• Published 15th Jan 2020
  • 5,037 Views, 470 Comments

The Sunset of a Frozen Princess - DaylightHobbyist

Sunset Shimmer is lost in a world that she can't move on from. Twilight Sparkle is lost in a world that moves on without her. Together, they each try to find their way again.

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Prologue: What Now?

For as long as she could remember, Sunset Shimmer had always loved the gentle caress of the Sun’s light. Whether it had something to do with her personality, her vibrant coloration, or the shimmering celestial mark she had sported on her flank since she cast her very first spell, she couldn’t say. Regardless of why, she had always been drawn to the sun.

Many of her happiest memories were accompanied by the beautiful ball of fire in the sky that outshines all the stars surrounding it. The day she had been taken in as Celestia’s very own personal student, the first mid-term she had passed with flying colors by quite literally blowing the roof off the building, private study sessions in the castle gardens, afternoon picnics with the princess, and, somewhat more recently, outdoor excursions with her best friends. During those simple and peaceful happy moments, the sun was always shining. In her vainer days, Sunset sometimes entertained the idea that the sun was shining just for her.

So, it was unsurprising that Sunset liked to spend her reflective moments in the light of the star that once adorned her flank. She currently found herself sitting on a quiet bench, in the middle of a city park, lost in thought, on a cloudless bright sunny day. Only, for some time now it seemed as though the sun did not shine quite as often or as brightly as it once had.

Stirring from her deep thoughts as the breeze picked up, Sunset took in the sight of the park grounds and let out a tired sigh. It wasn’t long before the question she had been wrestling unsuccessfully with for the past several minutes made itself known once again.

“What now?” she asked the open air, not expecting but still, in spite of herself, hoping for some sort of response as she leaned back to look into the endless blue sky.

It had been over ten years since she had first run away from the only real home she had ever known into a strange world of creatures who moved about on two legs. Eight years, since she had walked across the graduation stage and concluded the happiest year of her life. Now, it had been exactly two days since she had earned a doctorate in computer science and as someone who once dealt with a sudden drastic change in their own species, Sunset could safely say she had never felt more lost than she did right now.

Sunset could only think of how ironic it was that she currently sat with a degree of certification few in this world achieved, yet all she could do was wish to return to the last year of high school where she had been her happiest.

Sunset was sad, and perhaps a little ashamed, to admit that reality had completely blindsided her in the end. As smart as the young woman was, her genius did not typically lend itself well to long term thinking. Or perhaps, deep down a part of her had willed her to be ignorant of what was coming. The simple fact was that change is bound to happen, and, moreover, High school simply does not last forever.

No sooner than the diplomas were put into their hands did their little group of friends start making their own futures. Rainbow Dash, of course, received a full-ride sports scholarship to some prestigious university that simply couldn’t wait to add her to their roster. She had long since gone pro. Pinkie, ever the sweet tooth, took up culinary school. Sunset couldn’t deny she had a real talent for making delicious treats, all be it, a little on the unhealthy side. It was only natural that she’d start her own bakery, bringing joy and laughter to whoever received her treats. Unsurprisingly, Applejack took to working at the farm full time just after graduation. Even after all this time, Sweet Apple Acres was still going strong. Rarity made arguably the biggest impact out of all of them, creating her own fashion lines that would become popular with both celebrities and everyday people. Sunset herself was the proud owner of quite a few of her pieces. Fluttershy, being the incorrigible animal lover she was, dedicated herself to becoming a Veterinarian, Sharing her kindness to any animal who might need it. And of course, the human version of Twilight Sparkle made her long-awaited splash at Everton. Graduating top of her class and going on to become an independent researcher. Her young age combined with her frequent breakthroughs prompting many to refer to her as the, “Princess of Science.”

Sunset personally couldn’t manage to stop herself from rolling her eyes whenever she heard the title, but she had to admit it was at the very least appropriate. Something about Twilight Sparkles seemed to draw them to the title.

However, perhaps the most interesting part of the spectacled Twilight’s college experience was her roommate. The answer to a question Sunset had long asked herself came in the form of a panicked phone call from Twilight, demanding to know how she had managed to clone herself, and why she kept such a scientific revelation from her. Just like that, several nights wondering where her human double had wound up, and perhaps a few arrogant thoughts that toyed with the idea that she was the only Sunset Shimmer in the multiverse, were put to rest.

The confirmation of another Sunset Shimmer in this world also put a much deeper, more depressing matter to rest.

She didn’t belong here.

Not that that was news to Sunset. It was hard to forget she was living in a world she wasn’t born into between the cultural shock, human versions of ponies she had known or at least seen before, and having to fake documentation for someone that, by all rights, should not exist.

Still, the presence of another her made it…official?

"No, that’s not it," she thought to herself. It was more like it forced her to confront that whatever role she had in this world had been filled before she even arrived.

Not that she had any idea what that role might be.
At heart, Sunset was a scholar of magic. Her entire life was defined by it. Learning about it, making it, feeling it, possessing it. It was her greatest passion in any world. Only this world had no place for it to begin with.

It was rather disheartening for Sunset to find that there was no degree or career to be found for a field of study the vast majority of the human race thought to be pure fiction.

Even if there was for that matter, what little magic that had migrated to this world from her homeland of Equestria was either destroyed or contained by her and her friends years ago. Now, the only magic that remained in the human world resided within them.

Sunset knew in her heart that it was better this way. Magic had been nothing but trouble for this world ever since she and Princess Twilight had unleashed it upon them. But still, sometimes she couldn’t help her guilty wish that they hadn’t done so good a job at snuffing it all out.

Magic in the human world may have been crazy, unpredictable, frustrating and caused far more problems than it ever solved, but it also presented the kind of challenge Sunset craved above all else. Getting to learn about, understand, and develop a brand-new form of magic unknown to ponykind was the very thing she lived for. The thing the sun-shaped cutie mark on her flank told her she was destined for. Learning to understand the magic in the human world in tandem with the magic of friendship gave her purpose.

But now she DID understand it, which just brought her back to the question she had been asking herself every day since she graduated high school.

"What now?" She thought once more idly tapping her fingers on the bench as she sorted through the decisions that had led to her current state.

Sunset Shimmer had never been one to sit idly by, so in lieu of a purpose, she had decided to make her own. As a natural-born student who had been in school for the majority of both her lives, she had elected to pursue higher education, as many young adults in this world did including some of her close friends. It seemed like a good way to learn more about what this world had to offer her while also satisfying Sunset’s own thirst for knowledge.

Picking a discipline to study had actually been rather easy. If she could not pursue magic, then she would instead learn more about the means by which this species compensated for a lack of it. In a sense, technology was like the magic of the human world. The ability to instantly send messages from one side of the planet to the other seemed a lot like magic to her at the time anyway.

Roughly eight years of rigorous study later and she could now officially be called Doctor Sunset Shimmer.

Statistically speaking, the world was now her oyster. Her credentials could easily land her a secure well-paying gig that would never leave her wanting for money again. Wanting for satisfaction was another matter entirely.

Try as she might, Sunset could not think of a single thing she could see herself happily doing for the rest of her life. If anything, all learning about the machines of this world had allowed her to do was theorize new ways to efficiently study magic. Magic that didn’t exist here.

"So, was that it then?" she wondered as slumped in defeat. "Eight years utterly wasted? Eight years spent working tirelessly to find myself back in the exact same spot, asking the exact same question?"

"What now?"

A small self-deprecating voice in the back of her head Sunset had never quite been able to rid herself of, developed right around the time everything between her and Celestia started to fall apart, cruelly reminded her that it wouldn’t be the first time she wasted years of her life for nothing.

For a moment, Sunset sat up and pondered if perhaps she could simply live with the path that she had chosen. It may not feel perfect, but it wouldn’t be terrible, right?

A modest successful life, working a comfortable job. Several hours a day spent going about various tasks. She could handle that. Day in, day out. For the next several decades until she was too old to do it anymore, or too rich to care. Nothing to it. Every day, for the rest of her life, going about her bubble, doing the same non-magical mundane tasks, in the same non-magical mundane place, for the rest of her life. Every. Single. Day.

Sunset found herself unable to suppress a groan of frustration. "I guess that answers that question," she thought to herself.

Try as she might, she just couldn’t reconcile the typical human lifestyle with her future. Ponies were creatures of passion and purpose. Sunset even more so than the average member of her kind. To spend her time, her life, doing something that she simply had no real passion for could very well kill her.

Well, perhaps that was being a bit dramatic, but the fact was that she couldn’t bear to spend her life pursuing something she wasn’t interested in. It was only through her innate desire for knowledge and understanding that she made it through the eight years of college education, and even that had worn on her numerous times.

It was moments like this that made Sunset long for the simple days of High School, where her place was so clear. Even her lonely days as the villain of Canterlot High were beginning to look more appealing than her current situation. She may not have had any friends, but at least she knew what to do with herself.

At least then, she had a purpose.

With a shake of her head, Sunset dispelled those thoughts before they could go any further.

“If only the girls were here,” Sunset spoke to no one in particular besides the gentle breeze.

Her friends were always good at pointing her in the right direction when she needed it. Even if they couldn’t give her all the answers, just being around them made her feel like everything was okay. But things changed, and now occasions where they all got together were disappointingly few and far between.

They had all moved on, and here she was still struggling to do the same.

Sunset toyed with the geode still hanging around her neck after all these years; a habit she had developed not long after receiving the magic stone. She liked to think it made it easier for her to think.

Taking the necklace in her palm, Sunset stared at the magic rock with her cutie mark inexplicably imprinted on it. Perhaps hoping that the magic contained within it, within her, could give her the answers she was seeking.

"Heh, magic", she inwardly mused with a wry smile. It seemed to be the source of all her problems, and yet she always looked to it for solutions. The redhead was certain there was some sort of cosmic joke in the whole thing.

"Wouldn’t it be great if there was some sort of magic item, I could just tell all my problems to and get answers in return?"

Suddenly Sunset’s train of thought came to a grinding halt. It was then replaced with an overwhelming urge to slap herself upside the head.

How was it that she had forgotten about her first friend and greatest teacher? A friend she could talk to at literally any time and place, with magic. A certified prodigy she may be, and yet too often did Sunset miss what was right under her own nose.

Sunset knew it was somewhat naïve to expect her oldest friend to possess all the answers simply because she had helped guide her in the past, but if anybody (or rather anypony) could help her, it was the princess of friendship.

And so, with a small flame of hope ignited in her chest, the amber skinned girl took in the relaxing landscape one more time, noting that for some reason the sun seemed just a little bit brighter, took a deep breath, and quickly rose from the bench she was sitting on to begin her journey home.

The door to Sunset’s apartment opened as the owner of the residence marched in.

The apartment in question was nicer than the one she had lived in during her days at Canterlot High although, in Sunset’s personal opinion, less homely. It did definitely make attending the Institute she had graduated from a great deal easier.

As Sunset wandered about her home, making sure everything was in order, the rush of enthusiasm she had felt on her way over had dulled slightly to make way for a sudden flow of guilt.

"How long has it been since I last wrote to Twilight?" Sunset pondered. "A year? A Year and a half?"

It had certainly been a while since she had last sat down and given her friend an update on her status in the human world.

She justified this with the no doubt packed schedules they both had acquired over the years. Earning a Doctorate in an ever-advancing science while providing for herself didn’t leave room for much else while Twilight no doubt had it ten times worse running an entire nation. Sunset still had a difficult time swallowing the fact that the dorky princess she knew now ruled all of Equestria.

Valid as her reasons were, however, Sunset knew that she needed to do better by her friend in the future, and as the saying went, there was no time like the present.

Stopping before her mattress, the former unicorn knelt down and heaved a small locked chest out from under the bed. After a quick sigh of exertion, she took out her keys and popped open the lid.

Immediately she was greeted by the sight of her own cutie mark stylistically fused with the cutie mark of Princess Twilight Sparkle. A small smile made its way onto Sunset’s face as she briefly lost herself in a rush of fond memories at the sight of the journal’s cover.

As quickly as it came her short trip down memory lane concluded. Sunset tucked the journal under her arm before closing and resealing the chest containing only her most irreplaceable possessions.

After another quick trip around the house to acquire a means of writing in the journal, the young woman decided to make herself comfy on her living room sofa.

“Now all I have to do is figure out what to write. I probably shouldn’t start off our first conversation in a while by dumping all my troubles onto her,” Sunset chuckled to herself.

“Let’s just start by checking in.”

Dear Princess Twilight:

I hope things are going well in Equestria. It’s been a while since our last talk and I was hoping to catch up with you.

Sincerely, your friend,

Sunset Shimmer

"And now comes the hardest part," Sunset thought as she slumped down into her seat. The waiting. Aside from a few exceptions around the time before she had graduated High School, Twilight had always been quick to give her a response.

"Of course, that was then, and this is now."

There was no telling what Twilight had gotten up to during their communication blackout. As the sole monarch of an entire kingdom and guardian of at least two celestial bodies, the princess undoubtedly had more important things to do than swap messages with her most distant pen pal.

Who was to say that Twilight even still had her journal on hoof? For all she knew, it had gotten lost in a storage room in the castle, or buried under a mountain of the paperwork she had so often seen Princess Celestia burdened with, or perhaps the book had simply been-

A flash of light alongside an unmistakable chime interrupted whatever doubts Sunset was having and caused her to shoot up from her position.

Sunset quickly opened the journal to read whatever message Twilight had sent her.


Is that really you? I’ve missed you.

I would be more than happy to tell you whatever you want to hear.

Sunset couldn’t help quirking an eyebrow at the message she had received. She had to wonder if it was just her, but something about the message seemed off. Like Twilight couldn’t believe she was actually hearing from her fellow student. It hadn’t been that long, had it?

For the second time that day, Sunset Shimmer felt the insuppressible urge to whack herself for her short-sightedness. How could she have forgotten about the time differences between this world and Equestria? She must have truly been rusty to forget such a basic factor in interdimensional travel.

Whatever was long to Sunset must have been several times as much to Twilight given how much faster time passed in Equestria relative to the human world. For the second time that day, Sunset vowed to do better by her friend and picked up the conversation.

I’ve missed you too, Twilight.

I’ve just been pretty busy learning all about the machines they use in this world. It’s been a lot to take in, but I’d consider myself pretty good with them by now. I’ve graduated for the third (or is it technically the fourth; I never did find out where I stood with Princess Celestia) time in my life. Now I guess I just need to find a use for it all.

This time there was no delay in the response.

I’m glad to hear it, Sunset. If anypony could figure out the complexities of their strange machines, it’s you. I can’t help but notice that you seem a bit unsure of yourself.

Is something wrong?

Sunset figured if she was waiting for an invitation to sort out her problems, that was it. The next few pages of the journal were dedicated to explaining the predicament she now found herself in, trying her very best not to leave anything important out. Once she figured that everything that needed to be said was in the journal, she set down her pen and awaited whatever wisdom the alicorn had to give her.

It sounds like you don’t know what you’re doing.

This response was met with the slight twitch of a cyan eye.

"Well, that was blunt."

To be honest, Twilight, I don’t know what I’m doing. My whole life has revolved around magic for better or worse.

Now that there’s none left to really study, I don’t know what to do with myself. It doesn’t help that there’s not really a huge market here for people who specialize in fairy tale acts. I’ve tried finding something else that gives me that same feeling of purpose, but no matter what I do it’s just not the same.

What place is there for a magical prodigy in a world without magic?

The next response was just as to the point as the last one.

It doesn’t sound like there is one.

Sunset’s spirit hit a new low at that. So that was it then? Even the Princess of Friendship couldn’t solve her identity crisis. Still, it couldn’t hurt to ask the question that had been on her mind ever since she walked out of Pinkie Pie’s big graduation party.

So, what now?

The response the former unicorn was waiting for didn’t come as quickly as the ones before it. An entire minute went by before the next short series of words that would stun Sunset to her core scratched themselves onto the page.

You could come back.

"Come back? To Equestria!?" Sunset mentally screamed. She wanted to say the idea was unthinkable. Before Sunset pursued that train of thought any further, she had to be certain she understood exactly what Twilight was saying.

You mean back to Equestria? Back to where I was born?

Twilight’s responses were back to being near instantaneous now and she had her answer before she could even lower her pen.

That’s exactly what I mean, Sunset. If it’s magic you’re looking for then there’s simply no place more filled with it than Equestria. With everything that’s happened since you’ve been living in the human world all this time, you’d never run out of new magic to study over here.

Part of Sunset hated how true Twilight’s words were, but that didn’t mean her reservations weren’t still there.

That’s just it though, Twilight. I’ve been living my life here for so long I barely remember what it feels like to properly be a pony. How can I just abandon everything I’ve made here to go back to the world I ran away from?

And again, Twilight’s response was ready for her.

I think I understand what you’re going through, Sunset. You’ve learned so much over there. You’ve made so many friends you cherish like family. It feels like it’s a part of who you are now.

Once again Twilights words rang true. That’s exactly how she felt.

But maybe you’ve already seen everything that world has to offer you. Maybe you’ve learned everything there is to learn from that world and its people. Done everything there is to do.

You’ve made amends for your past actions and then some. You understand the magic of friendship better than anypony I know. You’ve done an incredible job of containing the magic we brought to that world, and you’ve thoroughly documented a form of magic never seen by pony kind.

Twilight was for the most part recounting basic facts at this point, yet having it all laid out before her was sobering. She really had done all that, hadn’t she? But in that case, how could she leave this place behind after having done so much here?

Sunset, from what you’ve told me, it sounds like your friends have all taken what they can from these lessons and moved on. Maybe it’s time you moved on too.

Move on? It couldn’t be that easy, could it? Wasn’t that exactly what she had been trying to do all this time? Sunset scrunched her face in a fashion only someone wrestling with their own thoughts could achieve and decided to let Twilight finish her piece.

When Princess Celestia and Princess Luna decided to retire and put me in charge of the kingdom, I was in a very similar position to you. I had made a life in Ponyville. I Learned so much from the people living there. It was where I belonged for so long. The idea of leaving for any reason was unthinkable to me.

But things change. I changed. I was a princess, with a purpose to fulfill. I loved Ponyville with all my heart, but I had taken everything it had to give me, and I had given it everything I could. So, even though it was difficult to say goodbye to a place I had known for so long I had to move on. I had to say goodbye...

Somewhere in the back of her mind, Sunset noticed that there was an awkward pause in the words as they wrote themselves onto the page at this point. As though it took the princess a great deal of concentration to continue on to the next part.

I had to say goodbye to my friends. My family. And to be honest it hurt. A lot. But it was what was best.

That didn’t mean that we weren’t friends anymore or that I was abandoning them. It just meant that we had our own paths to take and I needed to finish mine.

I think it’s time you took the next step in your own path, Sunset. In Equestria. The place you were meant to be that has so much to offer you now. And I know you have a lot to offer it as well.

But it’s your decision at the end of the day. Know that whatever you choose, I’ll support you, and I’m sure your friends will do the same.

Sunset had to admit, she was moved. She had to briefly rub a forearm across her eyes to take care of the moisture that was threatening to escape. However, the doubtful part of her mind still had a few cards to play against considering this particular option. It wasn’t going down without a fight.

Where would I stay?

Twilight fired back immediately.

In the castle at Canterlot of course. You of all ponies should know there’s far more space here than we could ever reasonably fill.

Alright, next question.

You don’t really expect me to just mooch off you, do you?

And again, Twilight was ready.

I’m sure we could find a use for you around the castle. How does royal lab assistant sound? It’d be a good way for you to get your hooves wet and reconnect with your pony side while you figure things out. You can start as soon as you arrive, and I can just put you on the castle payroll.

So, she’d have a place of residence and a means of making a living. Of course. Fine then. Last question.

What if it doesn’t work out?

This time, Sunset barely had time to remove her pen from the paper before Twilight went on the offensive.

If it doesn’t work out, you can just go back to the human world and pick up where you left off. Like I told you once before. The portal’s always open.

That was strike three, Sunset’s doubts had just struck out. Twilight must have been in top form today. At this point, there was no good reason for Sunset to not at least think about it. That’s exactly what she told Twilight.

Alright, let me talk it over with the girls. I’ll think about it.

Without missing a beat, Twilight replied.

That’s all that I ask.

Sunset swore she could practically taste the smugness on her last response. With a grunt, she closed the journal. Attitude aside, a strange subtle feeling began to well up inside her. For the first time in years, it felt like she might have an answer to the question that plagued her every day.

Maybe she finally knew…

what now.

Author's Note:

Greetings everyone.
With the Gen 4 shows now over I realize I'm rather late to the fandom, but that's never a reason not to contribute in my opinion. Plus it means that now I can for the most part write all I want without worrying about any new canon ruining my fun.
I would like to say that this is my first attempt at writing a real full on story, so I'm still very much learning as an author of any sort. It's a hobby of mine I've picked up now which means updates will come whenever, but hopefully they won't be too far apart.
Thoughts, opinions, and constructive criticism are welcome and greatly encouraged. Anything you think I can do to make this a more enjoyable experience will be considered.

Hopefully this will be the most exposition I ever cram into one chapter, but I needed to set the stage.
As for the story itself, fair warning, I don't intend for it to be a sad story overall, but there will be some rather weighty themes tossed around. I still hope you'll all enjoy.