• Published 15th Jan 2020
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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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Chapter 2: New Old Friend

Sunset Shimmer had always been on the short side compared to other mares. By no means was she comically small, but she had usually been shorter than nearly everypony in the room. It was something of a sore topic for the amber filly back during her days at Celestia’s school, when her ego had been far larger than any body could reasonably contain, only made more apparent by how she spent much of her time hanging around the largest pony in Equestria. Sunset believed the proper term for describing her attitude in the human world was a, “Napoleon complex.”

Spending so many years in her more vertically gifted human form, in a world that allowed her to artificially extend her height even further with a nice pair of heeled boots or platform shoes, had long since made the small unicorn forget that particular insecurity.

Now, as a changed pony, Sunset would have liked to say that she no longer had any issues regarding her size.

However, the sheer towering figure of the lavender alicorn standing before her combined with the amber mare’s own lack of stature made the height difference between the two of them, in Sunset’s personal opinion,…absolutely ridiculous

Sunset was brought out of her wide-eyed stare by the sound of muffled laughter emanating from the pony holding her captive gaze.

“I can see you might need a moment. I guess I never mentioned the little growth spurt I had after taking the throne.” Twilight mused with barely suppressed laughter

The alicorn’s words were enough to finally shake Sunset out of her silence as she violently pointed a hoof in Twilight’s direction. “Little growth spurt!? Twilight, you’re HUGE!” Sunset exclaimed before pulling her foreleg back to cover her mouth recognizing how what she had just said could very easily offend any mare.

Fortunately, Twilight seemed to take no offense to the unicorn’s unintended sleight and instead let out another good-natured chuckle.

“It’s wonderful to see you again, Sunset,” Twilight said in earnest before kneeling down to wrap her old friend in an embrace.

To her credit, Sunset only took a few seconds to shake off the shock before she wrapped her own forelegs around Twilight’s neck to return the hug. “It’s great to see you too Twi.”

They stayed in that position for a few minutes before Sunset decided that this friendly hug was going a bit long.
“Hey, Twilight. You can let me go now.”

“OH! Sorry, it’s just been so long since I’ve seen you,” Twilight explained as she released her unicorn friend sporting an embarrassed blush on her face. “You…haven’t changed a bit.”

For the first time since coming back to this world, Sunset took a moment to look herself over and quickly concluded that Twilight was right. She looked, as far as she could tell, exactly as she had the last time she had been on this side of the mirror. Admittedly, Sunset wasn’t entirely sure what to expect given the mirror’s strange habit of de-aging ponies traveling through the portal, but it seemed that her age as a human and as a pony finally matched up. Neat.

Now, before she got into anything over here, Sunset decided it would be best to take stock of her current situation and clear up where exactly she stood in Equestria these days.

“Sooo, exactly how long have I been gone?” Sunset asked the monarch before her.

Twilight’s grimace at the question did not give her a good feeling about the answer she was about to receive.

“What…exactly do you mean?” Twilight tentatively responded.

“She’s stalling,” Sunset internally noted. “I must have been gone even longer than I thought.” Rather than point it out, Sunset decided to play along and further elaborate on what she wanted to know.

“I mean, how much time has passed in Equestria since I was last here. I know that due to the temporal distortion between the dimensional planes more time has passed here than in the human world, but I haven’t had the time or tools I’d need to calculate the exact ratio between this world and theirs.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought you meant,” Twilight responded with the weak chuckle only somepony preparing for things to go sideways gave.

Sunset decided to be merciful and ease the large alicorn’s obvious discomfort, “Listen Twi, I want you to give it to me straight. I’m a big pony, mentally I mean, and I can take whatever answer you dish out. How long’s it been? Thirty years? Forty even?”

Sunset’s words had the opposite of the desired effect and only seemed to increase the lavender mare’s discomfort as she struggled to maintain eye contact with the out of touch unicorn before her.

“Sunset, there are some…things…I have to tell you before I answer your question. It’s not really a big deal so I’m asking you not to freak out, but it might come as a biiit of a shock.”

It seemed merely inheriting Celestia’s throne and stature did not immediately afford somepony the iron control of one’s nerves the sun princess was famous for. If anything, the large princess was beginning to look a LOT more like her old self as she clearly struggled with the message, she wanted to convey.

“It’s okay Twilight. I promise that I won’t freak out,” Sunset vowed with a raised hoof both to hurry things along and help out her struggling friend.

This seemed to finally put the lavender mare at ease enough to continue after putting a hoof to her chest and taking a deep breath. “Well, as you know, the mirror was created by Starswirl the Bearded as a gateway to worlds beyond our own. The mirror was designed to operate on a schedule that took advantage of a natural phenomenon that opened a portal between our world and the human world. That is until I created a machine that allowed the mirror to tear open a portal between the two worlds at any given time in order to aid you against the Sirens. It turns out that bending the rules of reality in such a way resulted in some…unintended consequences.”

Twilight paused her explanation to give her audience a chance to absorb this information and continued when the amber unicorn prompted her with a raised eyebrow.

“I didn’t even realize it at first because the process was gradual, but time seemed to slow down in your world based upon your journal entries. Eventually, it got to the point where several years had passed in Equestria before you had even finished your last year of high school.”

The full picture seemed to be sinking in for Sunset at this point whose face had taken on a neutral expression and in an even tone she stated, “So you’re saying that your portal machine further desynced the flows of time between the two worlds?”

Twilight took a silent gulp before continuing, “Yes. I did some more research on the mirror after I noticed these anomalies and confirmed that the unnatural openings of the portals had thrown off the balance between the two worlds. The barrier eventually compensated for the additional portals and re-stabilized, but not before permanently shifting the ratio between time in Equestria and the human world.”

“How much?” Sunset asked, tone still carefully neutral.

The ruling princess of Equestria decided that it would be best not to drag this out any further and gave Sunset the answer she was looking for. “One year in the human world…is now equivalent to ten years in Equestria.”

Sunset did the math in her head the second Twilight finished her sentence.


Anyone watching the display would have likely found the sight of the princess of the entire realm cowering from a pony barely half her size rather hysterical.

“You said you wouldn’t freak out!” Twilight yelled in a panic as she backed away from the fuming fireball before her.

“Well, I lied!” Sunset screamed as she advanced on the retreating princess. “How am I only finding out about this now!?”

The Lavender alicorn stopped her retreat beside a stone pillar she could take cover behind on the small chance Sunset’s temper went beyond heated words. “I’m sorry! I didn’t know exactly what was happening until after my coronation and your graduation.” Twilight explained in hopes of at least making her friend understand.

“But you must have suspected SOMETHING before then!” Sunset countered clearly not deterred by the justification. “Apparently, you’ve had all the time in the world to turn this whole thing over!”

The need to retreat behind the pillar was starting to seem like a much more likely possibility than previously thought as Sunset didn’t stop her advance. “Ok, so I did suspect something wasn’t right, but it just didn’t seem important at the time.”

This was undoubtedly the wrong thing to say as Sunset’s temper reignited in full force.

“Not important? NOT IMPORTANT!? How is it not important for me to know that while I’m fooling around in school all of Equestria is passing me by!?” Sunset yelled at the alicorn who had finally given in to the temptation to shy away behind the stone column.

Knowing she had to make this right somehow Twilight did the only thing she could think of. She told the truth. “You’re right! I should have told you sooner, but I didn’t think you would ever come back to Equestria until you told me you weren’t satisfied in the human world. I didn’t want you to worry about something you couldn’t control while you were out there, living your life, so I never told you. I just wanted you to be happy!”

This last earnest declaration managed to finally cut through Sunset’s rage and cooled her into a much more sedated state of burning irritation. With a long-suffering sigh, the amber unicorn ceased her march and instead fell back into a seated position.

Noting the distinct lack of anything blowing up around her, Twilight tentatively poked her head around the pillar only to catch sight of a rather dejected amber unicorn sitting down and staring intently at the floor.

Any fear for her own safety was quickly pushed aside as Twilight stepped out from behind her hiding place determined to provide her friend with whatever comfort she could. Slowly but resolutely Twilight Sparkle walked over and sat beside the mare who seemed lost in her thoughts at the moment. After a few more moments of consideration, Twilight extended her wing and carefully wrapped it around Sunset, holding her as the two sat in the dim light and silence of the storage room.

After several minutes went by Twilight began to wonder if she should say something but she wasn’t sure if speaking now would help or set the unicorn off again.

As if sensing her worried thoughts, Sunset answered the unspoken question for her, “Don’t worry. I think I've gotten the worst of it out of my system already. I’m not planning on doing anything treasonous at the moment.”

“Well, that’s a relief.” Twilight laughed. "For a second there, I thought you might actually catch fire."

Just like that, the tension melted away as the two mares laughed at the absurdity of the whole scene.

The late evening found the pair sitting in one of the palace gardens enjoying a rather subdued tea party. Or at least, Twilight was enjoying a tea party. Sunset on the otherhoof seemed far more concerned with how many teacups she could juggle in her magic now that she had been reintroduced to her horn.

“You having fun there?” Twilight asked her dining partner with an amused expression.

Sunset at least had the decency to look abashed as she placed the majority of the royal china back onto the cart they came in on. “Sorry, it’s just been a while since I’ve been able to use my own magic. It’s like I’ve been missing a part of myself.”

“I understand. Fingers are no substitute for a horn” Twilight responded while telekinetically taking a sip from her cup as if to make her point.

“Eh, they’re not so bad once you get used to them,” Sunset shrugged. “It definitely got on my nerves when I’d think about something and it didn’t instantly happen though.”

After a shared laugh, Sunset decided it was time to talk business as she leaned forward and laid her forelegs on the table. “So, tell me, your majesty, what exactly does, ‘Royal lab assistant’ entail? You were a bit scarce on the details earlier.”

“So…Should I take that to mean you’re still interested in the position?” Twilight remarked as she set her own cup down onto the table. Sunset wondered if she was simply imagining the hopeful desperation that flickered in the alicorn’s eyes.

“I went through a lot of trouble to get here princess. I think I should at least give this a chance,” Came Sunset’s resolute reply.

“Well, as a teacher and scholar of magic I tend to do a lot of complex lab work in addition to my other duties. I need somepony who can help me with the types of experiments and research I do. You know, an assistant,” Twilight offhandedly clarified.

“You don’t already have an assistant?” Sunset asked out of curiosity. Surely the ruler of Equestria for what had apparently been several decades would have no shortage of willing hooves.

“I’m afraid not,” Twilight confirmed while shaking her head. “The type of work I generally get up to is very advanced, and there just aren’t a lot of unicorns with special talents in magic that can also keep up with an alicorn. Ever since my last student left Canterlot some time ago, I’ve had to make do on my own.”

“Well, I’m flattered Twilight,” Sunset said, and she meant it. To be considered worthy of such an advanced position, even after all her time away, was humbling, but she couldn’t claim to be as confident in her abilities as she once was. “I just don’t know if I’m ready for all that. I’ve been out of the game for a while.”

The alicorn reached over the table and placed her hoof over Sunset's own. “That’s okay Sunset. I’ll help you. We’ll have you doing magic better than ever in no time.”

The gentle action stirred up the well of different feelings Sunset always seemed to get when Twilight was involved. Rather than linger on the what and why she pushed forward with her next few questions. “So, what about independent research? No offense Twi, but I’d like to perform my own experiments at some point if I’m going to be staying here.”

The princess smiled at this, “You’ll have full access to the castle’s labs and resources as my assistant. What you do with them on your own time is your decision Sunset.”

“So, you’re saying I pretty much have free reign whenever you don’t need me? That’s some employee benefit you’re offering me. There’s a lot of trust involved in that.” Sunset stated with a flick of her hoof. Even as Princess Celestia’s personal student, she was never given such freedom. Especially considering that she was banished from the castle specifically because she was researching materials she was not permitted to have.

“What can I say? I trust you,” Twilight offered with a shrug in place of an explanation. “Besides, I’m actually pretty curious to see what sort of research you’ll get up to once you get back into the swing of things. Who knows, maybe I could be your assistant every now and then.”

All things considered, it was a very generous offer. Then again, Sunset knew Twilight to be a very generous pony.

Sunset couldn’t help but notice the strange dichotomy in the pony before her. It was like she was both the exact same and completely different at the same time. All the qualities that made Twilight worthy of the title bestowed upon her were still in place, but they were all tangled up in the form of this new regal and proper ruler. Twilight Sparkle was many things, but poised and graceful would have been some of the last words Sunset would have used to describe her.
Yet here she sat, the mirror image of Celestia herself, the very picture of an experienced and composed ruler.

“Your majesty,” interrupted one of the palace attendants in a refined accent. “Forgive me for intruding, but I believe the sun was due to set nearly a half-hour ago.”

Twilight’s eyes widened so fast Sunset was surprised they didn’t pop right out of her head. “GAH! I LOST TRACK OF TIME!” the alicorn shouted loud enough for the majority of the garden to hear.

Well, she was composed most of the time these days anyway.

This time it was Sunset’s turn to do the comforting as she left her seat and made to place a supportive hoof on her friend’s back. “breathe Twilight,” encouraged the unicorn as the lavender princess proceeded to start heaving.

“I’m fine, I’m TOTALLY fine, don’t worry,” choked out the alicorn once her short panic subsided. “Well, since you’re here, would you care to accompany me as I lower the sun and raise the moon?” offered the now, once again, perfectly composed princess.

Sunset performed a mock bow in response. “I would be honored to join you, your highness.”

Twilight couldn’t quite suppress the roll of her eyes as she used her horn to prepare a teleportation spell for both of them.

“Hold on Twi, I think I’ve got this” declared Sunset with a raised hoof as her own horn started glowing.

Then, with a red and magenta flash accompanied by a brief pop, both ponies were gone.

Less than a second later a flash of magenta light on the tower balcony signaled the arrival of the majestic alicorn ruler of Equestria. This was followed by a flash of red that roughly deposited the small unicorn body of one Sunset Shimmer, who found herself making out with the floor for the second time that day.

“Not…One…Word,” growled out the frazzled unicorn who to her credit did make the entire trip under her own power after several years without practice.

This remarkable achievement did nothing to stifle the giggles of her royal companion who turned to face the sunlit sky. Sunset had barely gotten back onto her hooves before the sun began to descend, guided by the glowing horn of Twilight Sparkle.

Sunset had seen Celestia lower the sun and raise the moon many times throughout her foalhood, and each time it was one of the most majestic sights she had ever seen. Seeing Twilight perform the same act was…different somehow. When Celestia had lowered the sun and raised the moon her eyes were always focused on the movements of the celestial bodies as they danced across the sky. Now, Sunset’s eyes were focused on Twilight as the lowering sun and rising moon illuminated her new figure in a dazzling light that made her look every bit the part of a divine being. It was utterly breathtaking.

“That was beautiful, Twilight,” Sunset uttered in her now trance-like state.

This prompted Twilight to face her with a small but genuine smile on her face. “Really? I figured you’d have seen this a hundred times before.”

This seemed to snap the young mare back to reality. “O-Oh! Uhm...right! It’s just, y'know been a while and all.” Sunset stuttered out while wondering why she was tripping over herself to begin with.

Preferring to take her mind off these things at the moment, the amber unicorn decided to make small talk. “So, it’s just you raising the sun and moon all by yourself these days, huh?”

Right after the words left her mouth, Twilight’s demeanor took on a sudden shift. Several emotions Sunset had never seen before on the lavender pony made themselves at home. Whereas before Twilight could have easily passed for a goddess, now she suddenly looked almost weary. Her towering figure sagged ever so slightly, her eyes cast downward, and her voice took on an edge that sounded more worn out than it had been previously as she answered, “Yeah…it’s just me.”

Whatever Sunset had done to bring about this sudden change in countenance she was desperate to undo. “Well, now that the moon’s up, how about you show me to where I’ll be staying?” she prompted hoping the task would pull Twilight out of this stupor.

“…Of course. I’d be happy too. Just follow me.” Twilight instructed in a voice that was no longer melancholy but still sounded older than before.

As she followed behind her friend, Sunset wondered what brought on such a shift in the princess. She could only imagine what could cause an immortal alicorn to suddenly look so very…tired.

“And this is the private wing of the castle, where me and my guests sleep. You can spend the night here and I'll give you a full tour of the castle tomorrow.” Twilight finished as the pair of equines entered the hall containing the castle’s most secluded bedchambers.

“Thanks, Twi, but you really don’t need to give me a tour. I used to live here, remember?” Sunset pointed out now that Twilight had finally come to a stop.

“Oh, um…well, it’s just been a while since you’ve been here, and I figured…you see the castle’s been remodeled a few times since…”

“At ease, your highness,” Sunset chuckled, feeling merciful enough to spare Twilight the trouble of working herself up over nothing. Thankfully, whatever had come over her on the tower balcony had faded and Twilight was back to being her usual self. If anything, she was acting even more like herself than she had been when they had first reunited. Sunset found herself thinking how nice it was, being able to spend time together again.

“Besides, it’s like you said. It’s been a while since I’ve been here, so it might be good to get a refresher on a few parts of the place. Although, is it just me, or does a lot of the castle look newer than I remember? I noticed a few new towers, but even the ones I remember look different.” Sunset remarked as she pondered how a castle several centuries-old could manage to look younger after several decades.

“Well, it’s a funny story actually. You see, a while back some of the castle might have been…absolutely destroyed. Did I forget to mention that?” Twilight said with a sheepish smile on her face.

“No, I don’t think it ever came up,” Sunset responded with a deadpan look on her face. “Exactly, how much of the castle was destroyed while I was gone?” Sunset asked with a quirked eyebrow.

“Oh, not much, if I had to guess I’d say about…half.


“Actually, now that I think about it, it might have been closer to three fourths.”

“You managed to knock over most of the castle?” Sunset gawked at the information that her childhood home had for the most part been dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up.

“Of course not, it wasn’t ME!” Twilight quickly defended. “It was a group of villains who were trying to destroy me,” Twilight explained as though the clarification was crucial.

“Ok, I guess I’ll be needing that tour of the castle after all.” Sunset got out, though still processing how even the most timeless structure in Equestria had changed while she was away. If not even the castle of Canterlot was the same anymore, how much had the rest of Equestria changed?

“Sunset, are you alright?” Twilight asked noticing her friend’s now distant behavior.

“I-I’m fine Twilight, could you take me to my room now. I think I’m ready to turn in.” Sunset answered.

Twilight wordlessly trotted over to the end of the hall with Sunset in tow and gestured to an ornate door. “Here we are. Just let me know if you need anything at all. My room is behind the large door in the center of the hall if you ever need me. You can’t miss it.”

“Thanks, Twilight, I think this will be fine,” Sunset said, still slightly disconnected from the world around her.

“Alright then, goodnight Sunset, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Goodnight Twi.”

Twilight began to depart in order to give her friend some privacy, but just before she left, she turned her head to face the unicorn behind her. “And Sunset, I’m glad you’re here.”

As Twilight made her way out of the hall, Sunset couldn’t help but wonder what to make of Twilight now. Just like the rest of Equestria, there was so much about her she no longer knew. So familiar, but also so different. It was beginning to make her head hurt.

Once Sunset managed to collect herself, she used her magic to open the door before her and was greeted with a sight she had not witnessed in a long time.

Her living conditions had never been glamorous in the human world. Living by herself and surviving off her wits and whatever money she managed to earn from her various part-time jobs often meant that her standard of living was rarely above a single room apartment with some cheap furniture thrown in.

What was before her now was undeniably lavish. The room was pristine and tastefully decorated. There was a door off to the side that likely contained the private bathroom, plenty of storage shelves for whatever books and trinkets she might wish to adorn her room with, and a study area for paper and book work.

Nice as the overall area was, however, none of it mattered compared to the centerpiece of the room. A royal queen-sized bed positioned in the center of the back wall, decorated in the silkiest sheets and most lavish pillows Sunset had seen in ages.

As if she didn’t have a moment to lose Sunset placed her saddlebag onto the floor, locked the door behind her, and hopped onto the waiting mattress.

Had she been born a Pegasus, she imagined that this would have been what if felt like to lay upon a cloud.

Everything was different now. Sunset knew that. She knew that eventually, she’d have to deal with exactly what that meant for her, her life, and her relationship with everyone and everypony she knew, but for now, she just wanted to enjoy a night on a bed that didn’t give her back pain.

Author's Note:

And so here we are at the moment I'm sure a lot of people have been waiting for. Plenty of readers no doubt guessed where this was heading. I give you, Sunset Shimmer in the future!

The concept came to me LONG before the specifics, so the actual mechanics of the mirror were easily the hardest thing to wrestle with so far, and to be honest likely will continue to be so. It's never really been dealt with in the show proper and likely never will be.

Still, I had an idea for what I wanted to happen, where I wanted most of the characters to be, and what I wanted to do after. The only thing I didn't have, was an acceptable way to pass time. I couldn't come up with an acceptable time exchange ratio that wouldn't also mean an young adult Sunset left for the human world a while before Twilight was even born which I am 99.9% certain is not what happened.

So hey, one day I figured, my story, my rules, PLOT DEVICE time! Twilight's machine she built in 5 minutes to negate half the conflict of the first movie actually had some drawbacks in this story.
Figured it would also explain why out of nowhere Twilight starts doing so much while Sunset hasn't even made it through an entire year. It's not something I'll want to do often, but it seemed like the way to make everything move smoothly.

tl;dr The story is about to shift into what it promised, next chapter. I hope you're all still enjoying, and if you're not be sure to tell me why either way. I'd hate to write things nobody enjoys. Can't promise I'll listen to all criticism, but I'll definitely consider it.