• Published 23rd Jun 2019
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Sunset's Isekai - Wanderer D



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

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All You Need Is Love (The Third Wheel Series - Post Fic)

Sunset's Isekai
By Wanderer D
Chapter 4: All You Need Is Love

Sunset Shimmer scrolled down the pad, considering whether she should add that box of Bendërbrau to her order. Sure, it wasn't anything special when it came to taste, but you didn't get more micro-brewery than that…and it seemed less trippy than her second choice, Spice beer.

She tapped her chin and hummed. Which one to order?

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the silver bell at the door, announcing the arrival of a new patron. Well, the order could wait. It wasn't like she needed to restock that quickly anyway.

"Well. This is certainly not what I expected." The voice… was definitely not familiar. It sounded young, but refined, like some of the dignitaries that Celestia would meet occasionally in court.

Sunset watched with some interest as the creature walked in. It was pony-like, but with a black carapace and bright blue mane. The long horn on its forehead was sharp and pointy, with several holes in it, similar to the ones on its hooves.

Sunset had never seen a changeling, but she had heard Twilight talk about Queen Chrysalis, and she had to wonder if this was the infamous Queen. Her hand stayed under the bar as the creature studied the bar, her fingers hovering over the emergency button that would immediately displace any creature in the bar other than her back to their world.

The changeling stopped once she was inside and turned to study Sunset, with only a slight widening of her eyes disguising her own surprise as she took in everything, from her hair to her attire, to their size comparison. "Pardon my curiosity, but I don't recall seeing this establishment before. Are you new?"

"What? No." Sunset straightened out. "I'm a human. Sunset Shimmer, who are you?"

The changeling tilted her head, still studying her. "That name sounds familiar… I think Twilight Sparkle mentioned it at some point. Are you named after one of her friends? Or maybe you're one of the new elements?"

"Uh… no." Sunset shook her head before remembering that this was a potential client. "I'm very sorry, I just didn't anticipate a changeling guest, which I admit is my own fault. I'm a friend of Twilight Sparkle, yes. How do you know her?"

The changeling's eyes narrowed a little. "I am Queen Cheval, daughter of Princess Cadance and Shining Armor. I'm Twilight's niece. And forgive my bluntness, but how would you not anticipate a changeling guest when your bar is in the middle of the Ponyville Hive?"

Sunset cringed, and gave Cheval a small smile. "Sorry your majesty, this bar is really not there. The door did appear for you, however, so you must need a break."

Cheval took a slow, considering look around the bar, seeing the pictures on the wall. They were familiar to her, and yet not. Were it not for the manes on the creatures, she would have never recognized Pinkie Pie, Rarity and the other original Elements of Harmony as they stood—being completely different species—next to Sunset Shimmer in the photos. Curiously, there was another picture of her host, but injured in some manner, sitting in a wheelchair, with another human she did not recognize behind her, the pair holding hands with familiar intimacy. "Were you wounded at some point?"

Sunset chuckled. "Well, that's not me. Or... it is, just not... me-me." She blinked. "Explaining this is going to be a lot more difficult than I anticipated."

"I see." Cheval walked over to the bar and took a seat. "If we entertain the idea that you are indeed an otherworldly bartender, then I can assume you have no direct reason to fear me?”

Sunset's eyes widened as she understood the underlying message. "Oh. I'm very sorry, I didn't intend to come across like that… I haven't met any changelings before, and all I have to go with is what Twilight—my Twilight, that is—had to say about Queen Chrysalis."

Cheval nodded. "If that is all you had to go with, it is no wonder that you would be wary." She shook her head. "For too long we were seen as monsters, and ponies had good reason to think so: we would steal their most precious thoughts, memories, and feelings and feed off of them like leeches. Indiscriminate and voracious… never giving anything back." She shook her head. "Times have changed, but many still see us that way. Including us."

"True, but it still is a bad habit that I need to break, especially now that I'm the owner of this bar."

Cheval waved her hoof. "All is forgiven. I can't get drunk, however, so I am unsure as to how much this can help me relax."

Sunset shrugged. "I can always listen. I've never met a Changeling Queen before, why don't you tell me about yourself? What's going on in your life?"

The changeling snorted. "You really are not from around here. Very well," she levitated a cocktail list and scanned it quickly. "I'll have a Piña Colada," she said, laying the list down and depositing two golden bits on the counter.

"Coming right up!" Sunset said, fishing out the ingredients.

"So you are wondering what it's like to be a changeling queen," Cheval mused as she watched Sunset start mixing. "In a word: lonely."

Sunset pressed her lips together as she blended the cocktail. "I imagine there's a lot to being a queen that distances you from the subjects? Celestia was the same way—"

Cheval laughed. "Not at all, I mean lonely because it's hard to go out on a date!"

Sunset snorted and shook her head, pulling out the glass to pour out the Piña Colada, decorating it with slices of pineapple and cherries on the rim. She set it down with a straw in front of Cheval, who took an appreciative look at it before taking a sip.

"So, pardon my forwardness," Sunset said, once Cheval gave a hum of approval, "but you look like you could have any stallion around just by giving them the right look."

"Well, yes, but being physically attractive doesn't compensate for being a single mom," Cheval said. "Plus, I am royalty. And rich. And I can change into anything they desire. They're all for it if you flick your tail, but when you mention the fifty thousand children… it tends to chill any relationship fairly quickly."

"They run away," Sunset said.

"The honest ones do," Cheval said, "But they're not the worst. The worse ones are the ones that stick for a while, and then they think they have a right to your kids."

"I… can't say I’ve experienced that."

"Trust me, it's a pain." Cheval levitated her drink. "To staying single!" she toasted, raising an eyebrow at Sunset, who shook her head with a smile, pulled out a bit from her pocket and put it on top of Cheval's payment before she poured herself a small shot of tequila, and toasted along.

"May it never happen to me," she coughed after they had drank. "The other Sunset seemed pretty happy with Gilda."

"Dating always goes better for others, especially if they are young and mostly careless," Cheval said disdainfully. "The grass is always greener and all that. When you have some sort of responsibility, however, it's either too much for them to deal with, or you being responsible turns into you ignoring them. Because it's always about them. That's when you know it's toxic."

"Right…" Sunset sighed. "It seems like relationships are really a coin-toss."

Cheval shrugged. "I'm immortal. I have time to find the right stallion over and over."

Sunset shook her head, putting away her shot glass and cleaning the surface of the bar. "But even if they're not perfect, it can't be that bad, right?"

Cheval took a sip of the drink, seeming to enjoy the fruity flavor despite her earlier claim of not being able to get drunk. "I suppose not, for most. A changeling, however, can feel if your love for them increases or decreases over time, and it is… difficult, sometimes, if your feelings for them were genuine to know it's happening."

She sighed.

"Perhaps, it is as simple as accepting that monsters will never find true happiness." Cheval gave a little shrug. "But I have been known to make mistakes."

Sunset pursed her lips. "You know, considering that this whole thing started with Rarity having romantic issues, I shouldn't be surprised that this seems to be a common trend across the multiverse."

Cheval smirked. "I might not indulge in frequent visits to bars, but isn't that part of the job description?"

Sunset crossed her arms. "I'm fairly certain that the actual job description limits itself to basic customer service."

Cheval chuckled, finishing off her Piña Colada. "This has been a nice short break, Sunset Shimmer, but I should probably head back to my duties."

"Yeah…" Sunset slid out a silver card and gave it to Cheval. "Hey… I'm sorry I was a bit nervous when I first saw you. But for the record, if you ever need some space and someone to talk to, my bar will always be open. You should be able to find a door here if you have that card on you."

Cheval carefully took the card, then smiled. "Well, a Queen can hardly accept a gift without giving something in return."

Before Sunset's amazed eyes, Cheval was enveloped in green flames, and out of them emerged...

"Gilda?"

"Come here, honey" the rough-looking, white-haired girl said—right voice, wrong attitude—leaning over the bar. Before Sunset knew what was happening, she was being kissed. The pair remained like that for a moment, before Gilda leaned back, sensually taking her seat.

"I—"

"Love can grow anywhere, Sunset Shimmer," Gilda said, and a second later she was staring at Rarity. "But it appears that the tanned girl wasn't what you were looking for. Is this more appealing?"

"I—"

Rarity laughed before more flames brought back Cheval, who smiled wryly at her. "I think you will have plenty of time to discover who you love, but…" A thought seemed to come to her. "Do you have a glass container?"

"I—uh-huh."

Cheval accepted the offered glass jar and leaned over and hork out a golden-brown slime—it looked almost like honey—that filled the jar to the top. It slowly seemed to lose its liquid properties and harden, becoming some sort of amber, glowing softly with an inner light.

"I uh…" the scene seemed to help Sunset get her senses back. "Wait. What is that? Did you just throw up in my bar?"

"Dealing with that is part of the job description, I'm sure," Cheval said, "but it is not that. This is a special changeling byproduct. Some spies used to use it to subtly reveal if their potential victims would provide sustenance with true love."

"Oh… wow…" Sunset didn't quite pick it up, but she was fascinated. "How does it work?"

"If there is love, it glows," Cheval said. "That simple. The stronger the love the stronger the glow."

"Right." Sunset looked at the jar glass suspiciously. "It's glowing right now."

Cheval's smile didn't fade as she winked and got off her seat, heading over to the door, swaying invitingly. She stopped and looked over her shoulder. "There's always the possibility for love between two creatures that have some things in common. Whether it becomes something else…" She bowed a little. "Well, I think we have all the time in the multiverse to find out. Until next time, Sunset Shimmer."

Author's Note:

Third Wheel Series Thanks, GapJaxie for the story and allowing me to play around a bit with Cheval!

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