to,” Applejack said with a grin. “But you’ll have to explain that one to Pinkie.”

“Oh, fuck you, AJ.”

“Hey, not mah problem you’re offering everyone your feminine charms, Rainbow.”

As the two bickered, Twilight giggled at the amusing scene. Sometimes it was hard to believe Dash and AJ got along so well, but the two were as thick as thieves. Which was something Twilight would have used to describe the relationship between herself and Octavia, at least normally, but strangely, Octavia seemed to be withdrawn.

“Is everything okay, Tavi?” asked Twilight.

“Uh, yeah, yes, everything is fine,” said Tavi, in a tone that suggested that wasn’t entirely true.

“Tavi, you know I can tell when you aren’t even trying to hide something is wrong.”

“I just don’t want to talk about it, okay, Twilight?” Nothing established seriousness more then for Octavia to use Twilight’s full name instead of her shorter nickname.

However, any further discussion was cut off by the sound of Rarity squealing in anguish. Instinctively, all present members of the “Majestic Twelve” turned to look at their Rarity.

“That wasn’t me,” said Rarity. Which in their collective minds, everybody realized that it was the other Rarity. And sure enough, as they turned to look down the aisle, they saw their pony counterparts coming. But specifically, they saw pony Rarity freaking out because for whatever reason, Pinkie had chosen to wear the same outfit she had worn at Sunset’s coronation ball, this time with the addition of a princely rapier. And while that would be more than acceptable under different circumstances, as of now, the fashionista was having none of it.

“You can’t wear that!” she squealed in frustration. “Both myself and my counterpart worked to make sure everypony was wearing matching ensembles and I would think especially after what happened in that thing, you’d never want to wear it again!” The rest of the ponies didn’t say anything but had looks on their faces suggesting they thought the same thing, except pony Pinkie who seemed to have some undeterminable opinion on the matter.

「くそ....」 swore human Fluttershy, facepalming. Human Rarity was absolutely mortified and looking like she would rather die than have that outfit ever be seen in public again.

“I’m sorry, Rarity,” said human Pinkie, “but this is basically formal attire of my station. I am Sunset’s Swordbearer and-”

“I FORBID IT!” the pony shrieked, “Swordbearer or not, I will not allow this crime against fabulosity go unanswered! You need to change right now!”

“I’ll handle it,” said pony Pinkie who then promptly vanished, having run off impossibly fast as she was wont to do, before instantly reappearing and having changed out of her intended outfit for a pony version of human Pinkie’s outfit. “I always have hidden clothing stockpiles in case of dress emergencies – granted I rarely use them since you tend to take care of them first, Rarity.”

The pony immediately passed out from the sheer force of unbelievability of the situation.

Just then, the blaring of trumpets sounded out, announcing that the coronation, was, in fact about to begin.

“Ah got her,” said pony Applejack, who managed to haul the passed out Rarity onto her back. “C’mon, we gotta get ready.” She cautiously avoided making eye contact with her human self, though, as she still hadn’t quite forgiven herself for how she’d treated the human earlier that week.

If the royal wedding had been an event to absolutely not miss and Twilight Sparkle’s coronation a once-in-a-lifetime spectacular, then Sunset Shimmer’s looked to be the event myths and legends were written about. Everywhere a being could look, the decor was festooned with crimson and gold decorations, the proud imagery of an eclipsed sun cutie mark placed all around. Sure, the usual national imagery like the Equestrian National Flag and the sun-and-moon iconography of the dual monarchy were present as well, but it was no mistake that Sunset was front and center.

The stands were absolutely packed, and the clouds around the parade grounds would have been as well had it not been forbidden due to security concerns...as well as Tumblehome desperately trying to apply whatever clout was still recognized (in her mind’s eye) to ensure that at least one of the naval airships she’d been allowed by Luna to have in the air could rain cannon fire down if the situation required it.

Within the parade grounds themselves, it was as if the world itself was a stage, with only part of the back of the stands blocked off simply so ponies wouldn’t be staring at the backs of the royal ponies taking the stage. The rest of the stands were packed virtually to standing room only capacity, from the nosebleed sections to the orchestra sections in front – only a wide path running from the offset center stage down the middle to the back of the parade ground stands was clear, with additional, thinner paths running perpendicular purely for ease of movement so the manager of escorts could exit stage left or stage right instead of interrupting the coronation itself. Any other remaining empty space was reserved seating for those who would be participating in the ceremony itself.

The trumpets continued blaring, making sure that absolutely everypony knew what was going on, and with a final triumphant note, the trumpets ceased. At the head of the orchestral section, Octavia Melody took to her podium and with her conductor’s wand firmly in hoof, tapped the podium and began the motions for her legion of musical equines to begin playing.

On cue, they began to play the national anthem of Canterlot, as the first group of ponies began marching down the center aisle. The Solar Guard, their armor finely polished, escorted their liegelady Princess Celestia – herself wearing an absolutely breathtaking dress in a rare occasion where she actually wore clothing – down to the center stage, and then departed as the large alicorn proceeded to the center, where the Royal Canterlot Voice had been cast to ensure all present would hear the noble words of their rulers. No sooner had the Solar Guard disappeared into the sides of the parade grounds then did the Lunar Guard, resplendent with their dark carpaces and the pointier profiles of bat ponies, escorting the ever beautiful Princess Luna to the Lunar Anthem, a new piece of music commissioned to mark her place in the alicorn pantheon. That was followed by the Romance Guard escorting Cadence and Shining Armor to the ancient Crystal Empire anthem. While Shining, as Captain of the Guard overall would normally be with the other Equestrian senior military officers, as the prince of the Crystal Empire, today he would be with his wife, while Arrowswift filled his Guard role,. Finally, the formerly newest branch of the guard, the Friendship Guard, followed suit with its captain Prince Divine right at the helm, and Princess Twilight Sparkle walked down the path to the sound of a surprisingly upbeat yet no less appropriate theme that sounded familiar to everyone present, but they couldn’t quite place the origin beyond the theme of friendship itself having been woven into the chords.

As soundproofed as the parade grounds staging room under the stands was, the echo of so many hoofsteps from the acoustics of the parade grounds still sounded around in the immediate vicinity all the same. And to the nervous Sunset, all the rehearsal in the world wouldn’t make her any more prepared to face destiny – which really said something given she’d readily killed herself to save her deceased counterpart not all that long ago.

And I really need to talk with someone…somepony…anyone, she thought, glancing around at her immediate surroundings. Unfortunately, despite there being two columns of identical looking royal choir mares behind her – who all looked like quite literal pale imitations of Fluttershy, bizarrely enough – they were so serious about their duty that they wouldn’t utter a sound until they were in the hall, just so they could repeat “Behold, Behold, the Princess Sunset Cometh” or something like that. Farther ahead, Sable, the triplets, and the advanced training group of SIRENS would escort them to the stage, but being professionals all, Sunset couldn’t reach out to them for some nerve-calming conversation.

A standard guard then appeared from an adjacent hallway.“The Friendship Guard just started walking down, your highness,” he said cordially, before adding, “Is…everything alright?”

“Huh?” Sunset hadn’t expected the question – normally the guards and the concept of “inquisitive” were unrelated in every way. But it wasn’t unappreciated. “Oh, uh, no…I’m fine.”

“My apologies, but…I’d say you have a bad case of nerves, m’lady.”

Sunset nervously laughed. “That obvious, huh?”

The guard shrugged. “It’s something everypony goes through. Becoming a princess is no easy thing to go through, but nerves gets to us all. I’m no noble, but I was probably just as nervous when going to accept my commission in the Guard several years ago. Probably doesn’t help that you’re Princess Celestia’s daughter and this is the realization of something you’ve been working your whole life toward.”

“You think?” sarcastically replied Sunset. Strangely, as much as she should have felt even worse at this guard outlining her fears as if reading her like a book…the butterflies in her stomach were gone.

“Ah, there we go,” chuckled the guard. “Sometimes you just can’t let these things hang over your head, you just gotta go for them in the best of your ability.” Sunset wanted to thank the guard for the sudden but very beneficial help, but then a light tapping could be heard down the hall. “You can thank me later, Princess Sunset – right now, Equestria is waiting for its newest princess.”

Celestia, clad in her self-admittedly semi-garish outfit with that stupid crown she really kind of hated, took a deep breath before she began. “Ladies and gentle…beings, of Equestria and other nations gathered here, we are privileged in gathering here today to celebrate a truly historic occasion in honor of a mare whose journey in life has brought down hardship and obstacles greater than many of us can even comprehend. As many of you may remember, Sunset Shimmer’s raw proficiency with powerful magic appeared very early in her fillyhood, being able to tap into the power of the sun itself – a feat that no other pony aside from myself has ever been able to accomplish, which is why I took her under my wing, eventually regarding her as my own daughter in addition to my most faithful student.

The nervous swallow of the bile in her throat was barely perceptible to even those who knew her well. Suffice to say, lying to her entire country still left a bad taste in her mouth. “That is why it brought both pride and sorrow to me, when five years ago, without any hesitation, she volunteered for a mission that would take her far from home, from family, with full knowledge that the cover story would be a lie detailing her betrayal of me. The bravery she showed in facing the fact her reputation would forever be squandered remains steadfast, as even now with her return, there are those who hate her for what she supposedly did, even though none of it is true. More still look upon her with wariness and suspicion, as her home now lies in the world she traveled to, where she now has ties with other civilized species that are unlike anything encountered in Equestria’s history.

“But those same individuals who she calls her friends and family show that, like ponies, they too value the bonds of friendship and harmony they share with Sunset. That they willingly traveled to an alien world unlike anything they’ve known in their lives, is a testament to their courage and conviction that honors Sunset by their simply being here for this coronation.

“And that is why this particular coronation is so significant: because Sunset Shimmer has become more than an alicorn princess of Equestria, but of both Equestria and the world of humanity. Her ascension was brought about by her saving her adopted world, in effect becoming the sole alicorn of that reality, the Alicorn of Earth – for that is the name humans have given their planet as Equus is the name we have given ours, though why they named it after dirt is a matter for another time.” Celestia could hear chuckles in the audience; they were warming up to her speech.

“For now, however, it is time we gave the mare responsible for bringing together two worlds in harmony a name – the name of Princess Sunset Shimmer!”

As one, all those gathered in the audience turned to face the opposite end of the parade grounds, where the SIRENs dressed in their dress uniforms emerged with perfect military precision – and giving more than a few ponies in the crowd apoplexy of the horror that had come that morning in the strange desecration of the Military Gallop. Behind the SIRENS approached two rows of identical mares, their backs bearing banners with the two-color sun image. And behind this procession was the mare whose cutie mark was plastered all over the place in her wake.

“The Princess Sunset cometh,” the pale Flutterclones all sang in unison, “behold, behold…”

The maize alicorn was clad in a fine velvet dress, royal purple with pink ribbon lining, with a gorget of gold bearing a central feature of paired yellow nephrite and ruby gems forged in the shape of her cutie mark. Smaller versions of her cutie mark adorned her golden shoes, glinting with every ray of light they caught with every step she took closer to her destiny, the great doors closing behind her.

“A princess here before us, behold! Behold!”

Along the way, Sunset glanced over to see her friends and family, a world away from home, and all of them had – what was the term – liquid pride in their eyes. And despite years of experience in keeping a serene face in front of a crowd, Celestia was tearing up as well – on the inside, at least, for only being keen on Celestia’s tiniest motions a lifetime together could Sunset know.

“Behold, BEHOLD!”

Under the gaze of the four alicorns princesses before her, Sunset bowed before them. Dragon Spike, once again pressed into the role of “the one holding the cushion”, held to his duty as rock steady as a statue, the pillow on which the tiara matching the rest of Sunset’s clothes sat raised in front of him.

“Behold! Behold! The Princess Sunset cometh! Behold! Behold! The Princess Sunset cometh! Behold! Behold! A princess is here!”

The singing mares, their job fulfilled, all fell back to the side aisles as wordlessly, the tiara lifted from the cushion, borne by an aura of golden magic, and Celestia held it into the sunlight for all to see. “This tiara is special. This is not a tiara we ponies have created, but instead a tiara from the human world, belonging to a former human monarch. This was granted to Sunset by the people of that world, in gratitude for all she has done...and all she has yet to do as the Alicorn of Earth.”

Celestia’s speech done, she lowered the Tiara of France towards Sunset’s head.

“I’m so proud of you, my child,” whispered Celestia, as she placed it upon Sunset’s head.

As Sunset turned to face the crowd and deliver her no doubt heartfelt speech, every single one of the humans who had come through with her stood and applauded. And if she could, she would sing their praises as well, but given their duality with the local versions it was best to not focus on them. In her heart, though, she owed so much to them.

Rarity, who Sunset had tortured for years before getting her ass curbstomped into the ground by Princess Twilight Sparkle, had been the first of the core group of Princess Twilight’s friends to reach out to Sunset. Maybe it was for that reason she’d been the one Sunset had first revealed her true form to after Gilda had shoved a knife in her abdomen. But life without Rarity was something Sunset couldn’t even comprehend at this point.

Fluttershy had been such an easy target and it had taken Sunset forever to forgive herself for what she’d done to torture the wallflower. But Fluttershy had also shown an inner strength and was full of surprises – ones Sunset was happy to have the opportunity to share with her.

Applejack had never been one to mince words or sugarcoat things, and Sunset valued that in her friend. AJ had been a conscience, albeit externally, that was always there to point out when she wasn’t being honest, to herself or to others.

Rainbow originally had been one of the most hostile to Sunset, largely because of her protective streak over Fluttershy given those two had known each other longer than anybody else in their little friendship circle. But now that loyalty extended to include Sunset herself.

Twilight and Octavia were the sisters that Sunset never really knew she’d wanted. Sure, Princess Cadence had been around but back then, Sunset hadn’t really been interested in knowing her – she already spent all her time around the biggest alicorn, why would she care about the smaller one? Regardless, the bond Sunset now shared with Twily and Tavi would be reason enough for Sunset to – and had – sacrificed herself over to save them, and she’d gladly do it again. They meant the world to her.

While they weren’t applauding, observing military discipline and all, the triplets showed their love and devotion to her through their steadfast vigil. Privately, Sunset would have admitted that Adagio Dazzle, Aria Blaze, and Sonata Dusk seemed to be the most out of place in her close family and social circle, may it be the complicated custody battle that had gotten them from Canada to California, or the fact they continued to uphold their military origins even though Sunset would have allowed them to never pick up a gun again if they wanted.

There was also Shining Armor, Cadence, and Spike. It was ironic that Shiny had lived up to his name in that it was he who had brought Sunset to his mother, setting up her integration into her human family, and while after that his role was minimal as was Cadence’s, they were still cherished members of her human family. And Spike...was the quintiessential little brother that all families needed.

Sunset wondered if it was intentional or simply ironic that Sable Loam had ended up next to Raspberry Beryl off on the side – while they were relatively distant considering how they related to her own journey, they were still important individuals in her life and they looked happy for her. As she was happy to have them in her life.

Then there was Ms Celestia, and next to her Ms Luna. For the first two years, Celestia and Luna had suffered having Sunset the troublemaker as a student and had rightfully opposed Sunset’s presence in Velvet’s house – justified considering their almost lifelong friendship. But as had Sunset proven to redeem herself, so too had the sister principals turned their attitudes around and now were two of Sunset’s biggest human adult supporters.

The most important human adults in Sunset’s life, though, had to be Twilight Velvet and Night Light. They hadn’t had any obligation to take Sunset into their home - their lives - that night and the truth was they probably shouldn’t have...but they did. They’d been the parental figures in the direct way Sunset had needed all her life, and she was proud to call them parents as much as she called Celestia one. And she was sure they felt the same about her.

But it was Pinkie who Sunset made eye contact with last, and for good reason – the relationship between them was only going to get more and more increasingly awkward from this point on. Granted, their relationship had, from the beginning, been unusual – when the girl who professes her love for you admits she originally wanted to see you die horribly (and for good reason given the absolute scale of what Sunset indirectly caused to happen to her) it really can’t be considered normal – but now following the Allucinor Wing incident, Sunset herself wasn’t sure about her own sexuality. And Pinkie being Sunset’s Swordbearer? Just multiply that complexity by a billion. While Sunset kept smiling, the fact was once the coronation business was all over...there were going to be a lot of uncomfortable questions coming.

Among the cheering crowd, a nondescript mare waited, her only real defining feature the curious hairclip in her mane. She ruffled her wings, checking that the knives tucked away in their secret compartments were ready. Her compatriots would all be in position soon. Their time was nigh, and Corner Shot was ready.

Author's Note:

This was left at the bottom of the Gdocs page for this chapter, probably a joke scene left over from the original draft from years ago.


“Honey,” calmy stated Night, “you’re not yourself when you’re hungry. Here, have a Snickers.”

Angrily, Velvet snatched the candy bar away from her husband and ate it, wrapper and all.

“Feeling better?” he asked?

“Much!” she replied, giving her husband a peck on the cheek in thanks.

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