• 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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Belle Hopping (League of Sweetie Belles - Ongoing)

Sunset's Isekai
By Wanderer D
& GMBlackjack
Chapter 9

Cinder “Sweetie” Belle laid back on the plush couch in Swip’s lounge. Currently, the various screens lining the room all displayed the ‘outside’ of the interdimensional pocket universe they were traveling through: a strange rippling pattern of dark orange that resembled nebulas even though the pocket dimension wasn't anywhere near large enough to hold a star—much less a cloud of interstellar gas.

She considered turning on one of the gaming consoles Swip had built into her, but she had just finished several hours of that with Blink. Truthfully, she should be tired and heading to bed right now, but instead she was just bored. Bored, bored, bored…

“You look bored,” Swip said, calling from the speakers all around the room.

“I am,” Cinder groaned, rubbing her horn with her hoof. “When are we going out again?”

“Burgerbelle’s team hasn’t returned yet, so… later.”

Cinder hopped off the couch and stretched her legs, clacking her hooves on the ground. “Later… right! Think you could maybe do some time shenanigans…?”

“No,” the AI deadpanned.

“Awww…” Cinder sluggishly trotted out of the lounge and into the bridge. Suzie was at her console, tapping buttons furiously.

She was playing Tetris. Or something that looked a lot like Tetris, it seemed a little too flashy to be something that simple, however.

“Hey, Suzie!”

The captain jumped at Cinder’s chipper greeting, losing her focus and causing the entire block-shaped puzzle to explode. Game over.

“Bored too, huh?”

Suzie clutched her chest, eyes wide. “I… Not anymore…” She breathed heavily.

Cinder shrugged. “Want to do something?”

“Just let me… catch my breath, then of course…”

Swip let out a virtual cough. “Hey. You two.”

Suzie looked up. “What is it?”

“I don’t mean to alarm you, but there’s suddenly a door in my corridor that didn’t exist a second ago.”

Suzie blinked. “What?”

“Actually, scratch that, I do mean to alarm you. Do you have any idea how freaky it is to suddenly have a door appear inside your body? No? That’s right, you aren’t a ship. You sometimes don’t even notice when you get a papercut.”

“Hey, Swip, calm down,” Cinder encouraged.

“I’ll calm down when I figure out what’s behind that door. Because, hey hey, I can’t see through it! Shocker!”

“We’ll check it out,” Suzie said, adjusting her uniform. “Anything you can tell us about it?”

“It’s got a neon sign on it that looks like it belongs on a cheap bar.”

“Ah,” Suzie said as they passed through the lounge and entered the hall. Sure enough, embedded between two doors that led to the Sweeties’ quarters was a wooden door with a neon sign hanging over it.

Sunset’s Isekai.

There was what Cinder assumed was a martini or something over the words. “You weren't kidding.”

“I used to have a screen on that wall,” Swip lamented. “A beautiful screen…”

“You have one on every wall,” Suzie said, hand poised to grab her gun.

“...Let’s try going in peacefully first, maybe?” Cinder suggested.

Suzie nodded. “Just being cautious.” She reached her other hand to the door and opened it.

Two people walked into Sunset’s Isekai. A unicorn and a human.

Sunset blinked. That’s a first.

To boot, they were both obviously different versions of Sweetie Belle. The unicorn was a young mare, perhaps not quite an adult, with the standard crusader shield cutie mark and bright orange eyes. The woman was middle-aged with excessively puffy hair—shockingly uncurled. She wore a simple gray uniform with an orange-gold ‘u’ symbol on the chest, and had what Sunset was pretty sure was a weapon hooked to her hip.

The human’s tense hands relaxed when she saw Sunset. “Ah, a Sunset.”

“...In a bar? On Swip?” The unicorn asked, confused.

“Yep. Possibly an interdimensional jumper of some sort… Probably nothing to worry about as long as we keep the doors open and Swip has a lock on us.”

A digitized, yet feminine voice came from the world outside. “Famous last words… just find out what she’s doing in my hall.”

Cinder walked up to the bar and sat on the stool. “Hi! I’m Cinder. Are you just Sunset, or do you have another name?”

"Uh," Sunset cleared her throat. "Yes. I'm just Sunset Shimmer at this time. Officially. As in, when not in wizard robes an—you know, I think this might be the first time I might not need to clarify the multiverse thing. Anyway, to answer… Swip's question, my bar just hops to where people or creatures need a drink. No additional agendas included."

“Need a drink…” Cinder scratched her chin. “I don’t think I’m in need o—”

“You were complaining about how bored you were!” Swip shouted from the hall.

“If you think drinks are guaranteed to cure boredom I think you need to re-examine your processors,” Cinder retorted.

"Girls, girls," Sunset spoke up, motioning with her hands to settle down. "Swip is right in a way, I don't literally mean that you need a drink to get rid of boredom, it's a metaphor for people that need a break; just the right type of different setting to talk, possibly have fun, and maybe unload their worries with a willing ear. No alcohol required, even though I clearly have an excess of it."

Suzie placed a finger on the bar. “I’ll take whatever you got that’ll give me a buzz without making me hopelessly drunk.” She sagged into a seat, letting her arms flop to her side. “I think I’m the one who needs to be here…”

“Being the captain is stressful work,” Cinder supposed.

"Sure," Sunset shrugged, "I've been working on a few of those. I think you should be fine as long as you don't ask for a chaser that might make it worse..." she fished out a menu and passed it over to Cinder. "Those are our non-alcoholic drinks, if you want to take a look."

She turned around and headed over to her bottles, choosing a couple of golden-liquid containers before getting to work on Suzie's cocktail.

“Guess I am underage here… seems I’m pretty borderline,” Cinder commented. “...Do we even have a drinking age? Oh, and I’ll have this cherry thing. I like cherries.”

Suzie shrugged. “It’s up to individual member universes to decide their drinking age. Depends on the local culture, tendency for abuse, things like that.”

Sunset shrugged. "You just seemed a bit on the young side from my Equestrian perspective, but if you're legal here and your captain says it's cool…" She turned around, giving Suzie an old fashioned glass with a large, transparent ball of ice inside, the liquid was a deep amber color, and smelled slightly of oranges and tangerine, with light touches of bitters.

“She can if she wants,” Suzie said. “We adhere by the local rules. But something tells me she won’t.”

Cinder nodded. “I want this cherry stuff. Cherry. Stuff. It has cherries in it!”

“She probably has alcoholic cherry things!” Swip called.

“Yep. And I’m going to pass on it. Because… reasons, I guess.”

Suzie leaned in to Sunset. “Blink gave her something about a week ago. She threw it up an hour later and is currently pretending the smell of alcohol doesn’t make her want to puke.”

"Ah," Sunset nodded sagely. "I understand. No worries, though, the cherry drink is basically the same taste profile with—or without—the alcohol. It'll be good." She busied herself by gathering the ingredients, casting glances at her guests. "So. I'm curious, how is it that a pair of Sweetie Belles are so familiar with the multiverse, and apparently have a ship that can jump around it?"

“I’m a Sweetie Belle too!” Swip called.

Cinder smirked. “Yep! All of us on Swip are. Even Celia, though she’s also part Rarity…” Cinder paused, thinking for the moment. “We are one of the main expedition teams of the League of Sweetie Belles, a multiversal organization that does a lot of stuff. Suzie and the rest of the crew? We explore. Most of the Sweeties manage a lot of local multiversal shenanigans at Celestia City, and…” She rubbed the back of her head. “Uh, yeah. Basically, it’s our job! I’m the new kid.”

"Sorry!" Sunset called out to Swip, sliding Cinder her own drink. "That's pretty cool though!" She turned her attention to the pair in front of her. "Alright, I have to admit this is the first I've heard of you guys. Then again, the multiverse is… well. The multiverse. I'm sort of surprised to find a crew of only you..." She trailed off. "Yous? Anyway, doesn't it get a bit confusing? I get the names are different but, I dunno. I can imagine having issues with more than a couple of Sunsets in the same place. It almost gave Gilda an aneurysm to see two of us in the same place." She tapped her chin. "Although she might have been thinking about other things."

Cinder picked up on the connotation and rolled her eyes, but didn’t comment on it. “It really does help to change the name. Seriously, you should consider it. But we also work on getting a defining feature.” Cinder pointed at her orange eyes. “See? These mark me different visually. Suzie styles her hair differently. And Swip… well is a spaceship.”

“It’s definitely not for everyone,” Suzie said. “There are enough universes and versions of everyone in the Equis Cluster to make all sorts of Self Societies. There are only four big ones I know of. The League of Sweetie Belles and the Pinkie Emporium are both part of our nation, Merodi Universalis. The Sparkle Census and Infinite Carousel are distinct entities.”

"Huh," Sunset said, "I have yet to find another Sunset bartender, but I'll definitely try to come up with a good name." She leaned across the counter. "And these societies, are they are at odds with each other? Anything I should be watching out for? Any borg tendencies? I'm not fond of borgs."

“Borg?” Cinder cocked her head.

“I DO NOT WANT TO RELIVE THAT DAY!” Swip shouted. “We do not speak of the Borg.”

“Okay…” Cinder shivered. “Anyway, uh, I think most everyone’s at peace…?”

Suzie nodded. “Tentative, in a few cases. I won’t bore you with large-scale multiverse politics since your bar is clearly Equis Cluster local, given the pictures back there. Nothing too far out of the way. But dangers… you’ll want to watch for the Infinite Carousel and Eldritch Embodiment.”

"The Eldritch Embodiment sounds like something Nyarlathotep whispered that one time…" Sunset muttered. She smiled. "But! While it sounds squishy and mind-boggling, it also doesn't sound terribly appealing. The Carousel thing sounds like a Rarity conglomerate."

“She spoke to Nyar and lived…” Suzie muttered under her breath, clearly not sure what to make of that. “Must have been in an amused mood that day…” She shook her head. “But yeah, the Carousel is a Rarity conglomerate. They aren’t evil, but they are… how do I put this?”

“Celia called them Capitalism Incarnate,” Cinder offered.

“Ah. Yes. They will try to buy everything they can out. Despite inter-universal businesses being outlawed in Merodi space they just keep trying…” Suzie smirked. “Luckily they usually aren’t my problem. Just don’t let them convince you they’re giving you a good deal.”

Sunset's smile was frozen. "Right. Ah well, uh… I don't think I've met any yet. But it did sound oddly familiar…" she frowned. "Hm."

“Really, though, you should be fine as long as you don’t anger any dark gods, interfere with their magic, and look out for large quantities of Rarities talking about the ‘generosity of big business’.”

"So far I haven't been responsible or even really integral to any major disasters that might have befallen ancient civilization," Sunset stated. "And this bar is neutral ground as far as I'm concerned, so I have no intention of angering any gods, dark or otherwise."

Suzie nodded. “Hey Swip! Send these coordinates back to the Relations Division, declare it neutral territory. Maybe the Carousel will listen to the treaties for once.”

“Done!” Swip chirped.

"If not, I have methods of getting rid of unwanted guests," Sunset said, shrugging. "This place shouldn't open its doors to people with malicious intent either… although oblivious jackassery does seem to be able to bypass the locks through sheer stupidity."

“He who stands…” Suzie chuckled. “You probably don’t have anything to worry about. The people with the power to bash down these doors by force probably wouldn’t have a reason too.”

“It is just a bar,” Cinder admitted. “A nice one, yeah! But… I mean, what’s really here for someone to take?”

Sunset blinked, then motioned with her thumb over her shoulder at the room behind her. "You mean besides the contained essence of three elder gods that died during an apocalypse?"

Suzie stared at her in shock and fear.

“She’s joking,” Cinder said with a giggle.

"Always good to have a sense of humor." Sunset chuckled. "Relax, Captain, that's just Rarity's workshop."

“You work here with your Rarity?” Cinder asked. She gasped before Sunset could answer. “Do you have your Sweetie here too!?”

"Uh… not exactly, and no." Sunset served a bit more cocktail. "It's not my world's Rarity. Either of them. She's a Rarity from another universe that was visiting mine when we met. And she's here occasionally, when she's not promoting the place or something." Sunset hummed. "I'm not exactly sure how you would promote a place that literally doesn't show up unless it's the exact set of circumstances, but well… Rarity. She's also currently engaged in a multiversal contest for bartender clothes designs with a gunslinger." She raised her hand to stop them from speaking. "I know. And it is as cool as you think. Anyway, she has a workshop/office back there that she uses occasionally. No Sweeties here so far, though."

“Oh,” Cinder tried to hide her disappointment. “Well, we always like meeting new Sweeties. Direct them our way, maybe?”

Suzie chuckled. “Quite the little recruiter, huh?”

“Hey!” Swip called. “Guess what I found! Deep multiversal Internet search. There was a Celestia City tabloid that promoted this place! Gave no address, had a bunch of mysterious word puzzles associated with it… not sure what she was hoping to accomplish…?”

"Probably will have to ask her directly, I'm afraid," Sunset said. "Ah well. So you said you're on missions right now? Anything interesting happening in the multiverse that might give me pause?" She blinked. "I mean. Alright, so there's probably always something happening, but I mean something that directly invites your attention to it?"

“We just found the ancient universe-machine responsible for most of the universes in the Equis Cluster,” Cinder said nonchalantly. “Probably responsible for all of us, one way or another.”

“You’d be surprised how hard things like that are to find,” Suzie muttered. “And how much chaos happens when you do.”

"That sounds like a complicated thing to handle, Suzie," Sunset said, patting the older woman's hand with her own. "But if Cinder here is any sign, I think you're leading your friends well."

Suzie smiled. “It’s good to hear that from someone who’s not a biased friend.”

“Hey, Nausicaa doesn’t know what she’s talking about,” Cinder huffed. “You’re great!”

Suzie nodded slowly, taking a small drink. “Yeah… by the way, this is excellent.”

“I can replicate it as many times as you want if you bring it out here!” Swip called. “Or I can give you any of a wide selection of exotic multiversal brews…”

Sunset raised an eyebrow. "Well, I can't say I can do that. I have to get everything from the source. And believe me, Dwarves in non-pony universes are not as forthcoming with their products as you might want to believe. Even if I have a sealed scroll from three of their kings. And some dude named Illuvatar. But that was Rarity's and it only worked once." She cleared her throat. "Anyway, I wish I could prepare something for you, Swip, you sound like you also need a drink."

Swip fell silent. “...I can get something for Rachel. For later. When she visits, at least. She likes coconuts.”

Sunset pondered. "Uh… is she legal to drink? Because I don't make virgin Pina Coladas… for insurance reasons."

Suzie smiled warmly. “Rachel’s a full grown human woman. Swip’s adoptive sister, you could say.”

"Right then! In that case, that's an option, but it might not hold well until her visit unless you have a magical stasis field to keep it fresh? Other than that, I have some coconut based alcohol, and a couple of different cocktails I can pre-mix and let you finish for her."

“Thanks,” Swip said. “...Ah, you might want to hurry, looks like Burgerbelle’s back.”

“Already?” Suzie asked.

“She was gone long enough for you to be bored, this wasn’t a short outing.”

“Hmm. Guess I was just beginning to really enjoy myself…”

"Right, Burgerbelle…" She started gathering ingredients and pouring them into a mixer. "Does she sell burgers? Did she work at Burger Princess?"

“Bradburger,” Suzie answered. “Don’t ask. And if she comes in, still don’t ask, it’ll save you several brain cells.”

"Right." Sunset nodded slowly as she shook the container, then poured the contents into a glass jar and screwed it shut. "For Swip," she said, sliding it over to Suzie.

Cinder downed the last of her cherry drink. “Well, guess we need to get going then? Catch up on her mission, that sort of thing?”

Suzie nodded. “But first…” She pulled a brochure and a disc-shaped device out of her pocket. “Basic multiversal introduction pamphlet and a communication device, if you have any need. Should work anywhere in the Equis Cluster barring unusual circumstances.”

Sunset smirked, pulling out a silver card and giving it to Suzie. "Open invite, I'll know where to find you if you need it. Also, before you leave, I'll need a pic with you girls to put on the wall. And Swip if we can get her included."

“A picture?” Cinder grinned. “Ooh, that’s great, here, I can display Swip’s avatar on a tablet a—”

A human charged in through the doors—except she was completely two-dimensional and moved like she was on some sort of poorly-executed puppet animation. She was a Sweetie, yes, and had she not looked like something that belonged on the pages of a cheesy children's book she might have been twelve. She slammed her hands on the bar and spoke with a voice that belonged on a text-to-speech device. “Take me to your leader.” After a pause, she added. “Your leader is ice cream.”

Sunset's eyes went wide. "There is no spoon."

“I am being presented to spoonedly.”

"Unfortunately the eagle has left the underwater carrier."

“Listen, pretty lady, I need a stiff drink.”

"You could have just said that from the beginning," Sunset replied, "I thought you'd just been hanging around a drunk Krogan."

Burgerbelle had somehow managed to produce a glass of beer and slid it over to Sunset, grinning. “And here it is. Drink up, you earned it!” She saluted, put on a pair of pixelated sunglasses, and cartwheeled out the door. She made obnoxious cat sounds every time she touched something.

Sunset looked at the glass of beer in silence for a moment. "Okay. That happened."

“That’s a good way to describe her,” Suzie chuckled. “Now, about that picture…”

“Already on it, dears,” a tall pony with a crystal in her forehead instead of a horn said—she looked like a mixture of Sweetie and Rarity. She was currently dragging Burgerbelle back in with her magic, a digital tablet clutched tightly in the Flat’s arms. “Now let’s get this taken before the rest of the crew decides they want in on it, hmm?”

Suzie, Cinder, Burgerbelle, and Celia stood in Swip’s primary corridor.

The wall was back to normal. Even the screen was back, proudly displaying Swip’s avatar - a young human with darker skin that didn’t seem to match any nationality whatsoever. “And now I’ll be able to replicate amazing coconut POWER for Rachel every time.” She smirked. “I got her.”

“You could have done that before,” Celia pointed out.

“But I couldn't have said it was a recipe from an interdimensional bar!”

Cinder rolled her eyes and giggled. “I’m sure she’ll love it.”

“You bet she will!”

Suzie stretched. “Well, that was a nice break. But I do need to hear your report, Burgerbelle.”

“Nanomachines, son,” Burgerbelle said.

Suzie facepalmed.

“I’m serious. We were in that universe. I even heard the line! I spat it back at him. It was great.

“...How much collateral damage are we talking?”

Burgerbelle shrugged with a ‘boing!’ sound effect.

Suzie glanced to Celia.

“I wasn't on the team.”

“You can translate.”

“Well, yes, I suppose I can…”

Suzie, Celia, and Burgerbelle walked off, leaving Cinder alone in the corridor. She put a hoof on the wall where the door used to be.

“I like her,” Cinder decided.

“...Are you talking to me?” Swip asked.

Cinder shrugged. “Just… thinking aloud. Hope she gets to have a lot of adventures in there. ...Who even is Nyar?”

“One of the highest ranking eldritch deities within the entire Eldritch Embodiment. Has a tendency rather unlike his kind to interact with mortals. Usually… destructively.”

“...Oh.” Cinder blinked. “I hope I never meet him.” She frowned. “Aaaaaand I’ve doomed myself.”

“Probably.”

Cinder rolled her eyes. “Oh well. Time to listen to what Burger got up to. I’m sure it’ll be great!” She scampered off.

Sunset hung the image on her wall. Five Sweeties—Suzie, Cinder, Burgerbelle, that gem-pony Celia she didn’t get to talk that much too, and Swip. Suzie was clearly in charge, taking the center of the image up, an almost motherly arm on Cinder. Celia and Burgerbelle stood to the side, like deputies of some kind, though Burgerbelle was holding a golden scepter with a Twilight head…? Swip was digitally represented on a tablet in Cinder’s hooves, smiling and waving.

She frowned. Swip was wearing a copy of her outfit. How hadn’t she noticed that earlier?

As she proceeded to clean the glasses and equipment, she pondered on what she had learned today. It hadn't been a deep and philosophical moment, but it did put a lot of things into perspective, possible dangers and equally exciting possibilities. She had known a bit about the multiverse, and learned more from Rarity, but the Sweeties had given her a new outlook on it, things that she just hadn't given herself time to think about.

Multiverse adventurers and explorers were now part of her reality. Multiversal Governmental Entities and Conglomerates existed out there. The fact that she had just met representatives of one showed just how big this whole thing was.

She chuckled and shook her head. There was never a dull moment in her bar. She finally came to sit at the bar and grabbed hold of the beer Burgerbelle had left for her. It was still cold enough, so she gave it a sip.

She smirked. It was pretty good. She enjoyed the quiet, even as the many thoughts and revelations and theories she had formulated played about in her mind, slowly sipping her beer, and once more glad she had taken this job and silently promising herself to ask Rarity why exactly she had the essence of three elder gods trapped in her office.

End Chapter

Author's Note:

Co-written with GMBlackjack! This story takes place in the ongoing series: League of Sweetie Belles!

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