• Published 23rd Jun 2019
  • 3,180 Views, 493 Comments

Sunset's Isekai - Wanderer D

Somewhere, out there, there's a bar with a familiar ying-yang sun on the door.

  • ...

Pan Galactic Sparkle Blaster (Past Sins - Post Fic)

Sunset's Isekai
By Wanderer D
& Pen Stroke
Chapter 11: Past Sins

If one was ever curious to see how quickly a community could change, you wouldn’t need to look farther than Ponyville. Twilight Sparkle’s arrival in what had been a small rural community marked the beginning of so many big changes, and they only became more grand as the years went by.

Nightmare Moon’s second return had left Night Stone Castle standing on the town’s outskirts. Twilight’s battle with Tirek brought the gift of her Castle of Friendship. Soon after came the School of Friendship right next door. Yet, those changes were but preludes to how much Ponyville would grow and evolve, especially after Princess Celestia and Princess Luna announced their “retirement” as Equestria’s rulers.

As Nyx looked out over Ponyville, sitting on a small cloud with the sunset to her back, it was hard to picture what the town used to look like. Ten years had left their mark on her and the community. She was no longer a school age filly, but a mare that was growing back into the impressive height that had once been a defining characteristic of Nightmare Moon. She still had a little ways to go, but it wouldn’t be long before she was able on eye level with Princess Celestia once more.

Or rather just Celestia. Even after so many years, Nyx had to remind herself that it was just Celestia now. Just Celestia. Just Luna. They were not princesses anymore… a luxury Nyx wished she could share. But the daughter of Equestria’s current ruler, even a technically adopted one, still got bunched into the royal family.

Shaking her head, Nyx tried to get her thoughts off that as she continued to look down on Ponyville from her cloud. She could identify a few landmarks that had managed to resist the tides of change that had swept over the town. Sugarcube Corner still stood out as a delectable dream of a building. The town hall still stood at the very center of the town, though it had been repurposed into a community space. But so much else of the community had changed.

New apartment buildings had replaced old single family homes. The market space, once a modestly sized street lined with carts from local farms, had grown to a full plaza with several more permanent business along its perimeter. Ponyville still had much the same charm, much the same theme, as it always had. But it had grown up and matured. Nyx couldn’t help but feel she shared some parallels with the community that was such an integral part of her life.

Though, unlike Ponyville, there were some ponies in Nyx’s life that refused to appreciate how much she had grown.

“There she is!”

And some of those ponies included the members of her mother’s royal guard.

Unable to sit and enjoy the view any longer, Nyx rolled off the cloud and went into a dive. Falling from the sky like a hawk, she plummeted toward the ground. She waited, gathering as much speed as she could, before spreading her wings at the last possible moment. Her feathers caught the air, and swiftly converted her downward momentum into forward velocity. She flew through the street lamp lit streets of Ponyville, her hooves less than a foot from the ground.

Glancing back, she saw the pair of pegasi guards that had spotted her. “Princess Nyx, stop!”

Maybe when she was younger such a command from the royal guard would have been enough to make her stop. But she had heard that word far to many times over the past few years, and it had begun to lose its potency. So Nyx did not stop. She would not be escorted back to her room by the guard again. Not tonight. This night was hers to seize… as soon as she lost the guards.

Nyx banked hard left at an intersection, letting her hooves land on and then push her off a building. It was a turn the pursuing pegasi were unable to mimic. They soared passed, and for a moment, Nyx had broken the line of sight. Now she just had to find someplace to hide. The trouble was that she was in a residential area. Unless she wanted to barge in on some sleeping family, not a lot of places to hide.

Though, a glimmer did catch Nyx’s eye. Landing and ducking into an alley, Nyx approached the thing that had caught her eye. A solid oak door, stained a deep golden-red, that had a crystal embedded in the wood in the shape of a familiar cutie mark. Though, at the moment, Nyx couldn’t quite place it.

The door was surrounded by a stone frame, and that stone frame was set into a stone wall. The wall itself, if Nyx wasn’t mistaken, was the back wall of an apartment building. Hiding in the lobby of an apartment building seemed a reasonable enough way to elude her pursuers. So, she reached out to the door handle with her magic. She gave it a gentle turn, and felt the mechanisms within shift. It was unlocked.

Wasting not a moment more, Nyx slipped inside and shut the door behind her.

The ambience of the place Nyx found herself reminded her of Rarity’s favorite Shadow Spade novels. The last echoes of the door bell filled the tiny place. Really, it was cozy in just about ever sense of the word. In front of Nyx was a narrow pathway that led to a pair of restrooms at the back of the bar and an old Jukebox. The jukebox seemed to sputter to life the moment Nyx noticed it, its internal mechanisms spinning as it searched for some record amongst its internal collection.

To the right of the central path were a set of two-creature tables, four in total. To the left was the bar. A single long wooden bar that stretched back to the end of the room, curving at the end. An Nyx could tell it was a bar, not by the counter itself but by what stood behind it. She was not so ignorant that she couldn’t recognize a veritable cornucopia of alcoholic beverages.

And behind that bar, cleaning a glass for no patrons, was someone Nyx recognized… and yet didn’t. She thought she saw Sunset Shimmer, a friend of her mother who lived in the world beyond the mirror. Nyx herself had never been to the world of Canterlot High, but Sunset Shimmer had come back across the mirror once in a while to visit.

Yet Nyx had never seen the Sunset Shimmer she knew in human form, nor had she ever seen Sunset wearing… whatever that outfit was. A red button down shirt, a color to compliment the red in her hair, with black pants, black bowtie, and black apron. "Welcome to Sunset's Isekai, please, take a seat, I'll be right with you in a second."

Isekai? Nyx hadn’t heard that word before. Was it a word that described the bar? That would make sense, but would also be a bit on the nose. Then again, it wasn’t uncommon for Equestrian business to be very direct with their naming. Quills and Sofas was a prime example of such a business where there was no mystery of what you’d find inside.

It was the Jukebox that managed to shake Nyx from her thoughts and made her realize she had been standing at the door. It had begun playing, it’s speakers able to fill the space easily. It was some slow jazz number, a piano handling most of the melody as it was accompanied by what sounded like a double bass and a muted trumpet. Maybe there was a pair of bongos in there as well, but Nyx couldn’t tell for sure.

It was relaxing, adding to the bar’s natural ambience as a retreat, a place to get away from the world. At the moment, Nyx was happy to call it her sanctuary. She took a few steps forward, starting to approach the bar. There were stools to sit on, though those seemed intended for regular ponies or patrons that shared in the bartenders bipedal form. Thankfully, it did seem there were a few places at the bar meant for creatures of Nyx’s stature. She was able to find one such cushion, and take a seat there.

It put her directly in front of the bartender, this Sunset Shimmer that Nyx had never seen before, if her intuition was right. Still, maybe this was the Sunset Shimmer she knew… and her mother had just failed to mention she was back in Equestria, that she wasn’t a pony, and she had opened a bar behind some apartment building. Really, there was only one way to find out for sure.

“So… do I know you?” Nyx asked as she watched Sunset Shimmer continue to clean a glass.

As soon as the bell rang, Sunset took a deep breath. Alternia's mother issues had been somewhat draining, bringing back her own past hopes and opening a few wounds she wished had been left untouched. Still, Alternia had just given birth and with her being part of the ruling body, it was understandable that she'd be stressed.

It would have been nice to have the stress not involve Sunset too much, however, but she had designed this place with that in mind. It was her role, so to speak. And it seemed that stress was a real problem with both alicorns and changeling queens, if the young Luna that had walked into the bar was anything to go with.

She was definitely a bit different than Sunset would have imagined, her coat was darker and her eyes had a vertical slit pupil than regular adult Luna. In fact, there was a slight chance that this wasn't Luna… the shield cutie-mark reminded her more of the CMCs marks, and unlike Luna, who liked her mane to flow, this alicorn had her mane tied into a ponytail with a scrunchy of all things.

Sunset didn't know what to make of this new alicorn, but she was clearly stressed and confused, taking in the ambience of the bar with wide eyes that slowly crawled up to her and shone with something akin to recognition. Better let this one in slow. "Welcome to Sunset's Isekai, please, take a seat, I'll be right with you in a second," she said, motioning with her head to the seats.

It took not-Luna a few seconds to shake the surprise off and slowly make her way to one of the seats at the bar.

“So… do I know you?”

Sunset put down the glass under the bar and smiled. "Well. I'm not sure… you might know someone like me? I'm Sunset Shimmer, and if you've ever heard that name before, chances are you know Twilight Sparkle. But I wouldn't be your Sunset… this bar is a multidimensional pocket, intended to stop by where friends and friendly creatures might need a drink." She looked at the young mare.

Were this her Equestria, not-Luna would certainly be old enough to drink, but it was always tricky with Alicorns, so she pulled out both cocktail menus.

"This one's the non-alcoholic menu, and this one is the regular one. I have also an insane amount of beers from across the multiverse if that's what you like."

Sunset read not-Luna’s face a moment, trying to gauge her level of understanding. For some of her guests, the concept of the multiverse flew over their head. For those less intellectual customers, it was sometimes better just to say the place was “magic” and leave it at that. This not-Luna, however, seemed to understand the concept. There was even a curiosity in those eyes, as if the mention of the multiverse had sparked innumerable questions. Yet, not-Luna remained quiet, eyes drifting to the menu.

“So, a Sunset Shimmer from an alternate dimension,” not-Luna said. “And this place is a bar… from an alternate dimension. A bar my mother won’t have talked to.” A smile played on not-Luna’s lips for a moment. “I don’t suppose you could recommend something for someone of drinking age but who hasn’t had a chance to try alcohol yet? Ideally before someone can storm in and ruin this golden opportunity.”

Sunset blinked. "Huh. What is it about being chased by ponies?" she muttered. "Alright, I can recommend a couple of things, but first of all, you said your mom won't let you drink? But you are legally of age, correct? My bar will know."

Not-Luna’s expression soured. She bit her lip a moment, as if trying to decide how to approach the situation. “So the bar decides if I’m old enough, but I guess that’s only if I’m honest. Fine. Whether or not I’m of legal drinking age depends on how you count. Biologically, I am a few years past the drinking age. Mentally, I’d argue the same. But… technically speaking, I was only born about a decade ago.”

Sunset studied her again. "What." She shook her head. "Alright, run this by me again. So far I've been operating under the assumption that you're Luna, just… young. And possibly with different upbringing."

“You’re not far off from that.” Not-Luna chuckled as she brought a hoof to her mane. She ran the hoof through her ponytail, causing some… blob of blue magic to come out. They were star speckled, like a very dark night sky. The blob drifted to the bar, breaking apart into about seven smaller pieces. “Been a while since I’ve had to tell this story, but I guess it never does get old.”

The seven blobs of magic took shape, forming into tiny, toy-like versions of Sunset’s familiar friends as well as a larger, black coated alicorn. Though Sunset had yet to see her face to face, she could tell the two inch alicorn standing and posing on her bar was Nightmare Moon.

“Once upon a time, in the magical land of Equestria, Twilight Sparkle and her five friends found the Elements of Harmony and used them to defeat Nightmare Moon.” As soon as Not-Luna began narrating, the seven tiny actors began to move. Sunset watched as the familiar story played out, the tiny pointy ponies turning her bar into an impromptu stage.

“All the magic and rage that was Nightmare Moon was peeled away from Luna like layers of an onion. The Elements of Harmony saved Princess Luna from her darkness, but did not destroy the darkness. Take those shreds, add a cult, a dark ritual, a symbolic, small blood sacrifice, and an interrupting lightning bolt from Princess Celestia, and you get… me.

“I am Nyx,” Not-Luna said as she made tiny pointy ponies disappear. “I was supposed to be Nightmare Moon reborn, but I ended up a filly with no memories instead. So yes, I was born about a decade ago, but my body was more than a decade old when I was born. And I’d like to think my mind caught up quickly. So, in my opinion, I’m old enough to drink.”

With that explanation laid out, Sunset began to see the resemblance. After all, she had grown up in Equestria. She had celebrated Nightmare Night long before she had even heard of the human world’s Halloween. She knew of Nightmare Moon. She, as a filly, had left her fair share of candy as an offering to the boogie mare of Equestria. And now… it seemed a version of Nightmare Moon was sitting at her bar, asking for a drink.

"Well then," she said, taking back the non-alcoholic menu. "It seems we need a drink." She cleared her throat. "Usually a good way to start depends on what you want to do, if you want to drink like an adult, I can get you something to sip slowly, with a more sophisticated palette, like wine, or Scotch. If you want something refreshing, a mojito or a pina colada will do. Or even a Caipirinha."

Nyx’s gaze shifted to one side. Though Sunset couldn’t be sure, she believed Nyx was looking upon the rows of different bottled liquors. “How about… a wine? That was almost my first drink back when I first turned old enough. Rarity had the glasses poured and everything. Then my mother stormed in and ruined it.”

"That's probably the safest bet. Some of the stuff in the direction you were looking takes some getting used to. Or it could end up explosively." She gave Nyx a calculating look before digging under the bar and pulling out a pair of wine glasses. "Alright, I got this from another universe and it has become my wine of choice, it has body, amazing taste and a complex gamma of aftertaste that makes it so much worth dodging arrows and spells to get."

She pulled out a dark green bottle with a yellowish piece of paper glued into it written in some unknown, flowery language. "This is elven bloodwine," she explained, serving the incredibly dark-red wine into the glasses. "It's not blood. And has no blood. But it has a centuries-long process to make. Totally worth it."

Sunset gently nudged one of the two glasses towards Nyx. The other was for herself. It was a personal weakness, but she could rarely serve this wine without having a bit of it for herself. Still, she watched Nyx, her magic taking hold of the glass.

And then… something rather surprising. She watched Nyx, a mare that claimed to have never had a drink before, start inspecting the wine. She swirled it, and watched how it flowed off the interior of the glass. She then put her nose close to the rim, taking a deep smell of the aromas. It was the methodology of someone who had been taught, at least once, the techniques to drinking wine.

Then, finally, Nyx took that first sip. She sipped the wine, set it down, and a smile blossomed onto her face. “That is… very good. A little hard to ignore the taste of alcohol, but I’ve been told that’s something you get used to in time. Nice to finally be able to try a wine the way Rarity taught me.”

Sunset couldn't help herself and started laughing. "Of course, Rarity!" she exclaimed, leaning back and looking at the young mare. "She's definitely be one to teach you about wines. I was about to ask." She shook her head. "So what, or rather who stopped her? She likes her wine a lot, and more so with good company."

Nyx took another sip, enjoying it slowly, before putting her glass back down. “Well, like I said, my mother—”

“When did this door get here?”

The new voice, one Sunset found familiar, came from outside the bar’s door. Nyx’s previously blissful smile was quickly replaced with a deep, aggravated frown as she turned her head to the door. “Of course. Even in an extra-dimensional bar she finds me.” Nyx looked back to Sunset. “Can you hide me, just until she goes away?”

"You're kidding," Sunset said, her eyes narrowing. "Your mom is Twilight Sparkle?" She shook her head. "If she's able to see that door she desperately needs a break herself. And you know she won't leave for a while if she sees me in here."

“But if she sees me in here with this,” Nyx held up the glass, “she’s going to throw a fit!”

"Hey, the bar never lies, you are technically old enough to drink some quality wine." Sunset shrugged. "She needs to relax, it's not like you're downing Bor'Kann and vodka."

“You are underestimating her. This is the mare that got me alcohol-banned from every place in Ponyville when I tried to sneak a hard cider. It was an impressive moment of Twilinanas.”

Sunset pointed up with her finger. "Not Equestria. Besides, I don't like the idea of lying to your mom. She's one of my best friends. Besides, Commander Sparkle can drink like an eldritch god and she loves it, so I'm sure I have something that will mellow down your mom a bit." She reached out and pressed a button. The familiar voice of Twilight Sparkle echoed in the bar. 'This is Commander -hic- Sparkle! And this! This. This! Is my favoorite bar in the multiverse!'

“Hello? Is someone in there?”

Nyx shrank in her seat, but it wasn’t like a pony as big as her could hide so easily. Hearing the doorbell jingle once more, Sunset turned her head and saw her second patron of the evening. It was a Twilight Sparkle, one that reminded her in so many ways of the one she knew from her home universe. Perhaps a bit taller, a bit more regal, but still a very familiar Twilight Sparkle. Though, at the moment, Sunset could see this Twilight was in full mom-mode.

“Nyx!? Sunset!? Why… why are you serving my daughter alcohol? And why do you have a bar in Ponyville!?”

"Oh, hey Twilight," Sunset said, "why don't you take a seat next to Nyx here, who only let me know a moment ago you were her mom, and we talk this out?" She leaned across the bar, locking eyes with her new guest. Her voice softened a little. "Ponies need to be in a very, very desperate need for a break to get here, why don't you listen to what Nyx has to say?"

“I think I’d rather talk to her at home.” Twilight began moving towards Nyx.

“No, mother, how about we talk about it right here?” Nyx said, turning her head to glare at Twilight. “Because this bar, this magic bar thinks I’m old enough to drink. And right now, I intend to sit right here and finish this wine I started.” At that, Nyx picked up the glass and took another long sip.

Twilight visibly bristled. “Nyx!”

"I understand she's your daughter," Sunset said gently, "and I know it's a different circumstance than mine but… communication was an issue a long time ago for me, Twilight, and you know how that ended."

Twilight flicked her gaze to Sunset. It was the well-practiced gaze of a disapproving mother. It almost made Sunset want to apologize for stealing cookies or some other simple, childhood sin, but she caught herself before she could utter the words.

Still, after a few moments Twilight took a seat at the bar. She was still small enough to fit on one of the barstools. So though Nyx was technically the taller of the pair, Twilight’s sat taller than Nyx, who was still comfortably planted on a floor cushion. “So… a magic bar? When did you get this?”

“She’s not our Sunset,” Nyx said as she just held her wine glass in her magic and swirled the contents, watching it refract the light in the room. “She’s another Sunset from a different dimension that has a multidimensional bar that can appear anyplace she wants it to.”

Twilight looked to Sunset, looking her up and down once before turning to face Nyx. “Doesn’t Spike have a comic book that describes a similar situation for the Power Ponies?”

“Eeyup. Power Ponies and the Back Page Cafe.”

“That fills in some blanks.” Twilight turned her gaze back to Sunset. “And you said that this bar appears to ponies that really, really, need a break.”

“That’s what she said,” Nyx answered. “And what does that say about you, mom?”

Once more, Twilight bristled, but didn’t say anything back. She instead drew a hoof to her chest, took in a deep breath, then let the breath out as she extended her forehoof slowly. With a calmer expression, Twilight refocused on Sunset. “Sorry that I snapped when I came in. This is a very lovely establishment, and I can’t say I wouldn’t be interested in hearing how it’s able to travel between dimensions… or how it’s able to decide if someone can drink.”

"Simple multidimensional law-interpretation system," Sunset said, pulling a third wine glass and putting it in front of Twilight, but not serving her yet. "Installed by Rarity from yet another dimension other than mine, and well…" she smirked. "You know Rarity wouldn't let herself be caught with a subpar product that wouldn't allow her to avoid any potential trouble with the law itself. I think Nyx here is one of those cases where the letter of the law is clear enough that the spirit of it has to yield. In other words, she's mentally and physically fit to have a drink."

She showed Twilight the bottle. "However, I'm not serving her some questionable product; This is wine fit for royalty, aged and produced over a matter of centuries by the elves of Silvanesti. The alcohol content is quite low for a world of their nature, and something that you'd sooner get full from than drunk with. Would you like some?"

Twilight glanced about, her horn began to gently glow, There was no spell being cast, at least none that Sunset could see, but the expression from Twilight’s face was shifting from annoyance to curiosity. “The magic in here does feel very complex, very advanced. It’s perhaps some of the most advanced magic I’ve ever encountered.”

There was a huff from Nyx, who’s eyebrow twitched a moment as she took another sip of her own wine. But she offered no interruption to the conversation, and in fact turned her head away to look at the jukebox at the far end of the room.

"It is far more complex than I'd like, but at the same time, who can really ignore a fun challenge?" Sunset replied. "When I got the place, my main directive was to take me to where I could help friends or creatures relax and maybe forget about their problems for a while." She waved the bottle in her hand a little. "Rarity thought I was a good mixologist and here I am, sharing wine with the daughter of a friend. How cool is that?"

Twilight nodded. “It’s very cool, and I can admit it’s nice to have a break, even a small one like this to catch up with a alternate-reality version of a friend. Makes me want to catch up with our own Sunset Shimmer. It’s been too long since we’ve talked face to face, though we still are pen-pals using the book. Her stories from the human world are always so fascinating, though I imagine you have some stories to tell yourself.”

"Yes, but you're leaving me hanging here, Twilight," Sunset said. "I could give you a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster if you want, or do you want something from the non-alcoholic menu? Just promise that you won't do like one of your alternates and destroy the bar because Pina Coladas are virgin enough as they are."

“I suppose I could glance at the non-alcoholic menu.”

"Cool," Sunset said, putting the bottle next to her. "Let me know what you'd like when you're ready." She turned to Nyx. "So how are you enjoying the wine so far? I have other types you can sample if you want."

Twilight picked up the non-alcoholic menu, holding it at an angle so she could comfortably read. “I’d prefer if she didn’t even finish that current glass.”

“It’s wonderful, Sunset.” Nyx said, still sitting at an angle so she was facing towards the back of the bar and away from Twilight. “I do want to finish this glass before I consider trying anything else. Don’t want to dive in too quickly only to find out I’m some light weight. But this has been very relaxing. I really needed this.”

Sunset crossed her arms. "Alright, Twilight, spill. Why are you so opposed to this? She didn't walk in asking for tequila slammers."

Sunset’s gaze fell on Twilight, and Nyx soon joined. Both of them just looking at Twilight. Her eyes flicked away from her menu, taking note of both of them, but then trying to focus back on the nonalcoholic menu in front of her. For a time, that was all that happened. The jukebox played the same music, something calming… soothing… classy, in a way. Ambience but never so loud or upbeat that it intruded. But when the patrons themselves were silent, the music flowed out to fill the gap, to prevent any truly awkward silences.

“Nyx is just… not old enough…”

“Horse Apples,” Nyx snapped. “I’ve got an extra-dimensional age checking spell that seems to say otherwise. This time, I’ve got a backup, so that old excuse isn’t going to fly.” Nyx straightened herself in her seat, looking to Sunset. “You know, in my few year quest to have my first drink, I’ve asked a lot of questions of the right ponies. When Rarity would host a wine and cheese soiree, mother would never go. I always thought it was because of the cheese. But then I heard that during Sweet Apple Acre Cider Season, mother would only ever drink regular cider. Even if she worked all day to help the farm, and everypony else was having one of the much harder to come by hard ciders, she would stick to the regular cider.

“At Pinkie’s rave’s, mother would always ask if the punch was spiked. If it was, she’d just stick to water. There is a pattern. It’s a pattern as clear as the one that lead Pinkie to discovering the great Rainbow Dash Pie Conspiracy. My mother… doesn’t drink. And I don’t care. If she has her reasons, she has her reasons, but I’ve never been able to have that decision for myself. So yes, mother, please do tell. Why are you so opposed to this?”

Once more, the bar was only filled with the sound of the jukebox. It played the melody for a bit longer, the recording of the piano tinkling out a few final notes before the song itself ended. Then… true silence. The juke box’s internal mechanisms didn’t even seem to make nose as it shuffled away the record it had been playing. Just… silence.

“You know, you asked around Ponyville… and around Ponyville, yes, I’ve been very strict with myself. But right after I took over for Equestria, Pinkie threw a retirement party for Celestia and Luna. It was a whole day event. You probably remember it, Nyx. The whole town of Ponyville got swept up in it, but once the sun had set and younger ponies had been shuffled off to sleep… Pinkie and Applejack rolled out Sweet Apple Acre Hard Cider.

Twilight still looked at the non-alcoholic menu, as if it might hold a secret escape for her from the conversation. “I’d never been much of a drinker before that, but… I wasn’t so abstinent either. I had a few drinks, but Celestia and Luna… they were drinking like I had never seen them. They just cut loose. They just… partied like the world was ending, like they had no work the next day… because for the first time, they didn’t.

“And they got drunk. They got so drunk, and then Celestia just started talking. She began telling stories about other times she had gotten drunk and just… made such horrible mistakes. How she teleported a griffon ambassador and he wasn’t seen for two weeks. Or how a few drunk comments got Queen Novo mad at Celestia, which lead to weakened ties with the Hippogriffs, which lead to them not thinking to call Equestria for help when the Storm King attacked.

“And then Luna started telling stories and made it worse. She told stories of a thousand years ago, how she had started and ended wars when drunk. How she won negotiations with the Yaks by drinking some past prince under the table. Maybe some of the stories were exaggerated, but… I’m the ruler of Equestria now. Yes, I have my friends for support, and they’ve done so much. But I’m the alicorn that everyone is looking to, and… I just don’t feel like I can let myself be in a position where I can’t trust my own judgement.

“I don’t feel like I can trust myself not to make a mistake if I went too far.”

"Oh, Twilight," Sunset sighed, patting the alicorn's hoof with her hand. "I saw my Celestia drink on plenty of occasions… both the Princess and the Principal, and they restrained themselves… it all boils down to the pony. You're not them."

When Sunset glanced out of the corner of her eye, she noticed that Nyx’s posture relaxed. No longer was she definitely trying to look away from Twilight, even if it meant she had to stare in the direction of the bathroom. Now she was sitting normally again, taking another sip from the wine glass. It was half empty at this point.

“You know, I’m not you either, mom. You’ve at least tried drinking. I can respect that you don’t want to do it anymore, but… this should be my decision, shouldn’t it? And I can’t make an informed decision without trying it for myself, can I?”

Twilight finally looked away from the non-alcoholic menu and focused on Nyx. “I… I know it should be your choice. I just… you grew up to fast, Nyx. Sure, I joke about not having to change any diapers, but… still… you grew up too darn fast. And… I just got worried I’d hear about some story about something you had done while drunk like I did from Celestia and Luna.”

"You girls might not want to hear the bartender's opinion, but as someone who's a friend in other dimensions, I can tell you that you're not the first parent to face those fears, Twilight." Sunset said, turning to pick up ingredients to fix up something non-alcoholic. Her practiced hands fetched the appropriate glass, and began grabbing the other ingredients. She hardly had to even look where she was reaching. She knew the back of the bar like the back of her hand.

"I think Nyx here might be curious about it, but even before you arrived she was very careful about what she wanted to try. She might find herself in situations where it's appropriate and expected to have something to drink, and having some expectations of what she'll experience assuaged can help?" She shrugged. "I did much worse than she did my first time, and I'm not getting drunk constantly despite the myriad bottles behind me."

“It seems that you’re just as practically minded as the Sunset Shimmer I know,” Twilight sighed as her ears drooped and she slouched in her seat. “I’ll admit, I can think of at least one time where I might have offended an important diplomatic guest by turning down their offer. Thankfully Applejack was there to help smooth things over.”

"Maybe, but it's still not my place to tell you what to do about your daughter in the end…" Sunset glanced at Nyx. "But this is also why I didn't want to hide you… I know you feel she's pushing you into a corner, but I think she sometimes just needs a friendly ear or two to chill." She dropped a couple of berries into a glass, followed by lime, some mint leaves and syrup, crushing the contents with the back of a spoon against the ice inside, then filled the glass with a sparkling liquid of some kind. "And speaking of chill… try this. It's my Pan Galactic Sparkle Blaster," she slid it across the bar. "No alcohol. It'll make you feel like you were hit in the taste-buds with berries wrapped in a lemon twist."

“Thank you,” Twilight said, taking the drinking in her magic and lifting it to her mouth for a quick sip. The smile on her face broadened, a sure sign of a well made drinking being enjoyed.

“You know… it feels like forever since we’ve had a talk like this, mom. You’ve been busy, and I can’t say my schedule hasn’t been jam packed either. You trust me with a lot of things. You let me help where I can… guess that’s why it was so frustrating you didn’t trust me in regards to this one particular subject.

“But… right now, this is nice. Good music, good decour, a good drink, and most importantly, good company. And maybe it’s the drink talking, but I do feel like a lot of worries have been lifted off my shoulders.”

Twilight nodded as she took a sip from her virgin mojito. “Yeah, this is almost as good as curling up in my favorite fiction-story chair in the library with a good book: almost.”

Sunset smirked, crossing her arms. "That's just because you didn't bring it. I have tables where people can have a nice little conversation, or a nice little read. Plus, it's only a matter of time before we end up with visitors from other worlds at the same time. Now, won't that be a good time to have a drink at my bar?"

Nyx giggled a little. “You could meet Commander Twilight Sparkle. She’s a real fan of this place. That and I know you have an interest in the concept of branching realities. Or do I need to remind you we still have that little chalkboard Starlight made, the one that interacts with the map table.”

“Yes, that is a fascinating thing that would be a shame to destroy, but that is a very passive means of viewing only theoretical realities. But imagine being able to meet actual parallel versions of myself and talk with them. We could compare personal experiences and book recommendations. Or even… exchange books across realities. Is that allowed? Oh, please tell me that is allowed.”

Sunset pursed her lips. "It's… complicated, but I think it is, since this bar is a neutral territory…" she glanced at the pair. "Long story. I'd have to check. I don't want my license revoked, you know? But at least talking with other versions of you is allowed." She cleared her throat. "In any case, I'll let you know when I find out. And with nothing stopping you from having a drink with somepony other than Commander Sparkle, I think it might be a fun little experiment for you." She smirked. "And I think many a Twilight Sparkle would like to meet Nyx."

“And even if we’re the only two in here, mom… maybe that wouldn’t be so bad. A chance for us to literally escape the world and just relax. After all, you can sit and make sure I don’t go too far, if you’re still uncomfortable with the idea of me drinking.” Nyx brought the wine glass to her lips, sipping down the last gulp before turning the glass to the bar. “That was delicious, Sunset, thank you.”

"You're welcome." Sunset nodded. "And believe me you two, if you need a break… this place is always available. And time doesn't pass the same in here as it does out there. You can walk out at basically the same time you walked in."

“I think I feel a lot better about the drinking subject. I still don’t think I’m ready to get back ito it, but… this virgin mojito is pretty good. There is, however, just one more thing I want to ask.” Twilight locked her eyes on Sunset. “Are you telling me this place is multidimensional and is temporaly desynchronous? Because those two kinds of magic are notably not compatible and…”

With that Twilight began an impromptu lecture into what she knew of theoretical multiverse magic, rattling on and on about how the bar’s magic didn’t sound theoretically possible. All the while Sunset and Nyx did their best to humor Twilight’s ramblings. Sunset refreshed Twilight’s mojito whenever it went dry, and poured Nyx and herself one more glass of the elven bloodwine.

Tonight, Sunset’s guests were ready to stay for a while.

Sunset hummed to herself as she placed the latest framed picture on the wall, depicting her sitting between Twilight and Nyx, the pair with slightly different expressions. Nyx had an almost self-satisfied smugness to her, although her smile was genuine, while Twilight's lips were a bit twisted in the smile—a result of Sunset whispering in her ear that her temporal-dynamics as they related to the multiverse were very interesting, but didn't account for pocket-dimension distortions into reality manipulation just as they were about to take the picture and head home.

She wondered how many of her friends, or even versions of herself already had kids. Certainly Nyx was a very unique circumstance, but, would the others be so averse to having their younger family members have a drink? Was it even responsible to sort of butt in and throw her two cents?

She sighed, sitting down on one of the chairs and studying the pictures so far. Alternia, Sunset and Gilda, Cheval… so many different people, even though they had mostly started the same or lived similar lives. Maybe one day she'd learn enough to answer her own doubts and questions about her responsibility and place in the multiverse.

Cowboy Rarity had struck a chord within her. She wasn't going to other worlds and fixing things directly, like the League of Sweeties, but it certainly helped to clear the minds and hearts of her guests. She glanced at the bar, then at the smiling faces of her guests (except for that specific Gilda and Twilight pair) and sighed with a small smile.

It was worth it.

End Chapter

Author's Note:

Co-written with the mostly unknown author Pen Stroke, and taking place in the mostly unknown world of a relatively unheard of story: Past Sins

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!