• Member Since 16th Aug, 2013
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redandready45


Urban Planner, TV Tropes contributer, and writer on the side.

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This story is a sequel to Look In The Mirror To Find the Truth


Featured August 18, 2019

After her six week suspension, Sunset returns to Canterlot High School. Applejack's forgiveness and friendship have given her a new lease on life and a new mission: to try and make it up to the students of CHS.

But to say that her return to CHS isn't well-received is an understatement. Everywhere she walks, Sunset is treated with hostility, scorn, and quite a bit of torment.

Even Applejack's friends are somewhat divided by her return. While Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and Fluttershy are convinced that Sunset has changed by Applejack, Rainbow Dash chooses to avoid Sunset entirely. She even starts hanging out with the members of CHS' track team rather then her own friends. The very team that harassed Sunset during her community service.

However, one mysterious student holds an especially severe grudge against Sunset. With his/her attacks on Sunset being sadistic, cruel, and threatening to her physical and mental well-being.

Will Sunset escape her predicament? Could her salvation lie with the least likely person?


This story is a sequel to Look In The Mirror To Find The Truth, and the second part of my Sunset's Steps series.


WARNING: This story features blackmail, offensive language, sexual assault, fights, and heavy drama.

Chapters (15)
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Comments ( 171 )

this sounds really good well done. will be following along.

I've got a very bad feeling that this will go pearshaped. Hard.

I'm going to keep an eye on this one.

Definitely going in my tracking. I have a bad feeling about this...

The title of the chapter is a typo; it's "Hesitation", with only one 's'.

Also, sweet; looking forward to seeing this continued.

Glad I checked to see if this was out. And reading that description, I feel like I'm gonna be very angry soon. Not saying your writing is bad. It's definitely good. I just hate abuse like that. Hopefully Sunset will be able to win.

The description alone already makes me mad. Let's see how many chapters I can go through before I want to step inside this story and punch someone. Rainbow Dash.....why just why.....you are the element of Loyalty for crying out loud. I hope that her element somehow finds some way in the end.....and she doesn't damage her friendships with the Rainbooms because of her poor choices.

Wow. Next chapter already up. Nice job. On a side note, imma need to watch some funny vids now to get over the sadness I feel for Sunset and anger I feel for other things. Can't wait for the next chapter.

…well, crap. Now I'm really scared for Sunset's safety.

Of course... Gilda will be the one to make Sunset's life worse, isn't it? :facehoof:

And Micro Chips... I'm very disappointed in you. :ajbemused:

Okaaaaay, might want to cool it with the students' anger. Getting really psychopathic now.

Sunset would very justified in just walking out and never coming back.

Hopefully that's the end of Gilda's retribution, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it won't be.

Ri2

Oh hey, it's Gilda. Always Gilda.

Sunset said she wanted to hear the rules again. Why didn't Luna repeat them?

Ri2

Another stellar example of the ineptitude of the CHS faculty. And...faculty everywhere, really.

First of all, what Gilda did to Sunset, along with Lightning Dust and Rolling Thunder (and Micro Chips too for arranging their "meeting") was awful! Granted, I get that it was because Sunset did wrong to them in the past, but that's just overkill! But something tells me that they're not done with her yet! :applejackunsure:

Second, Dr. Whooves giving Sunset detection for coming in to class soaking wet? Really? If any teacher sees one of the students in that state, they would've ask them out of concern. If he did that because he too was resentful of Sunset's past, then not only it was dumb, but also very unprofessional thing to do. This concerns me on how the rest of the faculty will treat her in the long run. I get that most of the teachers mistrusts her now after her stunt from the Fall Formal, but still! :ajbemused:

The only silver lining from this chapter was Rarity helping out Sunset after witnessing all the abuse Sunset had to go through, which made her realized that Sunset really has changed.

I hope that the rest of the girls will realize that too in time and help her out. :fluttershysad:

I hope that the conclusion is about how two wrongs don't make a right. At the very least, Luna and Celestia should actually be horrified by the students' abuse and the teacher's apathy at the end of the day, and do something about it.

Please don't just skip ahead to the boutique scene.

9795250
Better be if her adopted Father found out. He be beyond furious and utterly disappointed in her.
I think that would hurt Gilda more than anything.

9795323

First of all, what Gilda did to Sunset, along with Lightning Dust and Rolling Thunder (and Micro Chips too for arranging their "meeting") was awful! Granted, I get that it was because Sunset did wrong to them in the past, but that's just overkill! But something tells me that they're not done with her yet!

Perhaps. But if someone cost you a summer by stealing your stuff, then used your email to get you in trouble and make you look sick, you wouldn't exactly be happy.

The reason why people stick up for Sunset is because she has been a hero longer then a villain, and better as a hero. But we take it for granted she spent a very long time mistreating others.

Second, Dr. Whooves giving Sunset detection for coming in to class soaking wet? Really? If any teacher sees one of the students in that state, they would've ask them out of concern. If he did that because he too was resentful of Sunset's past, then not only it was dumb, but also very unprofessional thing to do. This concerns me on how the rest of the faculty will treat her in the long run. I get that most of the teachers mistrusts her now after her stunt from the Fall Formal, but still!

Maybe Dr. Whooves was a bit too harsh. But I am trying to portray it as Sunset loosing the trust of the teachers.

My headcanon, if you didn't pick up on it this story and the previous one, is that Sunset pretended to be a "model student" in front of the teachers. To me, that's the only way Sunset could've avoided trouble if she was blackmailing and bullying everyone.

So Dr. Whooves and the other teachers are more then a bit furious and let down that the girl who they thought was a model student behaved like a horrible bully behind their backs. And that's not even getting into damaging the school. Whooves is thus doubling-down on punishing Sunset because he is compensating for not disciplining her in the past and because he is angered by Sunset's deception and having cost him some of his salary.

I'm not trying to justify what Dr. Whooves did. I'm saying Dr. Whooves, like anyone else, would be hurt by Sunset's years of lies and the massive damage she did.

Okay the shaved head thing was really stupid. She's suppose to have a full head of hair in Rainbow Rocks. You don't regrow a mass of hair like Sunset's in less than a school year.

So, Celestia and Luna didn't notice that Sunset had to change clothes and lost a lot of hair during school hours?

A good friend would patch up their friend; a great friend would report to the principals that their friend was assaulted and that the teachers are enabling it.

9813176

Well...

No one has really reported what Sunset has gone through to the faculty, so they aren't exactly aware of the details.

Right now, the faculty kind of has it in for Sunset, so she feels that they wouldn't help her even if she did report her mistreatment.

Also, Sunset feels she has no right to hide behind faculty after having used her "model student" image to cover up her misdeeds. She feels that she kind of deserves her mistreatment and that everyone has a right to get their pound of flesh.

It's ALIVEE, nice chapter man.

Sweet, another chapter!

About time that AJ had a "chat" with Rainbow Dash about her behavior. Rainbow still didn't want to sit with them again, but it's a start.

Letting go of one's hate is the first step in forgiveness.

Needs more chapters.

I know I've been giving grief to this story for the extreme retaliation the school has dealt to Sunset, but I'm happy that it's gonna be pushed back against.

But I still hold that the teachers and principals seeing obvious signs of assault and spitefully or implicitly ignoring them was a poor decision. It's going to make it difficult to write about when they're told about the bullying, since a) it looks like they'll just continue ignoring it at this point b) there's unlikely to be satisfactory consequences.

Oh, this will be a fun read! Then i can add more fanfic personalities to my hit list when i dress up as Dark Knight's Joker! (P.S Heath Ledger is the only true Joker there should be, he played the role so damn well, Joaquin Phoenix just takes me back to the cringy musical Batman movies with the blue and grey suits, and the gay shorts Robin used to wear.)
Also:

"Alright then," Applejack said excitedly. "Now that that's settled, let's head to the mall." The girls all got up from their chairs and hurried out of the farmhouse, except for Rainbow Dash, who dragged her feet as she walked out of the farmhouse.

"Pony Express," the athlete said to herself.

Thank you Rainbow Dash for signing my petition! (Also, yeah i can understand her anger. Only vandalism on her record? And only community service? Okay let's count up the crimes she's committed; terrorist levels of property destruction, dozens of cases of blackmail, implied extortion on many occasions due to her lack of income, and multiple counts of attempted murder, and assault and battery. Yeah, this is not a record worthy of parole in under 5 years. So in summary, Sunset should be imprisoned for her record, and should die broke, and disease ridden on the streets because no one is going to hire a person with a record as dirty as hers is.)

I just read the story, start to the currently last chapter, and I have to say that I'm impressed with the way you've carved out a dark and gritty niche without relying on the blunt instruments of the genre.

The way you've created a bleak and hopeless world not by amplifying the bad but instead editing out the good, and completely sold it as the way things are instead of artifice on the part of the author, is truly a testament to your command of the craft.

I'm especially taken with your use of subtlety. For example, the only time you have the prose come out and say that the faculty are actively contributing to the bullying of Sunset is in the third chapter when Dr. Whooves orders her, in front of an entire classroom, not to report what's been done to her, but even then it's not as overt as most people here would make it.

A lesser writer would point out that teachers know such a pronouncement will be reported to the majority of the school by the end of the day and also know that students will get the message, "loud and clear" of course, that it's open season on Sunset Shimmer and the teachers (at least any who could reasonably be considered a part of the good doctor's "we") will ignore any actions taken against her.

Instead of going into such heavy handed exposition, you use let actions do the talking. He lets the class know that he'll let actions against Sunset slide, and then orders her to the front, where she'll be easiest target. The foreshadowing of this overt participation in Sunset's bullying that you laid down with Mr. Cranky's less vocal support in the previous chapter could have been clunky, but you weaved it in seamlessly.

And then the way it all ties back in to things happening on the student side when Rainbow Dash lies to Applejack's face with "I'm not doing anything to her," (even though she knows, as the teachers know, that ignoring things you're contractually obligated to report is doing something to her) is just perfect.

Just by being a member of a school sports program Rainbow Dash would be required to report anything like what the track team is doing to Sunset, as a captain of a team (and she's captain of more than one) that requirement is so much more weighty. So much so that everyone reading knows that the track team wouldn't dare to so much as touch Sunset unless Rainbow Dash could be kept in the dark (she's not) or be trusted to actively participate in keeping it a secret (which she can and she is.) That it's how real life high school bullying often goes, right down to the exact wording of Rainbow's lie, is just sort of icing on the cake.

Gilda's, "I'll stop hurting you if you fraudulently write my admissions essays for me," in the currently most recent chapter, and the way that Sunset views this as a mercy, is a great addition (and more realism), but looking back at the whole thing (so far) I have to say that I think your best work so far has been with Luna.

Obviously the nurse would report the glue incident to Luna immediately, but we don't need the glue incident to know that Luna is actively ignoring what's being done to Sunset. Luna's meeting with Sunset makes clear that Sunset will be monitored closely. Luna's talked to the work crew (she made sure to say so) so she'd probably know about the paint, but that's before Sunset returned as a student, so really what drives her characterization home is the fact that she has to know about the glue, Sunset getting food dumped on her in the cafeteria, Sunset showing up to class soaked . . . even the eggs in the student parking lot.

On that last one, it's not just because the faculty (and possibly non-faculty staff like secretaries and janitors, depending on how serious Luna is) would be watching Sunset did on school grounds after school especially closely because of her now-revealed history as a bully, it's also because Luna came out and said that they'd be paying attention to how and when Sunset left school, because if Sunset didn't do it how and when Luna wanted (which basically amounts to: as quickly as possible) Sunset would be expelled.

You've set it up so very wonderfully so that we know Luna is aware of every single thing students have done to Sunset* and it's her job to respond to things like that and yet, apart from the scene where she threatens Sunset with expulsion, she isn't even in the story. The way you've managed to convey so much about her character through her absence rather than presence is masterful, and I wish more authors were able to do that sort of thing.

* Though, it's important to note that she doesn't know how Sunset got soaked. She knows that something happened that left Sunset soaked, but for all she knows it happened using clean water from the drinking fountain. She also, obviously, doesn't know about the itching powder. That, though, isn't one of the things that was done to Sunset given that Rarity stopped it from being done.

9881703

Sweet, another chapter!

About time that AJ had a "chat" with Rainbow Dash about her behavior. Rainbow still didn't want to sit with them again, but it's a start.

Forgiveness is hard and rough path. I hope that I've portrayed the girls' acceptance in a way that seems natural and realistic.


9884680

I know I've been giving grief to this story for the extreme retaliation the school has dealt to Sunset, but I'm happy that it's gonna be pushed back against.

You can only hit someone so hard before you get hit back. Albeit, Sunset is not in any position to hit back, so I have her friends doing it for her.


9899544

Good chapter!

Thank you very much!

9899993

I just read the story, start to the currently last chapter, and I have to say that I'm impressed with the way you've carved out a dark and gritty niche without relying on the blunt instruments of the genre.

First of all, I am really pleased that someone would write such a detailed analysis of something I wrote. To me, it is a sign that I've managed to convey such deep emotions into a single story.

Now begins where I pick apart your analysis and try and convey might intent.

The way you've created a bleak and hopeless world not by amplifying the bad but instead editing out the good, and completely sold it as the way things are instead of artifice on the part of the author, is truly a testament to your command of the craft.

I'm not really trying to portray a bleak world. I'm trying to fill in the cracks left by canon, and explore what Sunset went through between the Fall Formal and Rainbow Rocks. I'm trying the realistic challenges Sunset brought upon herself while throwing in sprinkles of hope.

I'm especially taken with your use of subtlety. For example, the only time you have the prose come out and say that the faculty are actively contributing to the bullying of Sunset is in the third chapter when Dr. Whooves orders her, in front of an entire classroom, not to report what's been done to her, but even then it's not as overt as most people here would make it.



A lesser writer would point out that teachers know such a pronouncement will be reported to the majority of the school by the end of the day and also know that students will get the message, "loud and clear" of course, that it's open season on Sunset Shimmer and the teachers (at least any who could reasonably be considered a part of the good doctor's "we") will ignore any actions taken against her.

Instead of going into such heavy handed exposition, you use let actions do the talking. He lets the class know that he'll let actions against Sunset slide, and then orders her to the front, where she'll be easiest target. The foreshadowing of this overt participation in Sunset's bullying that you laid down with Mr. Cranky's less vocal support in the previous chapter could have been clunky, but you weaved it in seamlessly.

I wasn't necessarily trying to portray the faculty as being supportive of it. The treatment that Whooves and Cranky, as I've tried to portray it, is a mixture of disillusionment and distrust.

Sunset played the model student in front of their eyes. Then, when she blew up a chunk of the school, they learned what Sunset was really like behind their backs, on top of the damage she inflicted on the school.

Whooves refusal to listen to Sunset and Cranky forcing Sunset to sit next close by is not them subtly telling students that Sunset is open game. It is them communicating to Sunset that she has lost their trust and she must work hard to regain it.

And then the way it all ties back in to things happening on the student side when Rainbow Dash lies to Applejack's face with "I'm not doing anything to her," (even though she knows, as the teachers know, that ignoring things you're contractually obligated to report is doing something to her) is just perfect.

Just by being a member of a school sports program Rainbow Dash would be required to report anything like what the track team is doing to Sunset, as a captain of a team (and she's captain of more than one) that requirement is so much more weighty. So much so that everyone reading knows that the track team wouldn't dare to so much as touch Sunset unless Rainbow Dash could be kept in the dark (she's not) or be trusted to actively participate in keeping it a secret (which she can and she is.) That it's how real life high school bullying often goes, right down to the exact wording of Rainbow's lie, is just sort of icing on the cake.

You hit the nail on the head with Rainbow Dash that she is part of the problem. But the issue is that Rainbow doesn't see her own passive-aggressiveness as bullying. Rainbow Dash thinks the students are entitled to her revenge, and she thinks that she isn't doing anything wrong as long SHE isn't touching Sunset directly.

It isn't until Applejack tells her that she isn't much different from Sunset that it does sink in to Rainbow.

Gilda's, "I'll stop hurting you if you fraudulently write my admissions essays for me," in the currently most recent chapter, and the way that Sunset views this as a mercy, is a great addition (and more realism), but looking back at the whole thing (so far) I have to say that I think your best work so far has been with Luna.

I wasn't trying to portray it as Gilda extorting Sunset. Merely Gilda offering Sunset a chance to make amends in her own crass and rough way.

Sunset is doing this partly because she did jeopardize Gilda's chances with her own acts of sabotage and she's wanted to make it up to Gilda (and other students from day one) and is ecstatic to have a chance too.

Obviously the nurse would report the glue incident to Luna immediately, but we don't need the glue incident to know that Luna is actively ignoring what's being done to Sunset. Luna's meeting with Sunset makes clear that Sunset will be monitored closely. Luna's talked to the work crew (she made sure to say so) so she'd probably know about the paint, but that's before Sunset returned as a student, so really what drives her characterization home is the fact that she has to know about the glue, Sunset getting food dumped on her in the cafeteria, Sunset showing up to class soaked . . . even the eggs in the student parking lot.

On that last one, it's not just because the faculty (and possibly non-faculty staff like secretaries and janitors, depending on how serious Luna is) would be watching Sunset did on school grounds after school especially closely because of her now-revealed history as a bully, it's also because Luna came out and said that they'd be paying attention to how and when Sunset left school, because if Sunset didn't do it how and when Luna wanted (which basically amounts to: as quickly as possible) Sunset would be expelled.

You've set it up so very wonderfully so that we know Luna is aware of every single thing students have done to Sunset* and it's her job to respond to things like that and yet, apart from the scene where she threatens Sunset with expulsion, she isn't even in the story. The way you've managed to convey so much about her character through her absence rather than presence is masterful, and I wish more authors were able to do that sort of thing.

* Though, it's important to note that she doesn't know how Sunset got soaked. She knows that something happened that left Sunset soaked, but for all she knows it happened using clean water from the drinking fountain. She also, obviously, doesn't know about the itching powder. That, though, isn't one of the things that was done to Sunset given that Rarity stopped it from being done.

Again, my intention is not to show Luna as being passive-aggressive in allowing Sunset to be bullied. The reason why the bullying isn't being reported is because A) student bodies tend to have their own "codes of silence" about these kinds of things, B) the student body is doing their bullying in ways that teachers can't see, and C) Sunset feels she deserves what she is going through and doesn't feel she can report it.

Again, I love your analysis. But I'm not trying to portray things THAT bleakly…

Well....at least, not yet...

I'm sorry, I can't stop thinking of 'Pansy military academy' and laughing.

I really wanna know what happened with Blossomworth...

"Sunset looked at Gilda with both surprise."
Both surprise and what? You cut off a sentence? :rainbowhuh:

9903835

Made the correction, thanks for the heads up.

"Oh, I see?" Applejack said. "You're mad at for her for being a nasty little brat." A mocking sneer appeared on her face. "Because you're just ah perfect little angel, aren't you. How you treated Blossomworth certainly proves-," Rainbow Dash furiously punched the wall behind Applejack.


"Maybe I should just remind you of Blossomworth every day of your life. Since you think that Sunset should be hated forever because of her-," Rainbow Dash furiously grabbed Applejack by her shirt and pushed her against the door.


"You think that one little mistake is the same thing as two YEARS of non-stop-being-a-bitch and turning into demon!?" a red-faced Dash roared into Applejack's face.

Blossomworth? Who the heck are they? Did I miss something?

Loving this story, its really entertaining, cant wait to hear about what happen to Blossomworth.

Hm..... I'll come back and read this but it is..... VERY interesting based off description alone.... not gonna lie though. Seeing Gilda as a bully, again, sorta irks me but at least she does have an excuse this time compared to other stories which are usually just "She's mean and that's it".

9988586

Hm..... I'll come back and read this but it is..... VERY interesting based off description alone.... not gonna lie though. Seeing Gilda as a bully, again, sorta irks me but at least she does have an excuse this time compared to other stories which are usually just "She's mean and that's it".

Yeah. I've always been frustrated by the FIMFiction trope of "Sunset angel, EG!Gilda devil."

Gilda, at her worst, was a temperamental bully. But she certainly wasn't a full blown villain, nor actively malicious.

Sunset, by contrast, she spent a huge chunk of her life hurting other people. And that was before becoming a demon, brainwashing students into canon-fodder, and trying to kill the HuMane 6 before going off to basically overthrow her former teacher.

Sunset committed acts of terrorism, high treason, and murder. Yet, she is somehow more redeemable than Gilda, someone who in canon didn't do much besides be a mean-spirited tool.

Granted, Sunset has been a sympathetic good guy for far-longer than she has been a bad guy. And unlike most villains, her redemption was far more realistic.

Therefore, it is unfair to portray EG!Gilda as a unredeemable, one-note, snarling goon who hates Sunset for no good reason. I felt going the route of "troubled girl with an understandable grudge" would not only be more realistic, but part of Sunset's learning experience.

Poor sunset, but this is better than the alternative

Damn, this sucks for Sunset. :(

Why do I have a feeling she's going to be sick next chapter?

That is an ideal solution; it's a lot less damaging than what happened before, and hopefully placates the students' collective sadism.

Downside is that spending hours being dunked in cold water is not gonna be good for Sunset's health.

9990716

Poor sunset, but this is better than the alternative

Redemption ain't cheap.

9992077

That is an ideal solution; it's a lot less damaging than what happened before, and hopefully placates the students' collective sadism.

Downside is that spending hours being dunked in cold water is not gonna be good for Sunset's health.

I think "sadism" is too strong of a word. "Sadists" are people who love to bring pain for the heck of it. Gilda and others weren't beating up Sunset just to revel in her misery. They are avenging themselves on the girl who tormented them for years on end. Becoming a demon and blowing up a chunk of the school was the point where even the teachers came close to throwing her out of school, grade-A student or not. If Sunset hadn't been so rotten, it is unlikely that she would've been so hated by everyone else in Rainbow Rocks.

The dunk tank serves the purpose of giving everyone a taste of revenge, without doing something monstrously cruel or scarring toward Sunset. It also shows everyone that her atonement isn't an act as many people (both in-universe and out) suspected.

'Rainbow Dash nodded his head'

Don't you mean that Rainbow Dash nodded HER head?

FINALLY!!!!!! you’re finally coming around, RD.

Even though you’re still acting like a bitch.

That was a really nice chapter, come on RD!

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