• Published 2nd Jan 2020
  • 2,852 Views, 83 Comments

Music Box Blues - PrincessColumbia

Principal Celestia gets help from a completely unexpected source when trying to find a gift for Sunset Shimmer

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Epilogue - Beside this window, I will wait, for inside this night I know it's not too late

She stared at the brown liquid in the glass. She knew well enough that she could escape into the effects of alcohol and, for a while at least, the ache in her heart would be numbed, just a little. After her sister left, Celeste finally let the tears fall that had been building behind her eyelids. As tempting as it was to drown her emotions in the sweet slumber of alcohol, she couldn’t bring herself to drink the brandy her sister poured for her. She had always been a bit of a lightweight drinker compared to Selene, for all she was taller and thus had more body mass. A part of her, some deep and hidden piece of her soul that she had grown used to listening to, said to not allow herself to be inebriated this night because she would be needed. Specifically that Sunset would need her.

She felt a fresh wave of the bitter tears pour down her cheeks as she thought of the girl. They had started getting so close. When she had finally recovered from the metaphorical gut-check the events of the Fall Formal had delivered to her worldview and perception of reality, she had started taking a direct and personal interest in Sunset Shimmer’s life. The five girls the visiting princess had tasked with taking care of her were strong, intelligent (usually), and wonderful young women, but they weren’t adults and they had their own lives that nobody could rightly demand they put on hold for a refuge. There was no precedent, no laws or structure or means of handing Sunset over to any sort of authority, especially in the current political climate in the United States surrounding illegal immigrants; Sunset would enter the system and disappear as she would be shuttled from agency to agency and possibly incarcerated with no homeland to send her to. Celeste couldn’t let that happen, so had severely bent (and broken) a few laws to become legal guardian to the girl on paper, even so far as owing her old college rival Chrystal a favor in exchange for listing Celeste as Sunset’s mother, using Celeste’s own deceased child’s Social Security number to establish Sunset’s legal documentation. Celeste then used the convenience of the requirement to discipline Sunset to have the girl to stay after school in the principal’s office under the guise of detention to start being a guide and mentor to her.

And she was making real progress! Sunset began to respond to Celeste’s attention like a hothouse flower that had been transplanted to the desert getting water for the first time in weeks. The passage of weeks flew by as the tentative bond of educator and student began to grow into something more, something as strong as (dare she even think it?) mother and daughter.

And then the Anonymous blog started up. The moniker, suspected of being associated with (or at least inspired by) the Anonymous group that had made headlines a few years back, was used to implicate Sunset of being some form of whistleblower or snitch or stool-pigeon, depending on who was being asked. No matter who was asked, though, the sentiment was universal; Sunset Shimmer, legitimate she-demon, banished alien, was up to her old tricks. That it couldn’t possibly be Sunset was transparent to Celeste (not to mention the rest of the staff once they caught wind of it) was lost on the student body, and no matter how hard she and the staff tried to quell the idea, it spread like a bad flu virus.

Even worse for Celeste was watching impotently as the girls that Sunset had grown close to began pulling away, one at a time, until they all chose to confront her. Sunset’s protests fell on deaf ears, and she was alone once again, this time because of an anonymous cyber-bully instead of by choice. Even more heartbreaking was Sunset truly believing that she deserved what was happening to her.

Naturally, Celeste had the school district’s lawyers on the job as soon as she found the blog. It was the bully’s greatest mistake to target Laura Hart rather than loop the girl in. Laura’s conspiracy theorist hobby would have made her the perfect co-conspirator, but they instead opted to ‘out’ the girl as a lesbian. If Laura’s girlfriend had been anyone else, the bullies might have gotten away with it, but then, Bonny and Laura’s relationship was a secret so deep that even the girls’ parents were completely in the dark about it. The only reason Celeste was aware of it was Bonny’s unofficial role as “student spy,” keeping her ear to the student gossip circles, investigating likely leads, then reporting directly to Celeste when she found evidence of something that violated school rules or the law. The pair had brought the saved screenshots and links to the live blog pages with Laura in tears that she had been outed without her consent. From there it was handled as swiftly as possible, but the damage had been done. The student body’s morale was in tatters and Sunset was growing more and more distant.

The last anyone had seen of Sunset was when Celeste and Selene had tried and failed to follow her to wherever she was going after school every day. They had managed to tail the girl as far as a Chinese restaurant near the warehouse district, but then lost the trail. There were simply too many possible ways the girl could have gone, too many twists and turns adding to the problem. If they’d had more manpower or more time…

Celeste unlocked her phone again, looking at the picture of the girl that had wormed her way into her heart. With a sigh, she leaned back in her chair and glanced around the study, willing to trade every last penny her parents left her in order to have Sunset with her, safe and sound. She closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose briefly, then opened them again.

There was a woman sitting in the chair on the other side of her desk.

It was simply that quick; one moment she was alone in the room, the next she had a visitor.

The woman was like a bizarre clown funhouse mirror of herself. Skin so pale she might have been a goth or a vampire cosplayer and hair in a pastel rainbow of colors. Her suit was a more colorful version of Celeste’s, but where she wore her suit unornamented, the woman across from her had a pin that had a stylized sun.

Before Celeste could gather her thoughts enough to respond, the woman stood and reached out for her. “Celeste, my name is Celestia. Yes, I know it seems impossible, and I can explain on the way. We need to go get Sunset. I know where she is.”

Celeste gaped at the woman, glancing between her face and the outstretched hand, “...are you the princess?”

Celestia chuckled darkly, “No, thank goodness. I’m from another universe entirely. Now let’s go get your girl. You’ll need to drive because I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay in this universe after you’ve found her and she won’t be in any condition to walk here from the warehouse she’s in.”

Once again ecstatically glad she had listened to that little voice in the back of her head, she reached out to grasp the woman’s hand. “Show me the way.”

The End

Christmas 2019

Principal Celestia’s adventures continue in ‘My Empire of Dirt’

Author's Note:

Finally done!

Honestly, the last chapter felt like an epilogue after the Epic Chapter of Doom that came before it, but this was pretty much always where this story was going.

Fun fact: I had completed this epilogue before "The candles burning, you know I'm gonna wait, the clock keeps turning, but I know it's not too late" was a fully-fledged outline. I wrote it right on the heels of finishing Celeste's scene at the end of "If you'd just believe, Just believe with me."

If you've made it this far, you're probably eagerly awaiting Chapter 5 of My Empire of Dirt. I don't have it quite as ready to go as I did this last chapter and epilogue, but I have been working on it and I'm enjoying the writing of it, so it's just down to carving the time out of my schedule to do so.

I hope you enjoyed this (very) late Christmas gift to my fans as I enjoyed making it, even as much of a headache and nightmare it was to produce what was supposed to be a "quick little short story that I should be able to dash off in about a week or two."

See you in Empire!

Comments ( 29 )

This epilogue was very necessary, and I thank you for its inclusion.

Both these two last chapters were so sweet! Can't wait to see Empire of Dirt continued :heart:

As always, 2 lovely and powerful chapters, can't wait for the continuation of Empires
Thank you

Good story and now to the continuation

Once again ecstatically glad she had listened to that little voice in the back of her head, she reached out to grasp the woman’s hand. “Show me the way.”

Follow da principle she knows da wae.

...even as I wrote it...I knew...

Heyo, sorry I didn't comment earlier! Things got crazy for me for a bit! Lovely story, thanks for including my fanfiction as a part of it! Defiantly making Solstice cannon as you described it ! Wonderful work and very heart felt!


Very nice

Comment posted by PonyofEntropy deleted Feb 22nd, 2021

This was a really nice way to wrap things up and reaffirm the tie-in. However, you might want to credit all the stories you referenced in the final author's note. Stuff like A Christmas Carol doesn't need this, but it is the polite thing to do for fanfics you admire. Plus, the authors would very likely want to see what you've accomplished here. It can also guide other readers to fics that they might not have heard of, since while some are well-known, it is unlikely all your readers have read each story.

Either way, I'm glad to give you your well-earned 69th upvote.

Oh heck, I hadn’t noticed that! Thank you!

I love friendship is monsters so much, and adding that to your stories which I also love a lot thats awesome. And oh boy can't wait for that story to be published.

What would equestrian celestias reaction be to what occurred with sunset and principal celestia? Would she be jealous or depressed?


What would equestrian celestias reaction be to what occurred with sunset and principal celestia? Would she be jealous or depressed?

For that, you'll have to keep up with the main story, My Empire of Dirt. :twilightsmile:

TMy Empire of Dirt
Sunset Shimmer has been defeated at the Fall Formal, but something has gone drastically wrong and Principal Celestia must play magic detective to rescue Sunset from the fallout.
PrincessColumbia · 86k words  ·  313  7 · 7.6k views

Astronomically bad even

I agree, and even then she still isn't good as we can remember she didn't notice cadance was replaced with an imposter

Well. Quite the story you've got here. I enjoyed it, a lot even. As I said earlier, the god damn multiverse was not where I expected this to go. I'm unfamiliar with all the AUs and such, so I didn't have any context for what was in them beyond what you showed, but I think you did a good job getting it across.

It was a really interesting way of getting Celestia to where she needed to be emotionally, and it's very well written, better than what I've seen of the main story, so far. It was quite a wild ride and extremely intriguing, especially the part with dealing with the other Sunset's presents. That was by far the emotional high for me.

My biggest problem, once again, just feels like the final part with Principal Celestia adopting Sunset was cheapened by her experiences in the multiverse. The way she talked and the way she went about things just didn't hit for me, in a way, I guess it sort if feels like it really wasn't her decision in the end. Her experiences as the other Celestia's basically forced her into it, in my opinion. I think it would've been better had she not see any universes where Sunset was adopted and she came to that conclusion on her own. That's just me though, it doesn't take away from how well written it was.

Otherwise, my only complaint was that the long chapter with a bunch of universes felt a bit mindnumbing and we didn't have enough time to properly connect with them, making it feel a bit emotionally void. I think there was a few too many universes, some could've been cut to make more for the ones that remained.

Overall though, fantastic read. Great work, I'm excited to get back to the main story.

(Sorry if there's any spelling or grammar mistakes, not good at mobile lol)





Otherwise, my only complaint was that the long chapter with a bunch of universes felt a bit mindnumbing and we didn't have enough time to properly connect with them, making it feel a bit emotionally void. I think there was a few too many universes, some could've been cut to make more for the ones that remained.

Try writing that monster! :rainbowwild:

Honestly, that chapter is the weakest, narratively, of the bunch, if only because it's so damn long. I had intended for this entire fic to be a one-shot for Christmast 2019, but by the time Feb. hit and I hadn't even got to the alternate futures chapter, I realized I'd kinda gone for something bigger than I'd planned. It seemed like every line I wrote spawned three more, and believe it or not stuff actually did wind up on the cutting room floor. :twilightoops: It was, however, a LOAD of fun to plan and write, including the soft- and full-canon nature of the leaping Celestia's impact on events in those universe. Queen Celestia and her Sunset will show up later in "You Never Need Feel Broken Again," and spotty8ee has accepted my contribution as canon to "Friendship is Monsters." Rune Soldier Dan is holding a spot for me in "A Band of Misfit Losers Hunts the Undead," and Wanderer D won't let me take the Isekai out for a spin without filing a detailed flight plan, but they've admitted MBB as "soft canon" in the Isekai continuity. :rainbowdetermined2:

I'm hoping to release Empire and this story as a single-volume book in both hard copy and digital, and both stories are gonna get a LOT of clean-up. If I can maintain and grow your interest enough to get you to drop a coin or three on it I'm hoping you'll be pleasantly surprised by the final product.

Well, that was really good! The Christmas Carol framework works well, and I did love that the multiverse hopping was a way of showing how bad Celestia is at being a mom across all of creation.

The only part that felt...weird was the SAO universe, that one felt really out of place and wrecked the immersion.

Aside from that, this was a touching, well crafted story that had me tearing up more than once. Even better, I learned about a few other stories I'll probably enjoy, which is a bonus treat. :twilightsmile:

That was a special Christmas present to my good friend Wanderer D, who's way more awesome than I have any way of saying. That said, I needed a "launching off" point and a way to kinda explain the direction of the fic without just holding up a sign that said, "It's like Quantum Leap but with alternate timelines." Gunsmoke is a long time favorite of mine *cough*buyacopyandreadmyintro*cough* and I wanted to pay homage to it in some way, too.

As sweet as this story is, I feel that this entire thing somewhat weakens "My Empire of Dirt", to the point where I regret having read this story. I didn't like the weird multiverse-personality blend thing going on with Celestia there, and this just made it worse.

Not that I think this story is bad, just, like I said, that it somehow weaknes the other story's premise somewhat.

For some reason I have to actually include the self-aware words of "this is just the opinion of one reader" to not get "called out". I'm sure it wasn't meant as an attack, but the gif with the comment made it feel like it was. Still, like I said, good story, just (personally) sad how I felt it impacted MEoD.

The GIF was meant in good fun, no worries. :twilightsmile:

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