An Equestria Girls prequel fic, focusing on what happened when Sunset Shimmer came to the human world.
When Sunset Shimmer lost her position as Princess Celestia's personal protege, she set forth with a plan to become stronger than Celestia could ever imagine. This plan involved traveling through a mirror, that took her to a land far different than she could have ever expected. This is the story of the years she spent in this new world.
An Equestria Girls prequel fic, focusing on what happened when Sunset Shimmer came to the human world. Where she lived, how she handled it, how she adjusted, and how she became who she was by the time Equestria Girls came to be.
“If we cannot get past this, your studies end here. You are no longer welcome in the castle.”
Those were the words ringing in Sunset's head as she packed her bags. In her head there was no doubt that this was Celestia's most foolish decision ever. Sunset was powerful, more powerful than any unicorn in Canterlot right now, possibly in all of Equestria, and yet this was how she was being treated. Thrown out without being given the power and respect she deserved. She wasn't about to take this lying down.
The guards that were assigned to escort her were watching her intently, making sure she didn't make any sudden breaks for it till they had finished with their escort. Not that there was anything about them that intimidated Sunset, they were nothing more than living scarecrows to her. Their presence was meant to intimidate her, but that job was failing miserably because there was nothing they could possibly do to hurt her. She was going along with what they wanted from her for the moment though. It would be easier this way until her plan could come to fruition.
She looked into her bag real quick, making sure she had everything she needed. Inside was a bag of all the bits she had on her, several gems used for enchanting or spell components, a few of her spell books, and some parchment and ink with quills. It wasn't much, but she never needed a lot as it was. Besides, everything else was something that she considered belonging to Celestia, and if she was going to show her former mentor what a mistake this was, she wasn't going to be using anything she had given her.
She hadn't had much time to read about the mirror before Celestia had walked in on her, but the basics of what she had time to skim through had said that it was a portal to another realm. It opened up once every 30 moons, that was the part that concerned Sunset at the moment. How long from now would it be till the portal opened next? She could sneak into the castle every day for the next two years if she had to, but that idea troubled her. She would most likely get caught if she kept risking entering the castle like that, and if that happened they'd likely lock the mirror away in a place she couldn't reach.
She shook her head and tossed away the thoughts for the time being. She would have plenty of time to consider her plans once she had set up a base of operations in Canterlot.
Reaching out to close her bag, her eyes fell upon the brown tome with a sun emblazoned on the front. The very book that let her and Princess Celestia be in contact with each other no matter where they were or how far apart each of them was. She levitated the book over to her and held it in her hooves, scowling at it, remembering what it meant to own it.
On one hoof, she was ready to cut ties with Celestia entirely if this was how she was going to be treated. On the other though, once she had gained the power she deserved she could always use it as a means of contacting Celestia as part of her plan to truly rub it in Celestia's face.
Her ego won out in the end and she slipped the journal into her bag next the spellbooks.
“Are you finished?” One of the guards asked very sternly, and in her opinion very rudely.
“Yes, I have gathered all that's worth bringing with me.” Sunset huffed, placing the bag on her back. The meager pile of items would pale in comparison to all she could obtain once she was through the portal.
“Very well then. Follow us.” The guard gruffed roughly, nodding his head towards the hallway and turning to begin walking. As they walked through the castle towards the front door, they followed her closely at her sides. The fastest path to the front door took them past a certain room, her eyes looking at the open door as they began to pass by it.
Even just walking past the room, she could clearly see the mirror plain as day. Looking at the mirror from this angle, a thought popped into her head. If she could confirm the portal wasn't open today, then she could start accurately tracking when it'd be open next. Grabbing hold of a loose marble pebble on the ground with her magic, she tossed the small object as hard as she could. The stone skipped against the ground before rushing into the mirror's face and passing right through it.
Sunset stopped in her tracks as she stared in disbelief at the mirror. She could clearly see the ripples going across it's surface as the pebble had passed through it unimpeded. She couldn't believe the sheer luck of her discovery, the portal was already open!
“Hey, keep moving!” One of the guards spoke, turning to Sunset with a glare on his face. Sunset turned to him, a look of disbelief lingering on her face, before a devilish grinning formed.
A bright flash filled the hallway as the two guards were hit with a powerful concussion spell, the two of them instantly going limp from the spell. Without wasting a second longer she galloped as fast as she could for the mirror, jumping straight into it and feeling the waves of magic pass across her body as she hurdled through it.
What followed was a torrential spiral of magical energy, pulling and stretching her body as she barreled through the barrier between realms. The rush of sensations was too much for her and she squeezed her eyes shut, trying to push out the feeling of magic cascading across her entire body.
With one last push through the torrent of magic, she came out the other side landing on a hard cement floor. Her head was still spinning but the rest of her body seemed none the worse for wear. With a groan she picked herself up onto all fours and rubbed her face, trying to clear her vision.
Blinking to let her eyes adjust, she could instantly tell that wherever she had landed it was the middle of the night. A large building towered in front of her, it's outline against the night sky making it look like a castle. A light breeze was blowing through the area and her hair was being pushed in front of her face. What she noticed more than that though, was the sensation of wind blowing clothes tighter against her body.
“What the...” She muttered, turning to look behind her. The moment she did, everything seemed wrong.
Her body was long and lanky, unlike her pony body. Her tail was missing outright, and her hind-legs were bent in half as they supported her body in a strange position. Her fur was gone, a layer of skin of the same color showing instead, and clothes had been placed onto her body; A leather jacket, pink shirt, orange skirt, and black and pink boots to be exact. Even her saddle bags had changed, from the side-hanging bags to a backpack.
Sunset began to shake, a mixture of rage, panic, and fear filling her body as she quickly sat down and lifted her front legs to examine them too. The ends of her hooves looked like they had turned into claws of a dragon, though far more thin and brittle. She could move each of her digits independently, a feeling that felt strange and foreign in this new body.
“What in Tartarus am I!?” Sunset shouted, pressing her hands against her body and face trying to decipher what was going on. Her hands frantically traced the outline of her head, before quickly finding her horn also missing. “MY HORN TOO!?” She cried out, gripping her hair and pulling at it as if that would somehow allow her to look at her forehead clearer.
“This must be a mistake, a bad joke!” Sunset landed back on her claws, panting heavily as she hyper ventilated. “The mirror showed me, it SHOWED ME, how powerful I would become here! That I could truly get the power I DESERVE if I went through it! So what is this!?” She slammed a curled up fist against the ground. “Without my horn I can't cast magic! And how can I gain any power WITHOUT MY MAGIC!?”
The strands of hair fell in front of Sunset's face as she panted heavily, trying to desperately calm herself and not let the rage consume her. She was in a strange new world and she needed to be able to think clearly. She had expected to enter this world as the unicorn she had left, but that's not what happened and she had to deal with that now.
“Calm down Sunset, think rationally.” She took several sharp, deep breaths as she reassured herself. “The mirror showed you how to attain power in this world. All you have to do now is figure out how to achieve it. Even if you've turned into some sort of...” Sunset looked at her body again, trying to think of what she was reminded of most looking at herself, “...Monkey thing? Whatever, there's power here, I know there has to be. Celestia might be able to lie, but this mirror can't.”
With her heart slowing down and her mind cooling, she sat there speaking to herself. “I should investigate this place first. There's no point in having come here only to immediately turn back and go home. Not that I even have a home to go back to.” She snarled at that last remark.
Sunset placed herself onto all fours again, pausing to contemplate movement. She started by walking like she would as a pony, finding her hind legs lifting her hips far too high into the air and her head way too low to the ground. It only took her a few seconds to realize how ridiculous it felt to move like that. The limbs at such radically different lengths did not make moving at a decent pace feel good, she had to stagger her gait in order for her movements to line up and that just wasn't working for her. Not to mention with her head at this angle all she could see was cement and grass, not to mention it just didn't feel dignified. She felt like she was trying to 'present' herself to everyone, and that idea was just mortifying.
Sitting back down she sat on her ankles with her knees in front of her, putting a clenched hand to her chin trying to think about this. There was obviously a natural way for this species to move, but there weren't any around for her to observe.
Another gust of wind rushed by her, carrying a wild piece of paper that flew by and smacked itself straight into her face. Sunset yelped in surprise at the sudden assault of paper, before grabbing it and ripping it from her face and glaring down at it, before blinking in surprise.
She was able to read what was written on the paper, something she hadn't fully expected to happen. Being such a different species entirely, she would've expected to not be able to comprehend the language in this world, but there it was plain as day, Equestrian. That simplified matters at least, she wouldn't have to deal with any annoying language barriers, just likely cultural ones.
“Canterlot High Sundance...” She mumbled to herself reading the flier out loud to herself, “The CHS Yearbook committee will be hosting formal pictures at this year's blah blah blah.” Sunset huffed, blowing a strand of hair out of her face before turning to look at the dark building that was still looming over her. “So this is a school huh? It could be of some use, I need more information about this world after all.”
She turned back to the piece of paper and quickly examined it again, before noticing a picture placed on the paper that gave her pause for thought. It was two creatures that looked similar to what she did now, dancing together under a spotlight. They were very clearly standing upright on their hind legs to do it. If Sunset had to take a guess, that was how they moved around in this world.
Looking down at her legs, she wondered how that was possible. They didn't look strong enough to support her entire body weight, but they must be able to if the others in the species could. Lifting one knee up, she braced the flat of her foot against the ground, readying herself to stand up. With a deep breathe she focused on her balance, then pushed down and stood up.
The sensation came a little easier than she had expected it too, her body doing most of the work on it's own. What was throwing her off was her own preconceived notions of balance, adjusting to the idea of going from four legs to two. Her arms flailed around as her body wobbled, she reached out for support and found herself grabbing hold of a metal pipe that was part of the staircase into the building.
With several deep breathes, she focused her concentration and practiced walking. Using the metal pole for guidance she walked in what would be loosely called a straight line. Next she focused on making turns, then going up and down the stairs, and then getting a feel for the movement. It only took her a few minutes, but soon she was walking without the help of the metal bar. With confident strides, she almost felt like she'd been walking on two legs her whole life.
“That wasn't so hard. It certainly just goes to show how incredible I am.” Sunset smirked, brushing a strand of hair out of her face. Walking had been far easier than she expected, once she got the rhythm down her body seemed to do most of the work for her. Getting used to the appendages at the end of her claws would take far more getting used to though.
“Alright, now that navigation isn't a problem...” Sunset turned with her new found confidence, “I've been conveniently dropped in front of a school, a place of education. I can start my search here for information about this world, and perhaps figure out how to gain that power that the mirror promised me.”
Walking up the front steps of Canterlot High she stopped at the glass doors. She channeled magic into her horn and commanded them to open for her.
Much to her initial shock, the doors didn't swing upon at her beck and call. She grit her teeth in frustration before her brain reminded her that she no longer had her horn in this world, and as such no access to her magic. She smacked her hand against her face and grumbled loudly, before reaching out and grabbing hold of the door handle and pulling on it.
The door clicked before refusing to budge, much to Sunset's continued annoyance. She struggled with it a moment longer before moving on to the next door, and the next, and the next. Reaching the last door she raised her foot up and kicked it as hard as she could muster, only getting a resonating 'clunk' for her efforts, as well as losing her balance and landing hard on her butt.
“GUH! What is wrong with this stupid world!? It's fighting me at every turn!” She growled, rubbing her behind as she stood up, glaring at the glass doors refusing to part for her. “I apparently don't have enough strength to just break these glass doors, and I doubt any good would come from me doing so. If I get into any trouble, I don't have my magic to save me from it. Tch.” Sunset clicked her teeth before bringing a hand up to her mouth and biting on one of the knuckles in frustration.
“I've come this far only for me to have to turn back?” She grumbled to herself, staring at the statue not far from the school's entrance. The arch ways that made it's stand must've been the portal on this side of the mirror, meaning she could go back now. “Ugh, dammit.” She growled, stomping her foot against the cement, “I need to come back when it's daytime, I can't do anything while it's dark.”
She stormed her way back over to the portal, a snarl stuck to her face. She hated admitting any form of defeat, but she wasn't ready to face this world without a proper plan just yet. She knew the portal was open, so she'd spend the night coming up with a proper plan from her initial survey and then return during the morning when she'd likely run into other monkey things.
She walked with purpose towards the statue, stretched her arm out, and fully expected to just waltz her way back through the portal, only thinking about what she was going to do if she ran into Celestia upon exiting.
Her whole body smacked against the hard marble statue, bouncing her back on staggering feet. Sunset stood there stunned, looking at where she had entered this world.
“W-What...” She stammered, approaching again and pressing her hand against the marble surface. “No.... No! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!” Sunset screamed, slammed her fists against the portal repeatedly, desperately begging for it to open. “OPEN DAMN YOU! I NEED TO GO BACK! I NEED A PLAN! YOU CAN'T ABANDON ME HERE!” She screamed, slamming her fists so hard she could feel pain surging through them before slamming them both one last time against it.
She was hyperventilating again, tears brimming at the edges of her eyes. Was this some kind of sick joke? Some kind of trap? Had Celestia showed her the mirror just so that if she ever disobeyed her or became a threat she could just trap her on this side of the portal? In a world where there was no magic and she could barely even walk?
No, no Celestia had never been that devious and cruel... Unless Sunset had just never seen that side of her before. The Princess was thousands of years old, it was entirely possible she had just developed a stronger poker face than even Sunset could imagine.
Her fists were bruised and trembling as she weakly slammed one against the statue again, “No... No you can't leave me here...” Her voice was stuttering as her body collapsed to her knees, weakly punching the statue again and again, “I don't deserve this... How could you do this to me!?” Tears began to streak down her face as she finally stopped hitting the inanimate object. “Why didn't you just recognize my power!? Is this how you treat your pupils!? I deserved to be a Princess dammit!” Sunset inhaled sharply repeatedly, unable to stop the flow of tears.
She turned her back to the statue and curled up into a ball, crying into her knees helplessly. She was completely alone now, with no way to return home. The Princess had banished her from the castle, she probably didn't even care that she was trapped on this side of the mirror now. She was probably having the guards fetch her some cake while she laughed, stuffing her mouth and rejoicing that she had finally gotten rid of her problem student.
Sunset wiped her face with the sleeve of her jacket, trying to calm her breathing. Her emotions were bubbling over again, the sadness in the pit of her stomach boiling over into rage again. Celestia had certainly gotten what she wanted. She was rid of her now, out of her hair, no more having to give lectures or teach pointless lessons. She'd probably just be happy for a while, Tartarus she probably wouldn't even get a new pupil for a while she'd be so relieved to not have one.
Not that there was ever a pupil Celestia could get that would be better than she had ever been.
The wind blew again, this time sending a chill down Sunset's spine as she realized the night air was actually a little chilly. She shuddered and rubbed her sleeves, her face stinging from the wind. She weakly got to her feet and walked towards the large building again, looking to just get out of the wind.
She looked around the staircase, seeing that the sides of the building had bushes to hide her from the wind. She pulled the backpack off of her back and placed it on the ground as she sat down next to the side of the school and looked up at the night sky.
The moon here was very different, lacking the distinctive marks of the mare in the moon. It was pure white, a site that made Sunset uncomfortable. It just highlighted how alone and abandoned she felt in this world, to not even have the watchful mare of the night looking down at her.
A wave of exhaustion hit Sunset next, the energy expended from her rollercoaster of emotions finally hitting her. She shuddered and rubbed her sleeves again, unsure about sleeping in a strange new world. She tried to push the creeping thought that she was going to have to get used to this out of her mind as she gently laid down on the grass.
“Well... At least the grass feels and smells the same...” She said, gripping a handful of grass, the only comforting thing she had in that world so far. She carefully pulled her leather jacket off and laid it on top of her torso as a make shift blanket, curling up near a bush and closing her eyes.
If this really was a school, someone would likely come round in the morning. She could figure out what to do then. For now, she needed to regain her energy.
With her troubled thoughts slipping away, Sunset fell into a restless sleep.
Sunset snapped awake, bolting upright into a sitting position. She looked in front of her, before shielding her eyes at the glare of the morning sun that was only just beginning to rise from behind the hills.
“Excuse me, what are you doing sleeping on school grounds?”
That voice... Sunset would recognize that voice from anywhere! She squinted her eyes through the suns rays and saw the familiar flowing hair of her mentor, those commanding purple eyes looking down at her, that pinkish white coat.
“P-Princess Celestia!” Sunset chimed up, so happy to see her mentor again. She wanted to jump up and into her embrace and just forget the nightmare that she had traveled through the mirror and been stranded in a world with no magic and no way to get home.
“Princess? You must still be asleep. It's Principal Celestia.”
Sunset's short lived happiness shattered into a thousand tiny pieces as the light lifted a little higher and the outline of the creature before her became more clear. The figure was Celestia in color only, instead she was yet another monkey-thing, with a similar long and flowing multicolored hair, deep purple eyes, and a tan button up jacket with long purple pants. A fake Celestia had appeared before her.
“And I'm going to ask you again, why are you sleeping on school grounds?” The tall monkey asked, eyebrow raised looking at the teen girl curiously.
Sunset's hands gripped the grass tightly as she looked down at the ground, realizing that last night wasn't a terrible nightmare. She really had gone through the portal, and she really had been trapped on this side of it. Princess Celestia had really abandoned her. And now some wanna-be look alike was standing in front of her.
The thought was pissing Sunset off more and more as the dawning realizations filled her mind again.
“...Are you going to answer my question or not? I don't want to have to call security and have you removed by force ma'am.” Principal Celestia said, sternness growing in her voice.
Security? Dammit, Sunset couldn't afford to have guards called on her already. She had to do something, anything.
“Ah, sorry about that.” Sunset chimed, lifting her head and putting on her best fake smile to try and smooth the situation over. “I uh... I got lost last night and I just sort of ended up falling asleep here! So sorry about that.” She placed her hand against the wall and struggled to her feet, dusting off her clothes as she stood up, before slipping her arms back through the leather jacket.
“Got lost? The only thing around here are this school and the neighborhood. Where exactly were you going?” Celestia asked, clearly not buying Sunset's story.
“Oh... Uh...” Sunset struggled for a moment, trying to come up with a believable story. This was one of the reasons why she wanted to get back home last night, to give her a chance to think this through. She always thought of herself as pretty good at thinking on her hooves, but she knew Equestria like the front of her hoof. This wasn't Equestria though.
“I... was... looking... too...” Sunset scanned around her surroundings, looking at the statue, to the school, to the fake Celestia before her, to the ground, and then to her backpack. “Oh!” She cried out, an idea finally sparking in her head as she clapped her hands together and got a bright grin on her face. “I was looking for the school so that I could sign up for classes! Yes, that's it! I guess I found it, but it was so late and I was so tired I just sort of conked out here!” She let out a bit of a forced laugh, to try and make her sound as casual as possible.
It was the best possible lie she could think of for the moment, after all it had a hint of truth to it. She really was looking to learn about this world, and what better place to do it than a school? If it was anything like an Equestrian school she could get herself in fairly easily.
“You came looking to... sign up for classes.” It was a question, but Celestia said it more as a statement, pursing her lips as she looked at Sunset strangely. Sunset hesitated, seeing the look on her face and started to sweat a little. She may have been a fake Celestia, but she had a lot of the same mannerisms and cold stares when she needed them.
“Y-Yes... I-Is that a problem?” Sunset stuttered, trying to keep her calm. She hated sounding so weak, but her resolve was being thoroughly tested at the moment.
“Do you live in the district then? Or are you looking to join one of our magnet programs?” Celestia asked, reaching into her purse and pulling out a few pieces of paper that had been stored inside.
“Uuuuhh...” Sunset stumbled, not quite understanding the question. However, she figured it was probably a bad idea to mention that she lived nearby with no way to back that up for the moment. If she feigned that she lived away from here, then she might be able to work with that. “For the... Magnet program?” She nervously smiled her reply, uncertain of what that actually meant.
“I see... Well, you do look like a freshman, though I must admit this is highly unorthodox.” Celestia muttered, looking up from her papers to the nervous Sunset. “You really should have just come here with your parents or guardian. And it would've been far easier if you had come to sign up at one of our Magnet fairs. The school year is almost over so you can always register early for next year.” Celestia said, handing Sunset one of the papers in her hand.
Sunset hesitantly took it, looking the paper over. This was not at all what she was expecting. In an Equestrian school you only needed to register as a student, and in higher education prove you were qualified to study there. Reading over this registration paperwork, they needed so much documentation that Sunset couldn't provide it was making her head spin.
“Go home and give your parents or guardian that paperwork and let them finish it. Then come back to turn it in. And try not to make it a habit of sleeping outside.” Principal Celestia shook her head disapprovingly before turning towards the school and heading inside.
“W-Wait!” Sunset called out, causing Celestia to stop and to turn towards the girl again. “What if...” Sunset clenched her fingers around the paper, uncertain of this approach. “What if I can't have anyone sign this?”
“...What do you mean?” Celestia asked, turning to Sunset and crossing her arms with an eye brow raised.
Sunset gulped. This was all or nothing now. Her usual confidence was gone, replaced with a sense of dread that if she screwed this up, she was going to screw up her entire life here in this new world.
“I mean... What if I don't HAVE any parents or guardians that can sign this? I still want to register for your school though!” Sunset held her breath as she explained that. There was no way she could tell this school Principal about Equestria or having ran away from it or having been banished, she'd never believe her. She had no one in this world, she was completely alone.
And as much as she wanted to be confident right now, she couldn't muster the right emotions. If this failed she was just going to have re-do in a different location, but she couldn't go too far away from the portal. She needed this to be the school so she could study both this world and the portal.
“...What's your name? You clearly know mine.” Principal Celestia asked, her stern tone dropping for a moment into a more familiar and comforting tone to Sunset.
“Sunset Shimmer.” Sunset said, still holding her breath. She stared at Celestia, who stared back at her. Her look was no longer the piercing glare, though Sunset wished it still was, she had gotten used to Celestia's glares. She had just never been good at dealing with Celestia when she went into any kind of 'nurturing' mood.
“Sunset, I think it's best if we discuss this further in my office. Follow me.” Celestia half commanded, half asked. Sunset wasn't sure of what to make of that tone, but she let out a bit of a sigh of relief. The tension of the situation had been getting to her, but Celestia seemed to have bought her story. She squeezed the paper in her fingers tighter and smirked. She finally had a bit of her confidence back from having succeeded this far, she just needed to take it all the way.
Principal Celestia quickly unlocked the front doors to the school and Sunset followed behind her footsteps. As she walked down the corridors of the school, she oddly got the feeling it was similar but different to Canterlot Castle. It was clearly a school, but the sense of atmosphere and set up of the building felt very familiar. It was a strange feeling for the girl.
Walking behind the Principal of this school also brought back memories of walking with Princess Celestia through the castle. A scowl formed on Sunset's face as she remembered the Princess. Ugly memories of the last few weeks popped in her mind, followed by those words she had spoken.
“If we cannot get past this, your studies end here. You are no longer welcome in the castle.”
There was no doubt in her mind that Celestia truly had desired to get rid of her that day. She may be trapped in this strange new world, but thinking about how Celestia had treated her, perhaps it was better this way. She would show her how wrong she was for throwing her out one day, she just needed time. She needed time to study, time to prepare, time to figure out this world. Even if this fake Celestia was trying to be nice to her now, she'd just use that kindness to manipulate her into giving her what she wanted. And then she could focus on her revenge.
“In here.” Principal Celestia stopped, turning to a door and unlocking it. The door was clearly labeled as Celestia's office and Sunset followed her in. Celestia placed her purse down behind her desk as Sunset closed the door to the room. “Take a seat over there.” She said before taking her own seat behind the desk.
Sunset planted herself firmly into the seat and looked over at the older female. Celestia folded her hands on top of her desk and looked concerned at Sunset. Sunset couldn't help but feel like she was suddenly under a spot light in the room, as if she was about to be scrutinized for every detail.
“Tell me Sunset... How old are you?” Principal Celestia asked first.
“Oh... my age?” Sunset asked, rubbing the back of her neck as she thought. Would Equestrian years translate to the same years here? They would right? She didn't know at what ages these creatures matured, so she could only go with the truth for the moment. “I'm 14.” Half-truth. She was 13, though she would be turning 14 next month so it might as well have been true.
“...I want you to be completely honest with me here Sunset. I can't help you if you lie to me.” Celestia's tone had turned very serious, causing Sunset to blink. Had she seen through her already? “Sunset... Are you running away from home?”
Sunset paused at that question. Technically that was half true, though she hadn't intended to stay away from home, she just came to amass a wealth of power and then return to show Celestia what a better ruler for Equestria she would be.
“...Would it matter if I was?” Sunset asked, trying to gauge the situation before her.
“It would matter greatly, yes. If you are having problems at home then I can help you. But I can only help if you tell me there's a problem.” Sunset couldn't help but get the feeling Celestia was talking about one thing while she was going through another. Still, this was better footing for her than she had when she first saw the Principal. She could possibly work with this, rather than be panicking over uncertainty.
“Here's the thing though.” Sunset spoke choosing her words carefully, “It doesn't really matter if I'm running away from home or not. I don't have a home to return to.”
“Don't have... Did your parents kick you out?” Celestia asked, concern apparent in her voice.
“No... Well, yes technically?” Crap, she was faltering. Princess Celestia had kicked her out, but that was really only half the problem. “I was kicked out, but I also can't go back home because there's no home to go back to.” Sunset tried to emphasize her sentence so that the Principal would understand that there was no physical home for her to go back to.
“I don't fully understand.” Celestia furrowed her brow, linking her fingers as she tried to understand the situation, “It seems that you can't go home to your parents though. Do you have family nearby that you can stay with?”
“Nope.” Sunset shrugged at that one. That much was easily true, there wasn't anyone here that was family to her. Nor was there anyone in Equestria. Unless she chose to consider Princess Celestia as her mother figure, and right now that was the last thing she wanted to consider.
“Sunset, if you have no place to go, no family to speak of, and no way of returning to your parents, then I'm afraid I'm going to have no choice but to contact Child Protective Services and have them figure out what's going on.” Celestia shook her head disappointed.
“Child... Protective Services?” Sunset queried with her own brow furrowed. That didn't sound good. “What are they going to do?”
“They will make sure that you have a safe place to live, get you registered for school, and if there's no family to take care of you, then they'll most likely try to find foster parents for you.” Celestia explained the details.
“Well none of that sounds like a good idea.” Sunset growled, closing her eyes and pushing a hand through her hair. She didn't know when, but she had somehow grown more comfortable with the situation. Was it because she was talking with Celestia again? That was the only thing she could figure out, but she was at least starting to feel like herself again. “If they take me away they could move me away from here, and I need to be here.” Sunset explained, leaning against the desk and tapping her fist against it for emphasis. “If I get taken away, it'll ruin everything.”
“It would be in your best interest to have a proper place to live that you can call a home though.” Celestia explained, “They'll make sure you have loving parents, a roof over your head, warm meals, and you'll be able to get an education. They can provide so much for you.”
“Ugh. Do I really look like I'm struggling for an education?” Sunset rolled her eyes, resting her elbow against the desk. “Ask me any math question and I'll answer it correctly. I've studied up to Calculus so far and before this all happened I was going to start looking into Number Theory.” She wanted to study history and magic here, not numbers or chemicals. She had done plenty of that back in Equestria.
Celestia blinked at that, having been thrown off her game a little at that. “I don't understand Sunset Shimmer. If you're running from home, but also have no home to return to, no family to speak of, and don't want any help from CPS, then what exactly is it that you're after? Why are you so determined to register at CHS?”
Sunset paused at that. She wanted to study this world, she wanted to study the portal, she wanted a base of operations for when she showed Celestia how well she could do without her. This school would be the perfect place to do that with it being so close to the portal.
“There are things I can only learn from here Principal.” Sunset said bitterly, closing her eyes in thought. “This is the only place in the entire world that can give me the education I actually need. I'm not even talking figuratively, I do mean literally. Your school is the only place I belong right now, and if I can't go here... I don't know what I'll do but I haven't thought that far ahead.” Sunset opened her eyes and turned to Celestia, looking her in the eye. “So are you going to help me or not?”
The two of them stared into each others eyes for what felt like hours, Sunset wanting to try and intimidate the educator into submitting, but somehow it just wasn't working as well as she had hoped it was going to.
“Tell you what Sunset Shimmer, I will make you a deal.” Principal Celestia said closing her eyes and intertwining her fingers.
“A deal?” Sunset asked, raising an eyebrow.
“If you tell me the full story of what's going on with you, then I will help you register for classes. I will even provide you with a place to live for the time being.” Celestia opened her eyes and looked Sunset in the eyes, the intensity of her gaze could pierce ice, “However, if you do not I will contact CPS and I will have them take care of this situation. I cannot guarantee what they will do with you, but I only want what's best for you. And to know what is best for you, I need the truth and the whole truth.”
“Feh.” Sunset sat back in her chair, crossing her arms and lightly growling, “You probably couldn't handle the truth.” She huffed a piece of hair out of her face.
“This is no time to be quoting famous movie lines Sunset.” Celestia said very sternly.
“...That's a famous movie quote?” Sunset asked confused.
“Will you tell me or not.” Celestia demanded on last time. Sunset figured she was quickly not being given a choice in the matter. She wished she had more time to think this over, someway to delay the situation and just give her more time.
The conversation between them was interrupted by a loud growl from Sunset's stomach, and the young girl suddenly realized that she hadn't eaten in at least half a day now. She hadn't had dinner at the castle before this all started and she hadn't had breakfast now either.
“Wow... I didn't realize how hungry I was.” Sunset spoke out loud, happy to have the distraction. Her head was actually starting to feel a little dizzy now. “Look, I'll... I'll tell you everything just, can we get something to eat first?”
Celestia let out a sigh of frustration, Sunset was just happy for the break from the serious conversation at this point.
“Very well.” Celestia spoke, standing up from her desk and grabbing her purse. She pulled out a small, thin rectangle from the bag and tapped away at it. Sunset had no idea what she was doing with it. “I've texted my Vice-Principal that a situation has come up and I need her to take over my morning duties. I will get you breakfast.”
...Texted? Sunset had no idea what that meant, but apparently Principal Celestia had just used some form of communication? Was it some kind of ESP, or was it like the journal she had brought with her? That meant that there had to be magic here, it just looked and acted different from how Equestrian magic was.
A lot of questions were popping up in her mind suddenly, she didn't even noticed that Celestia had reached the office door and was holding it open impatiently.
“Sunset, are you coming or not?”
“Oh!” Sunset snapped out of her thoughts, “Yes coming!” She quickly got up from her chair and followed the Principal back down the hallway. “So what are we getting for breakfast?”
“I've already eaten, so there's no point in me getting breakfast. However, we can stop wherever you'd like to eat.” Celestia explained sincerely. Sunset thought about her options then. She didn't know what these creatures ate, but it couldn't hurt to ask. If for whatever reason they didn't have Equestrian food, she would just feign that it was foreign food.
“Got anywhere nearby that has roasted carrots and hash hay?” Sunset asked curiously.
Celestia stopped with her hand on the front door to the school before turning to look at Sunset questioning.
“Do not tell me you've been seriously eating hay all this time.” Sunset grimaced at her reaction.
“Is that bad?” She asked hoping the answer wasn't that harsh.
“You're not a horse Sunset.” Celestia sighed rubbing her eyes, “I can't believe a parent would abuse their child by making them eat hay. Now come on, we're getting you real food.”
As Celestia exited the school, Sunset could only stare with a neutral expression on her face. The irony of this situation had not been lost on her.
Sunset stared perplexed at the metal box that Celestia had just walked up to. Inside she could clearly see seats that were intended to be sat in, but the rest of it didn't look like anything she'd seen back in Equestria. The closest comparison she could make for it was a chariot, but she didn't see anyone standing around to pull it to move. What was the point of it?
“The door's open, go ahead and get in.” Celestia explained, stepping into the box and closing the door behind her. Uncertain of how to approach, she walked up to the thing on the opposite side of Celestia. Seeing a visible handle, she grabbed it and pulled it, the door opening for her. Maneuvering her legs carefully, she awkwardly sat down in the thing and closed the door behind her.
“It's like you've never sat in a car before.” Celestia shook her head.
So it's a car, Sunset thought. What did it do?
Sunset let out a scream and jumped out of her seat as a loud roar echoed through the car, scaring the living daylights out of her. The car began to rumble ever so slightly and sounded like it was letting out a low growl as she sat inside of it.
“What are you doing?” Celestia asked confused, looking at Sunset who was now sitting with her hands and legs up on the chair.
“O-Oh... Uh... Nothing... It's supposed to do that?” Sunset asked hesitantly, not wanting the car to try and eat her.
“...Yes, that's normal for every car.” It's not that Celestia hadn't been concerned before, but now she was out right confused. “Have you really never ridden in a car before?”
Sunset groaned a little as she returned to sitting normally in her seat, not wanting to actually answer Celestia's question. Celestia got the picture and just let out another sigh, one of the many she was quickly losing count of that day.
“Here, watch me.” Celestia explained, Sunset turning to look at Celestia as she grabbed a belt from the side of the car, stretched it across her body, and plugged it into her seat. “This is a seat belt. You have to wear one when in the car. You plug yours in now.”
Sunset blinked and turned to look at her door, seeing the hanging belt there just as Celestia explained. She grabbed it and pulled it over her chest before finding the plug on her side of the seat and, with some difficulty, snapping it in.
“Good, now we can go.” Celestia shifted the car into gear and began reversing out of the parking lot.
“Whoa! How does it move!?” Sunset asked suddenly astonished. “Are you controlling it? How do you determine if it's moving forward or backward? How fast can it go?” Her enthusiasm was completely lost on Celestia.
“Sunset...” Celestia began, before shaking her head, “Nevermind.” Sunset blinked at her confused before Celestia shifted the car into drive and took off away from the school.
Sunset looked around outside, watching other cars passing them by as well. She watched curiously as they stopped at certain lights but not at others, being careful to switch lanes and follow behind other cars. She was impressed with just how many there were and how different all of them looked, from shape to color to size.
There was no doubt in her mind that these things had to be controlled by magic. In Equestria you could only get movement like this from airships, and those were charged with specially designed crystal engines combined with helium tanks. But here they had moving metal boxes that could get them anywhere by ground, and they had built roads specifically for them.
Sunset couldn't help but geek out a little at the influx of information she was getting.
Celestia was unusually quiet as they drove, though it was hard for Sunset to notice between viewing the wonders this world seemed to have. There was so much for her to learn and she was going to take it all in when she could.
In no time at all though it seems they had arrived at their destination. The number of cars had dropped dramatically to the point they were the only ones on the road, before they turned into a house that was part of a neighborhood. A garage door opened to take in Celestia's car, the door closing behind them before Celestia turned the car off.
“Where are we?” Sunset asked with a bit of unease.
“This is my house. You didn't point out anywhere you wanted to eat, so I figured a home cooked meal would do you just as well. Plus, this gives us the privacy to talk as much as we want. ” Celestia explained, unbuckling her seat belt and exiting the car. Sunset followed suit, wondering now what kind of house this otherworld Celestia would live in. It certainly wasn't a mansion or any place of opulent wealth, Sunset could tell that immediately. It seemed the ruler of another world had been reduced to nothing more than a commoner in this world.
Passing by what looked like a master bedroom, Sunset entered a large living room space with two couches, a coffee table, and what looked like a desk with a long thing black box standing on top of it. The wall behind the living room had an open window showing off the kitchen, and to the other side was what looked like a dining room. She could see a hall that led further into the house, with a bathroom visible at the end before it split into more rooms.
“Go ahead and take a seat on the couch. You can watch some TV while I start making your breakfast.” Celestia explained, quickly walking into the kitchen. Sunset stared at the couch, wondering what exactly a 'Tee Vee' was, but apparently it was something she could watch?
She navigated herself around the coffee table and sat on the cushions, finding them surprisingly more comfortable than they looked. She scrunched her face as she looked around, seeing portraits hanging on the walls of Principal Celestia and some other people she couldn't recognize. The most frequently occurring one seemed to be a girl just slightly younger than Celestia with dark blue hair and a lighter blue skin. Sunset couldn't say she recognized her, she would've thought if there was someone this important to Princess Celestia back home that she would've met her by now. If anything, it just solidified her opinion that whoever was in the kitchen now, they were just an imitation Celestia compared to the grand ruler of Equestria. They'd never have what it takes to follow in her footstep.
The sound of food being seared on a stove-top pan began to make itself heard from the kitchen as she sat there admiring the house. Shifting her attention to figuring out what a 'tee vee' was, she looked at the big black box that was precariously placed on top of the wooden chest opposite the couch. With a dark, reflective surface on it, she could see a faint outline of herself and the living room on it's surface. Was that what she was supposed to watch? A barely visible reflection of herself and the living room? Was it anything like the mirror back in Equestria? Was it supposed to show her something she didn't fully understand?
She leaned in and squinted her eyes, trying to decipher the mystery of the black screen, but all she could see was a terrible mirror. Letting out a huff of frustration her eyes wandered down to the coffee table again, before noticing a small rectangular black box sitting on it with a bunch of buttons on it. Curious, she reached over and picked it up, reading various words she'd never seen before, and others that seemed to have no place on a box.
Why would something so small need a 'mute' button? It was too small to be an amplifier of any kind, and why did several of the face buttons have just numbers or arrows on them? And that one was just a square, it was utter nonsense.
However, the one that stuck out to her was a larger red button near the top that was labeled 'power'. If she had to guess, the device was currently turned off. So with nothing to lose, she pressed the power button to see what it would do.
For a brief moment, nothing seemed to happen. Sunset stared at the remote disapprovingly as if it wasn't working. Just before she could push the button again to make sure it was working, a light began to shine from in front of her followed by the sound of someone speaking.
“-With sunny skies over the area all this week, I'm sure we're all going to have an enjoyable weekend ahead. This was your weather on the tens, back to you Jelly.” A man on the screen spoke as if speaking to her, before the image cut to the image of two others behind a desk as they began to talk about some story that Sunset wasn't paying attention to. She was beyond fascinated by the fact that Celestia had her own movie theater screen in her house.
Sunset wasn't entirely certain how it worked, or why it was controlled by this device, but she was intrigued. She looked behind her trying to find a projector for the screen, but she could only see the window into the kitchen where Celestia was still cooking away. She stood up and tried to get in the way of where the picture would logically be projecting from, but her shadow never appeared on screen.
Stepping over the coffee table she drew close to the screen and touched it. Looking behind it yielded no projector there either. Whatever magic was powering the device, the screen was being projected from inside the box. It was the only logical conclusion.
Sunset put a hand to her chin as she watched the movie playing out, finding herself a little surprised at how boring it was. It was mostly just the hairless apes either sitting or standing in front of the camera and talking about... Was it news? She could see the word news projected on one of the corners so it had to be. So it had to be prerecorded news paper articles, but spoken aloud for people to listen to. It was an interesting way to do it for sure, but Sunset didn't see a big market for that. If you could have movies in your own home without a projector, she imagined much more exciting films would be preferred.
“You shouldn't sit so close to the television, I hear it's bad for your eyesight.” Celestia spoke up, catching Sunset off guard. “Breakfast is ready.” She said, placing the plate of cooked foods onto the coffee table.
“It's just light on a screen, there's no way it'd actually damage my vision.” Sunset rolled her eyes before walking back to her place on the couch and sitting down. Celestia sat on a recliner next to the couch, watching Sunset curiously as she eye'd the plate.
There were clearly some foods she recognized, but some she didn't either. The pancakes were unmistakable, dripping with a light glazing of syrup and butter. Next to them seemed to be some scrambled eggs. They weren't her first time seeing them, but it was generally considered uncultured and barbaric to eat eggs on their own, they were an ingredient for baking goods not really a food on their own. Then there were the unidentifiable circles of solid brown next to those. She poked one with her finger, feeling the heat from the fresh stove top, but having no idea what they were. She could hardly even make a guess at their consistency, they didn't feel like any vegetable she'd eaten before.
“No need to hold back, you can dig in.” Celestia inviting Sunset to eat. Sunset hesitated again, looking the plate over. Her instincts told her to just pick the plate up and start munching at the contents, but her muzzle was far too small for that now. If she shoved her face into the plate, all she'd really succeed in doing is getting it all over her face, not in her mouth. There was a knife and fork clearly placed on the plate for her as well, she figured the intent being to cut the food into small pieces and use the fork to put it in her mouth. A straight forward concept, but she'd only ever used utensils with magic before, let alone whatever claws her hooves had become.
Sunset looked at Celestia, who just raised an eyebrow curiously at her. “Is there something wrong with my cooking?”
“No, no it's not that...” Sunset said quickly, trying to cover for herself, “Just give me a minute to get started. I'm not used to eating like this.” She shook her head, reaching her claws out to grab the utensils.
“You mean with a proper meal in a proper home?” Celestia asked curiously.
“...Yeah, sure, let's go with that.” Was all Sunset could say with a sassy retort. Gripping the fork in her entire claw, she stabbed it down into the pancakes. It felt really awkward to hold them this way, but she didn't see any other way. Gripping the knife similarly, she cut into the pancakes into an awkward square at the end of the fork before bringing it up to her mouth and biting down on it.
The familiar taste of sugary flour glazed with syrup hit her tastebuds and the realization of how hungry she'd actually been finally hit her like a wave. Her mouth began drooling and she started stabbing her fork into the pancakes with fever, breaking it into chunks and taking mouthful after mouthful.
Celestia grimaced at the incredibly strange way Sunset ate her food. It was almost like she'd never held utensils before. Sunset focused solely on the pancakes, finishing them quickly before prodding the scrambled eggs with her fork.
“Do you normally eat eggs on their own here?” Sunset asked with an eyebrow raised, getting a forkful and lifting it up to inspect.
“...Yes, they are a normal part of a balanced diet.” Celestia explained awkwardly. Sunset shrugged and stuffed them in her mouth and chewed. They were a little bland, surprisingly. She thought they'd taste more like chickens smelled, but they were completely bearable. She stabbed up the remaining pieces and swallowed them too.
“So what exactly is this?” Sunset asked next, lifting up the brown disk impaled at the end of her fork.
“That's sausage. They go well on a plate of pancakes and eggs.” Celestia explained with a smile.
Sunset eyed the 'sausage' carefully. Eating something she'd never seen before, or had little knowledge of seemed fishy to her. The pancakes and eggs were one thing, this was uncharted territory. Her first taste of otherworld food that wasn't familiar.
Taking a deep breathe and steeling her nerves, she opened her mouth and bit down on a chunk of the sausage. A splash of flavor hit her tongue, the taste of a bit of grease and chewey texture as well. It was unlike anything Sunset had tasted before. It tasted deep fried like a hay burger, but no food in Equestria even matched this flavor. She swallowed with a grin before taking another large bite out of the remaining sausage.
“Hey, this is pretty good.” Sunset smirked, surprised by how much she liked it. “What's this stuff made out of?” She asked, swallowing the last of the first sausage before biting into the next.
“It depends a little on the brand, but it's usually made from a combination of ground pork and beef.” Celestia explained with a smile.
“Pork and beef?” Sunset raised an eyebrow as she finished the second piece, “What in Tartarus are those?”
“...Tartarus?” Celestia mumbled to herself confused, before moving on. “Oh, well, pork and beef is just simply meat from pigs and cows.”
Sunset's whole body froze at that statement.
“...I'm sorry, what was that?” She asked again, praying to whatever deity this world had that she had just misheard the educator's statement. Surely it wasn't what she just said it was.
“I said it's meat from pigs and cows.” Celestia said firmly.
The kick-back to her system was immediate. Her stomach churned heavily and Sunset's face turned green. She abruptly stood up and ran into the kitchen, leaned into the kitchen sink and immediately hurled up the food she had just filled her stomach with.
“Sunset Shimmer! What's the matter!?” Celestia asked, quickly following the young girl into the kitchen in concern.
“YOU'RE A SPECIES OF CARNIVORES?!” Sunset cried, fear and panic filling her eyes. She quickly turned the faucet on, putting her mouth under the tap and rinsing the dead flesh out of her mouth, spitting out repeatedly. Celestia stood there dumbfounded, completely flabbergasted at the strange young girl's choice of words.
“Sunset, what are you talking about? You sound like you don't think you're human!” Celestia demanded, her voice beginning to gain that strict tone to it.
“Human?” Sunset muttered, staring at the running water from the tap, “Is that what you are? A human?” She turned to face the principal, anger in her eyes as she breathed heavily, putting a hand to her chest as she still recoiled from vomiting. “Humans have to eat meat to survive? Does any meat matter? You'd just straight up eat a pig!? A cow!? What about a HORSE!? Would you even eat each other if it meant surviving another day?!” Her anger was flaring and she couldn't fully understand her own actions. She wanted to lash out, to break something, but her body wouldn't respond right and she just fell to her knees, slamming a fist against the cupboard below the sink. “I have to live this way now!? Forcing myself to eat meat to survive?! How sick is this! You! All of you are sick! I can't go on eating meat! It’s wrong! It's awful! I'd RATHER DIE!”
Sunset's eyes widened in shock as a sharp sting ran across her face. She heard a ringing in her ears as the anger suddenly began to drain from her body. Celestia's hands planted themselves gently, but firmly, on her shoulders as Sunset turned to look her in the eyes.
“Sunset, you have to calm down.” Celestia spoke calmly, a soothing edge to her voice. “I can't understand you if you don't make yourself clear to me. I'm trying to help you, and if you keep assuming I know what's going on with you, then there's nothing I can do to help you.”
Her voice no longer sounded like the overbearing lecture's she was accustomed to, nor did she seem angry or stern, or even like she was trying to scold her. Her voice sounded almost... Motherly.
“Let me help you Sunset. And in order for me to help you, I need you to tell me the truth.” Celestia's grip tightened on her shoulder's, but Sunset could tell there was no intent to harm in the grip's strength. “Tell me what I need to do for you.”
Sunset stared into Celestia's eyes, letting the soothing voice calm her nerves. She looked away from Celestia and down at the tiled kitchen floor, feeling weary again. “A... Glass of water would help...” Sunset spoke, her voice a little hoarse. The food had not been as pleasant going up as it had been going down.
“Of course.” Celestia said, standing up and offering Sunset her hand. Sunset hesitantly took it and pulled on the educator's hand, standing up with her. “Go back to the couch, I'll get your water.” Sunset only nodded and slowly walked back out into the living room. As she sat down she could hear Celestia grabbing some ice cubes and putting them in a glass before filling it up. She opened the fridge and grabbed something else before heading back into the living room.
“Here.” Celestia said, handing her the chilled glass of water and a large carrot.
“Huh?” Sunset looking at the carrot weirdly, “I thought you were carnivores...”
“Humans are omnivores Sunset. Meat is an optional part of our diet, not required.” Celestia sat down on the couch next to Sunset this time, drawing closer for comfort.
“...O-Oh...” Sunset expressed, realizing how she must have looked just moments ago. She sipped the cooling water before taking a bite out of the carrot, the familiar taste doing wonders to sooth her nerves at the moment.
“Why don't you start at the beginning then Sunset.” Celestia spoke in that warm tone again, “I won't be able to understand unless you explain from the beginning.”
Sunset munched on the carrot quietly, sipping away at the drink at intervals before she'd finally finished half of it. Once there, she looked away, grumbling in a quiet voice, “I doubt you'd even believe me if I told you...”
“You could always try.” Celestia explained as calmly as she could. Sunset grimaced, unsure of if it was the right decision.
“...Would you believe me if I told you I'm not from this world?” Sunset asked almost sheepishly. She felt foolish trying to bring up the subject this way, doing her best to hide her embarrassment by taking another bite of the carrot.
“It... Would explain why you seem to have such a strong grasp on certain knowledge and maths, but so few understandings of the basic culture and objects in this world.” Celestia said, scratching her cheek as she tried to wrap her head around how such an answer was possible, “But if you're not from this world, what world are you from?”
“That's hard for me to explain.” Sunset said, turning to look Celestia in the eye, “You said earlier this world had horses didn't you? That 'Hay is what horses eat' or something like that, so you must have them.”
“...Yes, we do have horses in this world.” Celestia answered, trying her best to wrap her head around what they had to do with the current conversation. “They are primarily used for racing these days, but a long time ago they were the main means of transportation between great distances.”
“So you're saying horses are just domesticated animals here? They aren't the dominant species?”
“No, the dominant species would be humans.”
“Then that explains why I didn't arrive in this world as one.” Sunset shook her head, popping the last bit of carrot into her mouth and chewing. She found the final part of the stalk to be harder to chew than usual though.
“Wait.” Celestia furrowed her brow as she tried to wrap her head around Sunset's statement. “Are you telling me that in the world you come from... You're a horse?”
“Unicorn, to be exact.” Sunset said, drinking down the last bit of water at the bottom of her glass. “You have those here don't you?”
“No, unicorns are just myths and fairy tales.” Celestia explained, before lightly shaking her head and going back to what she just said, “So in your world you're a horse with a horn sticking out of your head.”
“I don't think it gets much clearer than that.” Sunset shrugged her shoulders. “Though technically we're just a type of horse. You'd get a nasty look if you called us that. We are ponies, not horses.”
“Ponies.” Celestia said in a deadpan tone. “You're not a horse, you're a pony. A pony unicorn.”
“It's an echo chamber in here.” Sunset grumbled, holding up the glass to Celestia, “Can I get some more water please?”
“...Of course.” She stood up walking back into the kitchen. Sunset let out a long sigh and sunk back into the couch, watching the people on the 'tee vee' continue their movie. She could already feel it, she was going to be explaining this for a while.
By the time Sunset had reached a point in the conversation that she could described as 'finished' between her and Celestia, a large portion of the day had come and gone. Sunset had been fairly impressed with the fact that this Celestia had listened to her story and tried to make out the facts from it. There were a lot of times when she was skeptical about Sunset's story, but the more Sunset explained in detail, the more the only explanation seemed to be that she really had come from another world.
“Honestly Sunset, your entire story is going to take some time to really sink in.” Celestia explained, stirring a cup of fresh coffee that she had made herself as their conversation about Sunset's past neared an end. “I'm still not entirely certain if I believe all of it too, I feel like you're still hiding details about it.”
“I've told you everything you need to know though.” Sunset rolled her eyes again, “I'm stuck here in this world and the only things I came with are the clothes on my back and the backpack full of things I brought.” She explained pointing at the open bag on the floor near the couch. Once Sunset had shown Celestia the books and the bits she had brought over from Equestria, it had become even harder for the educator to deny her story.
Of course, Sunset had been neglecting to mention that she had been banished from the castle and might as well be banished from Equestria at that point, but she had explained enough that she was trapped here because of a magical portal and that was that.
“Regardless of the circumstances though, you've made it quite clear that you are going to be stuck here for quite some time. Years, in fact. And if you are going to be stuck here, then I feel it is my duty to help you have a normal life in this world, and get the education you deserve.” Celestia nodded before taking a sip of her coffee.
“Good, I'm glad we're at least on the same page here.” Sunset said with a grin. It had been surprisingly easy to get on this Celestia's good side. Princess Celestia always seemed to see through her smooth talking ways, but Principal Celestia seemed a bit more dense to her tactics. She was going to take advantage of that where she could.
Just then, the sound of garage door opening could be heard. Celestia looked surprised.
“Oh, that must be Luna. I completely lost track of time, she must've been blowing up my phone for a while now.” Celestia said, pulling out her cell phone and realizing she still had it in school mode, so no vibration or calls had caught her attention.
“Who is Luna and why would she be rigging something of yours to explode repeatedly?” Sunset asked a little confused, and now wary of whoever she was about to meet. She wasn't certain if she was ready to deal with a demolitions expert without her magic just yet.
"It's a figure of speech, I'll explain later.” Celestia sighed, putting her phone away as the garage door opened.
“Sister are you home?” A loud voice boomed out, making Sunset jump in her seat.
“Yup, she's definitely mad.” Celestia sighed, rubbing her forehead in exasperation.
Loud thumping footsteps came down the hall before a person walked into sight, Sunset instantly recognized the strange woman from the pictures around Celestia's house. The woman named Luna had her eyes first fall upon the Principal who had been home shirking her responsibilities at school. “There you are Celestia! I swear, is this where you've been this whole time? You could've given me more details than just “Something came up”, what are-”
Luna stopped walking once she finally noticed that Celestia wasn't alone on the couch. Her vision turned to the red and yellow haired child that joined her on the couch. Sunset awkwardly smiled and waved to the stranger.
“Good god 'Tia, don't tell me I need to call Chris Hayson on you.” Luna stepped back, looking repulsed at the fellow adult.
“Oh don't be sick Lulu.” Celestia yelled, standing up and stamping her foot down. “You know better than anyone that I take my job as an educator far too seriously to even find humor like that funny.”
Lulu? Tia? Cute nicknames? Sunset had no idea what she just heard, no one had ever referred to Princess Celestia in such a manner. Tartarus, she doubted there really would be anyone in either world that would refer to a Principal in such a manner either.
Sunset's eyes shot wide open as she looked at Luna's huffed face before looking back to Celestia's more genuine anger, but subdued as if she was angry at a...
Oh sweet Celestia, Luna was Celestia's lover in this world wasn't she. The thought put a blush on Sunset's face and she had to look away. She'd heard rumors of her fellow classmates having a crush on the Princess for her beauty, colt and filly alike, but she had never even thought of her mentor in anyway like that. Seeing her with someone in a romantic sense just felt so wrong on so many levels!
“Well then, tell me sister, if it's not what it looks like, tell me why you skipped an entire day of school to spend the day with a student!” Luna pointed to Sunset.
...Sister? Sunset's face returned to a neutral stare as she felt incredibly silly for the way she was thinking just a moment ago. She was glad she hadn't made it awkward by blurting out one of those ideas out loud. Though... Wait.
Celestia has a sister?!
“I found her sleeping on school grounds this morning.” Celestia explained exasperated, crossing her arms in frustration. “When I asked her what she was doing there, she didn't give me a clear answer before explaining to me she wanted to enroll at CHS. I took her to my office so she could explain what was going on. She then told me she had no home, no family, no place to live, no history what-so-ever, and hadn't eaten in possibly 24 hours. Trying to get her to tell me everything, I went to get her some breakfast, but well...” Celestia looked at Sunset, before sighing again, “She's told me a pretty incredible story and it's honestly hard to believe, but I get the feeling she isn't lying to me about it. So I brought her home to give her a properly home cooked meal and so she could be comfortable telling me everything.”
“Ugh... Tia...” Luna groaned, bringing her hand up to face and rubbing her eyes, “Why didn't you just call CPS and have them take care of this? If they catch you taking care of an abandoned, abused child, you know what kind of hell that could cause for you and your job.”
“At this moment in time, CPS isn't the right answer for the situation Lulu. You should know that better than anyone.” Celestia shook her head, understanding where Luna was coming from. “You know how seriously I take my job as an educator and protector of my students. If I felt CPS was the right solution for this situation I would've called them already. But... Maybe you should talk with her, see what I mean.” Celestia advised, waving Luna towards Sunset.
Luna let out a defeated sigh and walked past Celestia, kneeling down next to the couch to look Sunset in the eyes. Sunset recoiled a little, unsettled with the way Luna was staring at her like that. Celestia definitely got the motherly mannerisms end of the stick between the two sisters, Luna felt almost cold in her approach.
“Tell me first, what is your name.” Luna demanded first.
“It's Sunset Shimmer.” Sunset replied. She felt like she was being interrogated now, it was a completely different feeling than the one Celestia had given off while they talked.
“Very well Sunset Shimmer, you seem to have my sister convinced that handing you over to the proper authorities is not the right solution. However, you might find me not so agreeable. Tell me in your own words why I shouldn't do that right now.” Luna demanded, cutting straight to the point.
“Geeze, don't beat around the bush much...” Sunset grumbled, closing her eyes and taking a quicky breathe, before looking into Luna's eyes and staring down the beast. “It's as Celestia said. I have no home, I have no family, I have no previous life here. If you tried to look up documents for me, you wouldn't find them. I wasn't born in this world, so no matter where I went here I wouldn't be welcomed there. Canterlot High is the place closest to where I was born, and the place I need to be if I ever stand a chance of going back home.” Sunset's gaze turned more into a glare, “Is that enough for you or do I need to prove what I'm telling you is the truth.”
Luna just glared back, not liking the child's attitude with her. Though she couldn't help but get the nagging feeling that if what Sunset said was true, that it would only be a bigger headache for everyone involved to get CPS involved in this.
“Do you see what I mean Luna?” Celestia asked with a sigh, shaking her head. “You remember what you went through don't you? Sometimes getting help is the right answer, sometimes it's not. It may be a risk, but I want to help Sunset find a place to call her own here, in any way I can help.”
Luna stood up, sighing herself. “I do not like it Tia. Something doesn't feel right about this girl.”
“Wow, I'm right here.” Sunset grumbled under her breathe, if Luna heard her she didn't react to it.
“Regardless of if her story is true or not, this is a big responsibility you are taking on that could come at great personal risk to yourself.” Luna placed a hand to her chest, looking mournful. “I have not forgotten what I ended up putting you through, and that guilt is also why I don't want to see you get hurt for having such a generous heart. Not everyone is worth saving.”
“Not everyone may be, but I like to think I can tell when someone is worth saving.” Celestia smiled, placing a comforting hand on Luna's shoulder. Luna turned to her and smiled back.
Sunset was definitely missing a larger story here.
“Very well. For the time being I will allow this, and I shall help in anyway that I can.” Luna said, nodding her head and turning to Sunset Shimmer. “However, do keep in mind Sunset, that should you cause any trouble for my sister, it will be your head on the line for it.”
“Threats?” Sunset scoffed, “Yeah, okay. I don't think you should worry though. The last thing I'm interested in is getting into the kind of trouble that'll get me locked away. I'm not a monster.” Besides, manipulating people into giving you what you want wasn't a crime, even back in Equestria. She only needed to stay here long enough to amass her power anyway, then she could go back to Equestria and forget all about this stupid world.
“Hmph.” Was all Luna had to say in response. She sharply turned around and stormed off deeper into the house until both Sunset and Celestia winced at hearing a door slam shut.
“That certainly went better than I expected.” Celestia said with a bit of relief, “It was probably for the best that you didn't mention the unicorn pony thing to her.”
“She was giving me that look like, 'Give me an excuse to toss you out'. She probably would've thrown me into a mental hospital for saying that.” Sunset rolled her eyes as she leaned back into the couch.
“Luna can be a very strong willed at times, but she's honestly a very sweet and caring person once you get to know her. She's aggressive because she's protective of me, and doesn't want to see me hurt.” Celestia explained, sitting back down on the couch.
“Yeah, what was up with that?” Sunset asked, looking back towards the hallway Luna had stormed down, “What exactly did she do before that warranted that reaction?”
“I won't give you all the details, I don't like remembering those days, but I'll give you the summary.” Celestia explained, shaking her head, “Luna used to be a delinquent. She didn't pick the best of 'friends' to hang out with, and got into a lot of serious trouble for a while. It got to the point where I couldn't stand to see her like that anymore, and I ended up confronting her about it myself. I told her that if things didn't change I was going to get the authorities involved.” Celestia's tone was sorrowful as she recalled the painful memory from her past.
“She resented me for that, but she didn't break communication with me. Instead, she ended up telling her 'friends' about what I had said to her. So when I was ready to stop my sister's self-destructive behavior by getting someone else involved, her 'friends' ended up attacking me and severely injuring me.” Celestia's hand reflexively moved to her abdomen, clutching it in memory. “Luna may have resented me, but she never wanted me killed. In the end, she went to the authorities herself and managed to sign a plea agreement that no criminal charges would be filed on her, in exchange for getting all of her 'friends' taken down instead.”
“Luna still beats herself about it to this day. I'd appreciate it if you didn't bring it up to her. Though, chances are if you did she wouldn't hesitate to kick you out.” Celestia tried to chuckle that last bit off as a joke, though the intent failed miserably.
Sunset pursed her lips at the information. Black mail on Luna was likely out of the question, Celestia was right on that part, she was not a woman to be trifled with. However, if she truly had such a past, then it was possible that she could still be useful for getting some things that perhaps even Celestia couldn't get. There were merits to having ties to the darker side of society, even if you didn't pull those strings often.
Still, something was bugging Sunset about all this. While it was true that Principal Celestia and Luna were the only two humans she had met so far, if Celestia was any indication, then duplicate versions of ponies from Equestria lived in this world as well. And if that was true, who exactly was Luna to Celestia?
They called each other sisters, but Princess Celestia had no direct family in Equestria. She certainly had far distant relatives, but they were so far removed from her actual bloodline that they were merely relatives by title. It made no sense to her.
“But, enough about sad topics from everyone for today.” Celestia said, standing up from the couch with a smile, breaking Sunset out of her thoughts. “We only had a light lunch and it's almost dinner time, so I'll get to work on that. But first, you should get settled into your room.”
“...My room?” Sunset asked with an eyebrow raised.
“We have a guest room set up in case relatives wish to visit. It doesn't happen often, but we like to be prepared. For the current moment in time though, you are our guest while we get this all sorted out. Follow me.” Celestia waved, walking down the hallway Luna had just moments ago stormed down. Hoping not to encounter the other adult until she'd at least calmed down, Sunset grabbed her backpack and carefully followed behind Celestia.
The hallway split two ways with the bathroom in the middle. One side had a door closed shut, the way Sunset assumed Luna had went, and the other with a slightly open door that clearly hosted a guest bedroom.
“As long as you're here, feel free to make yourself at home.” Celestia smiled, opening the door up so Sunset could walk in. It was a quaint little room, certainly nothing spectacular. There was a single bed, all made up with blue sheet, a bookshelf filled with what she could only guess as this world's generic reading material, a desk with a lamp and chair and some writing utensils with notebooks, a closet that for the moment contained no clothes, and a hamper for dirty clothes.
“Cozy.” Sunset commented, placing her backpack down near the bed and sitting down on it to test it's suitability. It gave way and had a light spring to it, but it was certainly no royal bed of Canterlot Castle like she was used to.
“You can get settled in here, or you can watch TV in the living room. The bathroom is right there, and if you need anything I'll be within ear shot.” Celestia smiled as she explained, “And I'll make something vegetarian for dinner tonight for you.” With that, Celestia turned and headed back into the kitchen, leaving Sunset alone in the room.
Even though she had been given verbal confirmation that this was her place to stay for the moment, the room felt more alien than anything else she'd felt while in this world so far. She figured that would probably be the case if she had to spend the night in any guest room, but there was something genuinely discomforting about this.
The room felt like a prison, not a bedroom. She felt afraid to wrinkle the bed sheets, let alone sleep under them. She could sit at the desk, but the notebooks were clearly not placed there for her. This was just a generic bedroom that was meant for anyone. And as a result, meant it was for no-one.
Shaking her head and scowling at herself for being such a coward, she reached into her bag for her books to give her some sort of comfort zone to build up in this room.
With her hand inside, she felt something buzz, something she hadn't felt in a while. Gripping her hand around the brown book, she pulled out her journal and looked at it curiously.
“This thing still works on this side?” She mumbled to herself, staring at the only connection she had left to Princess Celestia. If it was buzzing, that meant Celestia had written something inside for her to read. The idea made Sunset want to both laugh and rage. She had been the one to ostracize her in the first place, but now she had the gall to write to her?
Curiosity got the better of her in the end, and she flipped the book open to where she had left off to read whatever patronizing message Celestia had just written her.
“Sunset, the guards have informed me that your journal was packed with your belongings. I do not know if this message will reach you from that side of the mirror, but should you ever need to, you can contact me at any time. -Your Mentor, Princess Celestia.”
Sunset had heard a lot of sick jokes that day, at least one of them having made her actually vomit already. But none of them drilled a hammer into her nerves like those two sentences in the book did.
She slammed the journal shut and slammed it back into her backpack.
Princess Celestia had been the one to toss her out. Princess Celestia had been the one to banish her. Princess Celestia had been the one that did this to her. Everything that was happening to her right now was Celestia's fault. And she had the nerve, neigh, the outright insult to even dare suggest that everything could be fine between them.
Princess Celestia could die for all she cared. The Princess had never cared about her, she had never truly given her the proper time of day, nothing about what they had done together meant anything anymore. The Princess had never seen her as anything more than some colossal joke.
There was a time when Sunset thought she could have even looked up to the Princess as more than just a mentor, that perhaps their bond had been deeper than some stupid title like Princess and Protege. But if yesterday, a day that felt so much farther away than it actually was, was proof of anything, she had been the naive one to think the Princess cared about her as anything more than a joke.
She was nobodies fool.
Sunset buried her head into the bed's pillow and screamed as the tears streamed down her face.
She had trusted Princess Celestia with everything. She had no family to go to in Canterlot, she had no friends back in Equestria, there was nothing for her outside of Canterlot Castle.
And Celestia had been the one who broke that bond. Not her. Not Sunset Shimmer, the unicorn who worked harder and strived to be better than everyone else.
And even that was gone from her now.
She laid there sobbing, unaware of the blue woman who quietly watched her from the doorway.
Sunset Shimmer clenched her fists and grit her teeth. She only now realized how long she had been putting this off, out of everything else she had been experiencing since her arrival in this world, this was probably the one thing she hadn't been looking forward to.
“Is something the matter?” Celestia asked, noticing Sunset had been standing in front of an open door for several minutes now.
Sunset jumped in her skin, quickly turning around and speaking up defensively, “No no, nothing's wrong!” She laughed, quickly stepping into the room, and turning her back to Celestia, “Just... Need my privacy obviously!” She tried to brush it off with more laughter before slamming the door shut. She pressed her back against the door, her anxiety bubbling in her mind. Her body gurgled it's protests at her for taking so long, and she groaned as she realized there was no more putting this off.
She stomped her feet, and pointed at the vile contraption before her. “I will get past this! If I'm going to live in this world I'm going to have to get through this, and I have never met a challenge I couldn't defeat! It'll be awkward, it's something I never thought I'd have to do in a body not my own, and chances are it'll be really embarrassing! But today you've met your defeat, for my name is Sunset Shimmer and I will conquer you!”
The toilet merely sat there quietly, as it was an inanimate object incapable of doing anything to Sunset shimmer.
The bathroom door slammed back open, Sunset tossing aside the towel that dried her hands before storming through the house. Her hair was frazzled and her pupils were dilated. She was on a mission and nothing could stop her.
She stormed out into the living room, where she found Celestia standing in front of the dining room table looking through Paperwork. Celestia turned to look at Sunset, confused at first but then with a look of concern.
“Sunset? What's wrong, you look like you've seen a ghost.” Celestia asked, putting her papers down. Before she could move, Sunset had walked up to her, just a foot or two away from her. Though strangely her eyes weren't looking her in the face, they were aimed lower on her body. “Sunset?”
Without a word, Sunset reached her hands out, grabbed the edge of Celestia's pants, and pulled them down her legs.
“GAH!” Celestia cried, her body reflexively bending to cover her exposed lower body while trying to step back and away from her attacker, “WHAT HAS GOTTEN INTO YO-”
“WHERE'S YOUR CUTIE MARK!?” Sunset cried.
“C-Cutie mark?” Celestia asked perplexed, grabbing her pants and quickly pulling them back up.
“WHY DON'T HUMANS HAVE CUTIE MARKS!?” Sunset gripped her head in her hands, crying out, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS WORLD!? It wasn't enough to take my horn but my SPECIAL TALENT TOO!? GAH!”
Without another word, Sunset stormed off back towards her room, leaving a stunned Celestia uncertain of what to make of what had just happened.
She decided that as long as Sunset didn't do it again, she was just going to forget this little incident had ever happened.
Sunset shifted the food on her plate around with her fork. The utensil was still incredibly awkward to use with this hand thing. Her plate was some mixture of rice and vegetables, fried and flavored from the stove top. She scooped another bite into her mouth as she watched Celestia and Luna take bites off of their own plates.
Unlike her plate though, their plates had pieces of cooked chicken as part of their meal. The idea alone still left Sunset's stomach churning, but at the same time she couldn't help that her nose was telling her it smelled delicious.
“Can you tell me something?” Sunset asked after finishing her mouthful. Celestia let out a sound of acknowledgment, but took another bite from her plate, “If humans are omnivores and can survive just fine on vegetables, why do you choose to eat meat?” Celestia chewed a bit, swallowed, then contemplated her answer.
“I'm sure the answer will vary from person to person,” Luna spoke up first, putting her fork down to look seriously at Sunset, “But there are various health benefits to eating meats. They're one of the bodies best sources of protein and iron, as well as being high in many other vitamins. Our bodies evolved in such a way that they are highly efficient at digesting the flesh, especially in comparison to many vegetables.” Luna stabbed a piece of chicken on her fork and raised it up.
“Beyond those health reasons, our palette has evolved to find meat delectable. As such it's possible to create a wide variety of dishes and meals that otherwise wouldn't be possible without the addition of their flavors.” Luna put the piece of chicken into her mouth, chewing quietly as she placed her fork back into her meal, “And on a personal level, if I do not have meat in at least one of my meals per day I won't feel satisfied. My body will tell me to keep eating more until it has gotten the nutrients it would otherwise be missing from the meat.”
“Thank you Lulu, that was a very good answer.” Celestia nodded with a smile at her sister.
Sunset scrunched her face at those answers. She didn't feel like she was thoroughly convinced that eating meat would ever be a good option, even if she was a species that did well when consuming it. Though she did try to think about it from the other end of the spectrum. If a creature that needed meat came to Equestria and was forced to eat nothing but vegetables, would they be able to do it? Their mind would constantly be telling them otherwise wouldn't it? Or would they just adapt to it?
Adapt... Sunset had already been doing everything else that it meant to be human, maybe she could just try eating a bit of meat here or there. It's not like she hadn't enjoyed how the sausage tasted, just the mental image of eating another previously living animal had caused her stomach to react violently. But sitting here eating her food and smelling that cooked chicken, which smelled delicious, was giving her mixed feelings in her stomach, and her stomach wasn't nearly as rebellious as it had been with that first meal.
“Hey, Celestia.” Sunset said, steeling her nerves. Celestia looked up from her plate curiously, “Hand me a single piece of chicken will you?”
“Are you certain? I still remember what happened the last time I gave you meat.” Celestia explained, stabbing a small piece of chicken on her plate with her fork. “You do know we won't judge you for going vegetarian, right?”
“Just give me the piece of meat already.” Sunset growled, holding her hand out. Celestia shrugged and held the fork out to the teen girl, Sunset grabbing the piece of chicken and pulling it close to her face for inspection.
She squeezed it between her fingers first, feeling the cooked flesh squish between her fingers before regaining it's shape. It wasn't quite hard and solid, but it wasn't gooey or gelatinous either. Smelling it, the delicious scent that had been permeating the air went directly to her brain, making her mouth water at the idea of having it in her mouth. Somehow, the deliciousness of the morsel was over-powering the part of her brain that told her this was wrong.
Taking a deep breathe to calm herself, she popped the piece of chicken into her mouth.
Chewing it was a similar experience to the sausage she'd had, a bit of flavor spreading through her mouth before being swallowed. Her stomach didn't churn nor did she feel repulsed by the act. For a moment her brain tried to put a face to what she had just eaten, but she blocked that out of her head with a light shake.
It had tasted good, and she was certain it had to do with her new human anatomy. If she was still a horse, she was certain she'd never desire to eat meat. But as long as she was human, she could clearly tell it was something she was going to be desiring. She had at least conquered the challenge she had set forth to herself to try the human food, and she found she liked it.
“Well?” Celestia asked curiously, also drawing the eyes of Luna towards the red and yellow haired girl.
“I liked it.” Sunset said nodding, “I don't know if I'm ready to have entire meals of it just yet, but I'd be okay with you putting a bit of meat in my next meal as I get used to it.”
“Very well, that can be arranged. As long as you are comfortable.” Celestia nodded with a smile. Sunset went back to digging at her vegetarian plate as Luna leaned in to Celestia and whispered to her quietly.
“Tia... Why do I get the feeling that Sunset doesn't really consider herself... Human?” This emitted a light chuckle from Celestia.
“It's probably best if you don't know that answer.” Celestia teased her sister, “But you can rest assured that she's harmless.”
“If you say so.” Luna shook her head, before the three of them returned to eating their meal in peace.
“Who designed this organization system!?” Sunset growled, looking between the two sets of clothes in her hand. “There's nothing consistent about them! How am I supposed to find clothes like this!?”
“What's the problem?” Celestia asked, walking over to Sunset while carrying a few dresses in her arms.
“I get why you want me to buy more clothes, I really do, humans are apparently obsessed with wearing them to the point I came here in some.” Sunset complained, looking at her own outfit before looking back to Celestia, “But why do you have such an asinine organization system for them? Look at these two shirts here!” She held up the two for Celestia to clearly see, “They're the same size right? I'm not crazy here. Yet one is clearly labeled a size 4, and the other is a size 6! What sense does that make!? Why isn't there some sort of universal standard for these things!?”
“Uh, well...” Celestia paused for a moment trying to think of the answer, “I'm not really sure why it's that way. I believe it has something to do with the fact that all these clothes are made by very different companies, and they don't agree on what sizes mean between each other. So you end up just having to try on clothes in a general size-range until you find clothes that fit.”
“Wha- But that could take hours!” Sunset cried, turning to look at all the racks of clothes that extended across the store, “Why would I want to spend my entire day trying on clothes just to find the right outfit in the right size!? If I find what I like I should be able to just buy it and go!”
“That's sort of the reason why they don't, actually.” Celestia shook her head, “they want you to buy as much from them as possible, and one of the ways they do that is by having you try on so much of their merchandise and enticing you to buy it.”
“That...” Sunset felt her eye twitch, “That's just... I keep finding reasons to hate this world more and more.”
“It's not all bad Sunset, you must keep that in mind.” Celestia explained, putting her hand on the teen's shoulder and smiling kindly, “We'll find you some clothes that fit sooner than you think, and I'm sure you'll look wonderful.”
“I'm having my doubts right now.” Sunset grumbled, putting the shirts back onto the rack she'd gotten them from, “Especially since this is the tip of the iceburg isn't it? You still want me to go bra shopping too don't you.”
“Well, you can't go around wearing the same one for weeks on end.” Celestia explained, shrugging her shoulders.
“I still don't even get the point of it!” Sunset said, reaching into her shirt and pulling at the strap around her shoulder, “Like WHY do these stupid things on my chest need support? Would the world somehow just end if I wasn't wearing one?!”
“Perhaps if your chest was... smaller, you could get away with just a thick t-shirt and your jacket.” Celestia explained, trying to word herself carefully, “However bras do more than just give support. They help with your bodies circulation, they keep your skin and breasts from sagging while you're young, they help your posture and muscles, and various bras even allow for better movement during sporting activities.”
“Are you sure?” Sunset asked, rolling her eyes before looking down at her bust and pushing it out for emphasis, “From my perspective it looks like they serve no other purpose than to emphasize how these things look for other humans.”
Celestia let out an awkward cough as she turned away, “Even if that may be how it looks to you, everything I said is still true. And with the size of your chest, everything I said is especially true for your health. Larger breasts need more support than smaller ones, and yours are decidedly larger than a normal girl your age.”
“Ugh, why couldn't I have gotten a small chest when I came here? This world won't give me any breaks.” Sunset groaned, rubbing her face in frustration.
“Be that as it may, let's go back to finding you more clothes to wear. We need at least a sizable selection for you to wear.” Celestia explained, handing the dresses she had been holding over to Sunset.
“Yeah, yeah, I got it.” Sunset groaned, having realized since she's been sleeping at Celestia's house that she was going to have to accept some amounts of generosity if she was going to properly survive here, “I'll just consider it an early birthday present.”
“Birthday? This is the first you've mentioned it.” Celestia raised an eyebrow curiously.
“Oh, did I forget to mention? There's been way too much going on the last two weeks.” Sunset shrugged, “It's at the end of the month. I'll officially be turning 14, I just said I was 13 because I was close enough anyway.”
“I wish you had said something sooner, it's easier to plan my schedule a few weeks ahead of time, especially since I've been having to do a lot more make-up work lately.” Celestia put a hand to her chin in thought. “I'll work it out though. For now I'll go look for some more clothes for you to wear.” Celestia turned and walked off to look at another section of the clothes.
Sunset looked down at her arms, eyeing up the dresses Celestia had given her, grabbing the top one and lifting it up to look at it. She stuck her tongue out at the gaudy dress.
“Why on earth would she think I'd want to wear so much frilly pink?”
The TV blared as an explosion roared from the screen, the heroes having just made it out of the exploding building in time. Sunset sat on the couch in a tank top and panties, a bowl of popcorn placed between her crossed legs as she munched away. While Celestia and Luna were off working at school, she was left at home to do as she wanted. She had already explored the house and not found much of interest.
Celestia and Luna's rooms had been especially boring, with nothing really in them that she wouldn't expect to see from any room back in Equestria, minus two small TVs they had mounted on desks for some reason. She had read some of the books on the bookshelf in her room, but if she had to be honest human literature just didn't seem as appealing as Equestrian literature. Not to mention most of the books seemed to either be autobiographies of unimportant people or general education reading she already knew.
She reminded herself to tell Celestia that a guest room should have actual worth-while reading material at some point.
In the meantime though, she found herself watching a lot of TV while passing her time. Her initial impressions of it being a box that played prerecorded movies hadn't been all that far off, but it was so much more than that. They played actual human movies on certain channels, but there were so many different types of entertainment. She had been keeping track of the genres and ranking them in her head, but so far she had found movies, cartoons, day-time dramas, sitcoms, soap operas, reality shows, news stations, documentaries, scientific explanation shows, and animal shows. She was sure there were still more, but once she'd explored that many she had decided to just start watching at least some of them.
She had to admit, there was something exciting about Human movies that Equestrian movies couldn't match. The last movie she had seen was some black and white piece that had really terrible props, awful acting, and looking so fake she would've believed a stage play more than what it looked like. She hadn't been to the theaters since then and had heard things had gotten better, but she had much better things to do with her time back then.
Not so much now though. She had years to do whatever, and this wasn't a bad way to spend a day so far. Besides, she was learning a lot about humans from the shows she was watching. She had a feeling that a lot of the stunts performed in the movies were faked, as there was no way humans could be so close to so many of those explosions and get out so unscathed. But she found them fascinating for now, and she could always discern fact from fiction later.
What disappointed her the most about a lot of what she saw was that most of the shows based in the 'real world' had no magic in them. She thought she'd at least have heard the word a couple hundred times by now if it was commonplace at all here, but the only time she'd heard the word was in a 'fantasy' genre film she had watched, and that had left her uncertain about how to feel.
Magic was 'fictional' in this world. They used 'science' instead, for everything. In Equestria Sunset didn't think of them as mutually exclusive concepts, in fact a lot of how they figured magic out in Equestria involved science. The fact there seemed to be no magic here what-so-ever left her feeling frustrated.
The mirror had been clear. If she was going to become stronger than Princess Celestia this was where she needed to be. But how does one gain more magical power than the ruler of Equestria in a land where there was no magic at all? The question frustrated Sunset more than any other fact about this world.
At some point she was going to have to do something about it. She was going to have to get her hands on some of the electronics she saw a lot in these movies and take them apart, figure out how they work. If she could start there, getting hands-on with how things worked in this world, she thought she might be able to start getting somewhere.
“-And next on the Movie Central Channel, follow the journey of a band of adventurers on a magical adventure as they quest to destroy the one ring.” A lady spoke in a soothing voice through the TV.
Sunset grabbed another handful of popcorn and chowed down on it. Thinking about that could wait till later though. Right now she had TV to distract her from her emotional problems. No wonder humans had invented it.
Sun filtered in through the window, hitting Sunset in the face. She scrunched and opened her eyes slowly. Sitting up on the bed she let out a yawn, having slept fairly well that night. Rubbing her eyes she looked out the window, looking at the backyard of Celestia's home.
It had been a month since she had arrived in this world now, and most of that time had been spent getting adjusted to what it meant to be human. Celestia had been very patient with her, unlike a certain Princess she knew, and had been very helpful through her trying time now. Luna had slowly eased up on her hostility towards her, seeming to trust her more now than she had when they first met.
What little she had learned about the human world so far, mostly the things from the TV she'd been watching, she had been very fortunate to be found by Principal Celestia when she arrived. Having a base of operations to think and to study like this was exactly what she needed in this strange new world, and she had made it exceptionally easy to get used to all this.
However, she knew she couldn't stay at Celestia's house forever. Despite the month long stay, the room still didn't feel anymore like a home, and she was starting to feel more like a leech than a guest the longer she stayed. This wasn't an arrangement that could last forever. At some point she was going to have to find a place of her own, and if Luna still felt some hostility towards her, she'd likely be willing to help her get her own place.
These were the first thoughts she had on the morning of her first birthday in this world. It was hard for her to feel like celebrating while she was stuck so far away from home, with the only two people in her life right now being an imitation of her former mentor and the weirdo that the imitation called sister. Sunset knew that they were going to do something special for her birthday, so while she wasn't really feeling in the mood to celebrate, she'd at least accept it for the day. She could tell them about her plans to move out tomorrow when the time was right.
Sunset pulled the covers off of her and slipped her feet off the edge of the bed. Immediately, something felt wrong. It felt so wrong that she was surprised she hadn't felt it until right that moment. Her hand that had pressed down on the bed to support herself with had gotten wet somehow. She lifted it up, inspecting what exactly she had put her hand into.
The substance covering her hand was thick. And red. And had a very distinctive smell. So distinct was it in look and smell that it took her brain a moment to even process what it was.
It was blood.
It was her blood.
The scream that echoed through the house was so sincere and terrified that anyone hearing it would've sworn someone was being murdered. Celestia and Luna were instantly startled awake, hearing the lingering scream of the girl they had been taking care of coming from her room.
Luna was the first one to slam the door open, her room having been right across the hall.
“What, what is it!?” Luna screamed, fearing for the young girl's life.
Sunset had fallen to the floor, her whole body shaking in fear as she backed away from her bed, the blood etching itself into her mind. She turned to look into the older woman's face, the fear apparent in her eyes. Sunset held her hand out still shaking, her voice barely above a whisper.
“Doctor... C-Call a Doctor...” She begged for her life, tears breaking loose and falling down her face. Luna instantly recognized what was going on and rush down to the girl's side, embracing the teen girl into a hug.
“It's okay Sunset! You're not dying, I promise. You need to calm down.” Luna cooed, in a tone that was so different from anything Sunset had heard from her in the last month.
“Not dying!?” Sunset cried, not believing a word of it, “Don't you see it!? I-I need help! Please, please help me! I don't want to die!” Sunset buried her face into Luna's body, sobbing and begging the older woman to get her some help.
“What is it!? What's wrong!?” Celestia's worried voice called out from the door way, having rushed from across the house to find Luna holding on to Sunset.
“It's alright Celestia. It seems Sunset was just surprised to have her period.” Luna explained. The explanation made Sunset freeze in place in the middle of her sobs.
“Oh, is that all.” Celestia sighed in relief, “I thought something serious had happened.”
“W-What...” Sunset's lower lip quivered as she looked Luna in the eye, “H-Humans... NORMALLY bleed large quantities of their own blood!?”
“Women do, yes. Once they've hit puberty.” Luna explained, before looking Sunset up and down again, “Though why does it surprise you now? You seemed to have hit puberty quite a while ago.”
Even though Sunset had heard that comment, it didn't really register in her mind. All the blood had rushed out of her face at the realization that this was going to happen again. Her body rejected reality and she saw the world blacking out around her, as Sunset passed out from the stress of the situation.
“...Oh dear... She passed out.” Luna blinked in surprise, letting Sunset's unconscious body rest against her.
“I certainly wasn't expecting her to react this way to getting her period...” Celestia sighed, rubbing her head in frustration, “I wasn't even actually sure if she was going to get it or not if her story was true, but I got her some supplies just in case she did. We're just going to have to wait for her to wake up to explain it to her.”
“Be that as it may, we can't let her stay in these clothes for much longer.” Luna shook her head, carefully picking the girl up into her arms. “You get some fresh clothes and I'll start the bath.”
Celestia nodded as Luna quickly carried her to the bathroom.
Sunset meanwhile was having a very pleasant dream in her mind. A dream where she was no long a strange monkey creature, but instead a happy filly prancing through the fields with her mother and mentor as they spent all the time in the world they wanted together.
A very happy dream where she didn't have to eat meat, or wear strange unorganized clothing, or be without her magic, or bleeding from her body for no reason. This world in her dream was perfect.
Sunset stood outside of Luna's door, going over the conversation in her head. She had come up with all of her talking points well before she had stepped in front of that door, but the anxiety of stand there was causing her thoughts to rush out of her head. She couldn't help but notice that all of her confident bravado liked to come and go at the strangest of times .
She took another deep breath to steel her nerves and knocked on the door. It was now or never, all she had to do was convince Luna to help her get her own place so that she'd be out of their hair for good, how hard could that be?
Something in the back of her mind was telling her this was all a terrible idea, that she should accept living with the two of them until the portal re-opened, that she'd have a perfectly fine life with them. So far they had treated her kindly, given her clothes and food, and in a strange way she was starting to feel like part of their family.
Though, that was precisely the problem. She was sitting here not getting any closer to her goal of over-throwing Princess Celestia. If all she did while here was adapt to being human, she was never going to have the power to be a Princess herself.
She had to make progress on her own.
“Come in.” Luna's voice called back through the door. Accepting the invite, Sunset entered Luna's room.
The dark blue room came into view once more. Luna liked to keep her room dark while she was using it, a fairly stark contrast to Celestia's. The windows had the curtains drawn, the bed and furniture matched the dark colors of the wall, and the ceiling had stars painted that glowed in the dark. Luna sat at her desk, pressing her fingers rapidly against a rectangular board with buttons as she watched the TV in front of her. Sunset wasn't entirely certain of what she was doing. Luna tapped the board one more time before turning to look at Sunset, surprised at the teen girl's presence.
“Sunset? What brings you to my room?” Luna asked, swiveling her chair to face the teen.
“I need to talk to you, are you busy?” Sunset asked, wanting to make sure she talked to Luna in the right mood. When asking big favors, even she understood the importance of timing.
“Not particularly, I was getting some work done but it isn't anything so important that I can't take a break from it. Tell me what's on your mind. After all it's rare for you to come to me for advice.” Luna studied Sunset carefully, trying to guess the nature of the conversation.
“I guess there really isn't much need to beat around the bush, is there?” Sunset shook her head, taking a deep breathe and readied herself to explain. “I appreciate everything you and Celestia have done for me, but I can't stay here forever. So, I want you to help me get a place of my own in this world.” Straight forward and to the point. Sunset always preferred it that way, though she wasn't sure how Luna would take it.
“Sunset...” Luna's brow furrowed, lacing her fingers together and placing them in her lap, “You are aware that you just turned 14 a week ago, correct?”
“I'm not exactly going to forget that day for a long time.” Sunset grumbled, crossing her arms. She certainly wished she could forget waking up in a pool of her own blood though.
“I'm not sure what you're expecting I can do for you here. You are considered a minor for 4 more years, and as such you won't be given adult consideration for any apartments or housing. Not only that, you have no documentation what-so-ever that would allow you to own anything, let alone a place of your own.” Luna closed her eyes shaking her head, “Your best option right now, all things considered, is to just continue to live here, under our hospitality.”
Sunset grit her teeth and squeezed her arm. That wasn't the answer she was looking to hear. There had been absolutely no problem in her having a place to herself when she was Princess Celestia's "prized" student. Celestia had just walked up to an empty building in Canterlot Castle and said it belonged to Sunset now, and that had been it.
“...However, you don't look like you like that plan, do you?” Luna raised an eyebrow curiously at the teen girl.
“...There's... Something I have to do.” Sunset explained, uncrossing her arms and looking Luna in the eye, the ferocity of her desire showing through. “And to do that, I need a place of my own. If I talked to Celestia about this, she'd most likely just refuse me outright, but since I've been here you haven't approved of me living here. So now I just want to get out of your hair, but I need your help to do it.”
Luna pursed her lips as she watched the young girl, thinking it over.
“While it is true that you not living here would likely be beneficial to us both legally and financially, if either of those things were a true concern we would have set you up in alternate housing when we met you.” Luna shook her head, “However, for the last month you've barely been able to understand the basic fundamentals of living, let alone on your own. Even if I talked to my sister I doubt she would just agree to letting you leave for a place of your own.”
“Look... I just...” Sunset gripped her fists tight, unsure of what to do. She stared at the ground as her anger began to bubble. She was trying so hard to make this work and it felt like Luna was just opposing her now.
Luna grew quiet for a moment, closing her eyes in thought but keeping her stance rigid. It had to have been no longer than a minute, though to Sunset it felt like an eternity, before Luna spoke up again.
“However, it may be possible to convince her to let you have your own place if you can prove that you are able to be independent.” Sunset looked up hopeful at Luna's words, though the dark haired woman didn't change her expression.
“Alright, I'll do it! How do I prove I can be independent?” Sunset demanded, a clear goal in mind for her now. It was true that up until now she had only been adapting, rolling with the punches life threw at her one by one, but she was certain she was over the worst of it by now. It couldn't possibly get worse than last week, and she had come out of that feeling like she could accomplish anything in comparison. She just needed a goal now.
“There will be a few conditions that will need to be met.” Luna lifted her hand and raising a single finger. “The first will be that you'll have to agree to go to school after summer ends. CHS is in it's last two weeks of school now, but after summer break is over you will need to sign up as an official student.”
“I was planning to do that already though.” Sunset crossed her arms a little confused, “Celestia told me to wait for the next year to start and then she'd enter me into the system herself.” Celestia had told her that because of her lack of documentation she would have to be manually registered into the system, but Sunset had every intention of going to CHS. After all, that was where the portal resided. “What are the other conditions?”
“The second condition,” Luna raised a second finger to join the first, “Is that you will have to get a job. However, as you are a minor and without documentation, there will be no places willing to hire you as you are right now.”
“Then how am I supposed to do that!?” Sunset demanded, stomping her foot. “I don't care if I have to do some manual labor, as long as I can get my own place!”
“I can arrange for you to get a job. Depending on who I can get in contact with however, it might be under the table. We'll have to wait and see on that one.” Luna explained, before raising a third finger, “The third condition is that you'll be getting the job because you will be paying the bills for yourself. Celestia and I are willing to give you lodging here, but we own this house. We've done our time paying for property. I can likely get you a very discounted place, but you will still have to be the one to pay for rent and food.”
“Alright, if I have a job that shouldn't be too difficult...” Sunset crossed her arms again, thinking this all over. “Are those the only conditions?”
Luna paused for a moment of thought, before raising a fourth finger, “The final condition will be that you will need to get your drivers license as well.”
“Drivers... License?” Sunset asked confused, “Is that a license that allows you to drive cars?”
“Indeed.” Luna lowered her hand back to her lap, “Legal licenses can be given out when you turn 16, but given the circumstances we won't be able to obtain one that way. This doesn't mean that I'll let you just be handed a license though. For this condition, I will administer a driving test of my own, and if you can pass it I'll get you a license.” Luna stood up from her chair finally, crossing her arms one more time, “Now... These are merely the conditions you must meet in order for me to agree to help you with your plan. There is still the possibility that all of this will be shot down by Celestia. Are you going to agree anyway?”
“...Honestly?” Sunset shook her head and looked at Luna with a smirk, “It sounds like those are all things I'm going to have to do here at some point or another anyway. Might as well get a head start on them, whether Celestia agrees or not right?”
“I do admire your spirit Sunset.” Luna smiled back, walking over to Sunset and placing her hand on her shoulder, “My sister has a lot of faith and trust in you. I do hope you understand that and won't do anything to harm that trust.”
“I told you already, I'm not some monster come here to hurt either of you,” she definitely put an emphasize on that word for a reason, “I just need a place of my own right now. I have a goal in mind, and I can't accomplish it at the rate I'm going now.”
“And if you don't mind me asking, what exactly is that goal?” Luna raised an eyebrow curiously. Sunset couldn't help but smirk and look the older woman in the eye.
“I have to show someone who used to be close to me, that I'm worth a damn.” Sunset explained confidently.
“Hm... A noble ambition, but I would be careful that your desire to accomplish it doesn't consume your desire for everything else in life.” Luna shook her head, before stepping out of the room, “When you are ready let me know, and then we'll talk to my sister about your plans.” With that, Luna disappeared down the hallway, clearly headed for the kitchen.
Sunset Shimmer stood there in thought, crossing her arms again. The conversation had gone better than she thought it would, but at the same time there was still a lot left up in the air. This world obviously had a lot stricter rules than Equestria did, which was going to make this all the more difficult.
However, with Luna actually willing to go along with her plan, she felt some of her confidence finally returning. She was finally starting to feel like her old self. Even with a human body, she was still Sunset Shimmer after all.
“I don't like it.” Celestia expressed her feelings, crossing her arms as she considered the proposal.
“Yeah, that's not too surprising.” Sunset sighed, blowing a strand of hair out of her face. The three of them were seated in the living room now, having just finished giving a run-down of the plan to Celestia.
“Sunset, I just don't think you're ready to live on your own yet. It's been hard enough for you to be living here.” Celestia explained, looking at the teen girl very seriously.
“That's just it though. Part of the problem with me living here is I really don't feel like I'm living here. Most days I'm just sitting around watching TV or trying to read, but that's not at all why I came here in the first place. School is still two months away at least, so why not spend that time actually doing something that will help me? And working towards this goal is probably the best thing for me right now.” Sunset explained better than even she thought she could.
“I'm just worried that it's too much too soon Sunset.” Celestia shook her head, a frown still visible on her face, “You're still so young. You should be out making friends, having fun, meeting people, having a home. Getting a job, living on your own, they're such heavy responsibilities for someone your age.”
Sunset let out a groaning sigh. It seemed even in this world she wasn't going to escape the stupid friendship lectures of her old mentor. Friends didn't matter, and she knew that. They only got in the way of her accomplishing her goals. That was especially true in this world.
There was no power for her to gain in making friends.
“I understand your concerns Celestia, but I tend to agree that I think this is best for Sunset as well.” Luna spoke up next, looking at Sunset then back to Celestia, “As it is right now, she's merely hiding here in the house. You are correct in that she should be out making friends and enjoying life at her age, but she won't be able to do that if she's not only living here, but secluded from the world. Getting a job means that she'll be getting out of the house and meeting people. She'll also be securing her own money for her to do with as she pleases. And if she got her own place to live, then she could invite her friends over and not have to worry about what they'll think about having us as guardians.” Luna explained every point sufficiently. Sunset had to admit she was impressed by the speech.
Celestia's brow furrowed in frustration, still unsatisfied with the idea of Sunset being off on her own when she wasn't ready for it. Luna seemed convinced that this was a good idea, but she wasn't ready to let the teen go just yet.
“Look, if it makes you feel better we don't have to do everything all at once.” Sunset explained, “What's probably most important right now is for me to get a job. Once I've got the hang of working and getting a paycheck I can worry about housing then.” Taking things one step at a time was how she'd been doing it so far, might as well do it with this plan.
Celestia still looked unsatisfied, her hands fidgeting and moving between relaxed and curled together, before she finally let out a bit of a defeated sigh. “Alright, very well. I'll allow you to get at least a job for the summer Sunset.” Celestia relented, Sunset's pride swelling with the feel of a victory, “But you have to promise me one thing Sunset.”
“And what's that?” Sunset asked curiously.
“If at any point this plan of yours becomes too much for you to handle, be it having a job or owning your own place... I want you to tell me, and then you'll come back to live here for at least a while longer.” Celestia expressed very seriously, looking Sunset in the eyes.
“Wow, already having zero faith in me.” Sunset rolled her eyes, crossing her arms and turning away. At least this Celestia kept that personality trait from the Princess.
“It's not having zero faith in you Sunset, it's making sure you don't get in over your head out there. I just want you to be safe.” Celestia's concern was apparent by the tone of her voice.
“And I have no intention of letting myself get into harms way while I'm here. I need you to trust me on this Celestia, alright?” Sunset demanded, glaring at the older woman who was questioning her ability to handle herself.
“...Very well Sunset. I will trust you for now.” Celestia solemnly nodded before getting up and walking deeper into the house. Sunset blinked at that. She had been ready to get into a fight with the older woman, having fully expected her to fight her about that issue till the very end. Instead she had just gotten up and walked away.
Well, guess there really wasn't much point in complaining about it, at least she'd gotten what she wanted.
“That went better than I expected it to.” Luna said, a little surprised herself. She turned to the teen with a smile, placing a hand on her shoulder, “I'll make some calls tonight and get things ready for you, and if it goes well you might have a job interview tomorrow.”
“You're straight forward and to the point Luna, I like that.” Sunset smirked, finally feeling good about her place in this world.
“My sister has a habit of doing what's right, but also trying to let the person who she is helping find out on her own why it's in their best interest. I however, feel it's better to be more direct about the situation. If I did not feel like these steps in your life would help you, then I would not agree with your plan.” Luna explained straight forward, “You should make sure you are ready for tomorrow. You'll be seeing a different side of the world than you have been up until now. I hope you are prepared.”
With that, Luna got up from her spot in the living room and wandered back into the depths of the house as well. Sunset was now alone in the living room, left to ponder her thoughts.
Luna's warning made her hesitate for a moment, but her pride and confidence pushed those troubling thoughts aside.
At this point she was certain she had faced the worst that humans really had to offer. After what happened on her birthday, she could handle anything. Of that she was certain.
Driving with Luna was a bit of an odd experience for Sunset. Not that there was anything wrong with her driving skills, if anything Luna seemed more aware of the road than even Celestia was while driving. No, what felt weird was just this sense of isolation while driving with Luna. Celestia either tried to open up with some conversation or at least leave the air open for them, but Luna felt off putting and cold towards conversations while driving.
It was unnerving, like having a magic golem as your travel partner.
It hadn't been a long drive, but when they finally pulled into the parking lot of their destination Sunset felt like they had been driving for hours. She hopped out of the car first, Luna quickly following as Sunset looked around. It was a small back alley parking lot that lead to quite a few small businesses before them. The main road was on the other side, but even from here it was hard to hear the cars driving by.
“Over here.” Luna waved at Sunset as she walked towards the back entrance of one of the buildings. Sunset was getting a bit of a creeped out feeling from all this, like she wasn't supposed to be back here. Luna walked up to the non-descript white door and rapped her hand against it several times before stopping. The two of them sat there for a moment, Sunset fidgeting in place before a voice called out from through the door.
“State your business.” A very gruff man's voice said through the door. The very sound of it sent a creeped out shiver down Sunset's back.
“It's your favorite fallen raven 'Kingsly', open the door.” Luna spoke almost whimsically, as if she found the situation amusing. Sunset was creeped out by that tone as well.
The door's bolts were turned loudly before slowly slipping open, a large cloud of smoke pouring out as the door opened. Being hit with the cloud of noxious gas, Sunset couldn't help but gag and cough, stepping away from the door for a bit and trying to get some fresh air. Luna looked unphased though, as if she was used to it.
Sunset lifted her shirt over her mouth as she gagged and coughed, opening her watery eyes to look up at the figure that had appeared at the door. It was a tall middle-aged man with a fairly muscular build and a dark gray skin tone. His hair was black and greasy, but slicked back. His eyes looked sickly, but the pupils were glaringly red and intimidating despite that. He was wearing a black and gray suit that clung tight to his body and he was dragging heavily on a cigarette hanging from his mouth.
“Well well, if it isn't my old fling Luna. You said you'd be coming by, but I didn't actually expect to see you today.” The older male chuckled darkly, grabbing the cigarette and tapping it, “You didn't really tell me what you needed over the phone either. I wouldn't happen to be getting a lucky booty call now, would I?” He gave a wink as he showed off a smug grin.
This man made Sunset want to gag.
“If only you were so fortunate.” Luna smirked back at the man, before turning to face Sunset, who was still taking deep breathes through her shirt, “However, my business today involves this young lady here.”
The man Luna had referred to as 'Kingsly' set his sight on Sunset, making the girl nauseous as she watched his eyes look her up and down, sizing her up like a piece of meat. Sunset wishes she could will herself to vomit from just being looked at that way by the man, but her body was not feeling cooperative.
“Well, I've never really been much into the young ones, usually I prefer a bit more experience to my women, but I mean, if you're offering I don't mind. She's not half-bad.” The man chuckled not breaking his smug grin.
Okay, now Sunset could actually vomit.
“Now Kingsly, you know I don't care what it is you do with your business or who you make passes at. But touch a hair on her head and I will personally guarantee you will be spending the rest of your days regretting it. Understand?” Sunset didn't directly see the look Luna had given Kingsly, but from her tone and the way he reacted, she was glad it hadn't been directed at her.
“Hey, Lighten up sweet cheeks, I'm just joking.” Kingsly shook his head with a chuckle, “Both of you come inside and we can discuss business.” He took one last drag from his cigarette before flicking it off into the parking lot. Luna gave Sunset a reassuring nod before walking into the building first.
“Note to self, never start smoking.” Sunset grumbled to herself as she followed Luna inside.
She closed the door behind her and looked around the dark shop. There was just enough light to see, coming from a dimmed light over head, but Sunset couldn't tell what exactly it was Kingsly did back here. There were several shelves filled with a large variety of mechanical junk, a couch and table with a TV near the middle, at least two desks that looked like they had various projects going on at once, and several posters plastered on the walls.
What got her the most was the overwhelming scent of thick smoke in the air, and the unbearable atmosphere that this wasn't a place that decent folk should be. Luna didn't seem disturbed by this at all. If Sunset had questioned Celestia's story about her sister before, she was willing to believe it now.
“So what brings two ladies such as yourselves to my workshop this day? You've made it very clear this is not a pleasure trip.” Kingsly shook his head before flopping into a chair before one of the desks. He grabbed a loose carton of cigarettes, shifting one out, biting it out, then pulling a lighter out of his pocket to light it.
“I'll go ahead and cut straight to the point then.” Luna said, lifting one hand to gesture towards Sunset, “This young lady needs a fake ID.”
“An illegal immigrant? Gotta say Luna, that's a little mundane and unlike you.” Kingsly said, letting out a puff of smoke as he turned to inspect Sunset again. Sunset turned away from him with a scowl on her face. “Where'd you pick up the little firecracker anyway? She certainly looks like she was born here.”
“I was not the one who found her, my sister was.” Luna shook her head, “As for where she is from I do not know. All I know is that she has no documentation and needs at least the bare minimum, and that is why we're here today.”
“Huh, never thought she'd be the law breaking kind. How's she doing these days anyway?” Kingsly asked with a hint of genuine curiosity to his voice.
“She is fine. She would probably desire to strangle you if she knew I was meeting you again, but she handles life one day at a time, the same as the rest of us.” Luna shrugged, “But I don't much care to reminisce about old times, will you help us or not?”
“Heh, cold as ever Lulu.” Kingsly chuckled, tapping his cigarette against an ash tray, “Yeah, I'll help you. Won't be free though.”
“I was expecting a price. I hope you understand not to make the price too extravagant.” Luna placed a hand on her hip, looking at Kingsly seriously.
“I'm pretty sure I know what I want.” Kingsly said with a smug grin, putting the cigarette into the ash tray. He stood up from his chair and walked over to Luna, wrapping his arms around her and looking her in the eyes. Sunset hadn't noticed that he towered a full head over Luna before, it was disconcerting for her to see their height different now.
“I want to hear you say my name again. In that special voice I used to love hearing so much.” Sombra growled, his hands gripping her back and pulling her close. Sunset couldn't help but feel a blush form on her cheeks watching such an intimate embrace, even if it was from such a vile man.
“Oh, it has been far too long for that. I don't think I can anymore.” Luna softly chuckled, shaking her head.
“Come on, I know you've got it in you.” Kingsly let his words linger, pulling Luna in even closer. His hands caressed her back before pressing down, going further and further down her back until-
Sunset turned around her face flushing red, no longer wishing to see this display.
“Oh, very well.” Luna's reluctant but wispy voice came from behind Sunset, “I need this ID very badly. Please Somby, do it for me.”
The voice Sunset heard must've been some alien that took over Luna's body. She refused to believe that the same person that had driven her here with that cold aura around her had said such a thing in such a sultry tone.
“Mmph, now that's what I needed to hear.” Kingsly shuddered, making Sunset's stomach flip. “Alright kid, follow me, I need to take your picture.”
Sunset blinked and turned around, noticing the older man was heading into a different room now.
“Go ahead,” Luna said nodding her head in his direction, “He won't bite. Be a little crude, but if he does anything to you, he knows I won't forgive him.”
“Comforting.” Sunset shuddered, trying to get the mental image of Kingsly groping Luna out of her mind. She quickly followed into the next room where she was surprised to find a fairly sophisticated camera set up in the room. It looked fairly out of place compared to the rest of the building they were.
“Stand there and give a good smile.” Kingsly pointed towards the hanging white curtain in front of the camera. Sunset nodded and quickly took her place. Kingsly got behind the camera and adjusted some settings, “There'll be a bright flash, so don't blink.” He explained quickly. Sunset nodded and put on her best smile.
Sunset struggled to keep her eyes open for a full second after the flash had gone off before squeezing her eyes shut and rubbing them. She had hated taking photos even in Equestria, it was good to know they were just as bad in this world.
“Alright, that's all I need from you.” Kingsly shook his head back to the other room, “You can go back in there, Luna will give me the rest.”
Sunset just nodded, not wanting to be in his vicinity for any longer than necessary and walked back out. Luna walked into the room after her and she could hear the two of them beginning to talk about the information needed for the ID, but she'd had enough of this. She opened the back door and stepped outside, taking in a deep breathe of fresh air, thankful to be out of the smoke filled hole of a building.
She walked over to Luna's car and leaned against it, crossing her arms in frustration as she waited outside. She appreciated what Luna was doing for her here, but that didn't make the process any less nauseating or frustrating. Kingsly had said that she wasn't needed now, so hopefully she could just sit out here until Luna was finished.
Sunset found herself fortunate that she had at least brought a book with her for the ride, now reading it while she waited for their business to be finished here. Several minutes passed, Sunset getting quite far into her book when the door to the building finally opened once more. Looking up she could see Luna exiting, closing the door behind her as she walked up to Sunset.
“Here you are Sunset, one ID that should fool most anyone.” Luna held out the ID for her. Sunset took the rectangular card and examined it. Her smiling was in the upper left corner, with various information written on the surface. It was glossy and shined in the sun, but as far as she could tell it certainly looked official.
“Well, thank you Luna.” Sunset nodded her appreciation, before pocketing the ID and maneuvering around to the passanger side of the car. Strapping in as Luna started the car again. Luna pulled out of the parking lot and starting heading to their next destination. “He didn't... do anything to you while I was waiting for you, did he?” Sunset asked a little apprehensive about the answer.
“Would you really want to know if he did?” Luna asked with a bit of a smirk, as they came to a stop at a light. The image of that vulgar, greasy man slowly removing his clothes entered her mind and she quickly shook her head to get it out, not wanting to hurl her lunch all over Luna's car.
“No no, you're right, whatever you do with him is none of my business.” Sunset shuddered in disgust, the car moving forward as the light changed.
“You're a bit predictable sometimes, Sunset.” Luna chuckled at her response, “Though I would appreciate it if you didn't mention who I got the ID from to my sister. Just tell her that you managed to get one, alright?”
“That shouldn't be too hard.” Sunset shrugged, “I do owe you for getting it for me after all.”
“Well, now that you have that, we can go to our second appointment for the day. It won't exactly be a big job, but it should be one even someone your age can handle.” Luna smiled, turning the corner onto the next street. “If your interview goes well enough, you could even have a job as early as tomorrow.”
“By tomorrow? Wow. Where exactly did you get me signed up for anyway?” Sunset asked curiously.
Sunset let out a sigh as she watched another human walk into the store. She reminded herself to put on a smile for them and put on the best fake smile she could muster. She adjusted the dumb red and yellow hat on her head, and ran a hand down her matching apron as they approached.
“Hi! Welcome to Station Burgers, can I take your order?” Her fake smile twitched a little as she stood behind the register waiting to put his order in.
Sunset let out an exhausted sigh as she flopped face first onto the living room couch, tossing her work hat onto the coffee table. It had only been a 4 hour shift, by all means she had been there for less time than any of the other workers, but her legs were killing her. Perhaps it was just not being used to being in her human body for that long, or maybe it was because she had to stand around in essentially the same spot for 4 hours, but it had taken it out of her.
She knew she had been the one to ask for this, but human jobs were a lot more boring and physically taxing than she had expected them to be. Standing behind a register, awkwardly figuring out what buttons to push had not been her ideal way of approaching work as a human. They were lenient on her due to her age and lack of experience, but that had not made it any less stressful.
This had all better pay out for her in the end or Equestria might not be the only place she'd end up ruling over once she obtained her power.
Groaning and shifting her weight on the couch, she turned the TV on and let herself at least veg out for a little bit. Celestia was already in the kitchen working on dinner, so she at least had that to look forward to.
“Good afternoon Sunset, how was your first day of work?” Luna's voice piped in, looking at the flopped over teen with a smirk. Sunset let out a grumble of acknowledgment before sitting up and rubbing her head.
“It was fine I guess. I mean, it was work after all, it's not like I was expecting it to be fun.” Sunset couldn't help but wish she had at least gotten a job that used some of her talents in a meaningful way, even if it was just maths and sciences that could be applied in this world. Pushing buttons was just so menial and monotonous.
“I'm sure you'll get use to it with time. And if you can prove you can do a good job, I can always manage to find someone who is willing to hire you for more money. It all depends on how well your job experience goes.” Luna explained with a smirk.
“No idea how long that's going to take, but it couldn’t come soon enough.” Sunset grumbled, flopping back into her laying position. Luna could only smirk before heading back deeper into the house, leaving Sunset to veg out for a while.
Sunset couldn't help but wonder if there was some stress-free way to earn some money in this world. She knew money wasn't free, but there had to be an easier way than relying on Luna to get her annoying jobs like working a fast-food register.
“I've got a surprise for you Sunset.” Celestia said with a smile, approaching the young girl in her room. Sunset looked up from the book she was reading curiously, before putting it down and sitting on the edge of her bed. Celestia walked over to her, then handed the teen a small white, thin rectangular box.
“Oh...” Sunset blinked, picking it up, “This is... This is a 'phone' isn't it?” The screen was a solid black color, much like how the TV looked when it was turned off. She could see a faint reflection of herself in it.
“It is. I figured you've been here long enough, and now with you starting a job as well, that you should probably have a line of your own.” Celestia smiled, “I know you've been curious how they work too, so it seemed like now was a good time to get you one.”
“That's... Really thoughtful of you actually.” Sunset blinked at the gift a little surprised. She examined the phone, looking for a power button like the TV had. Uncertain of which one was the power switch, she just pressed whatever looked like a button on the device. After waiting a few seconds of nothing happening, she furrowed her brow in confusion, “How do you turn it on?”
“Just hold the button of the side for a few seconds until the screen flashes.” Celestia explained. Sunset found the button then held it for a couple seconds, before her screen finally lit up. Letting go of the button, she watched the screen flash through a couple of logos until it finally reached a front screen. She followed the instructions on it, pressing her finger against the glass and swiping it, the screen fading away into another, this one with the time and temperature displayed in a big block at the top with several smaller icons on the bottom.
“How exactly do these work anyway?” Sunset asked, turning the phone around to the blank back before looking at the screen again, “I kind of want to take it apart and look at the pieces to see how it does so much in such a small space.”
“I wouldn't recommend taking it apart.” Celestia grimaced at the idea, “The electronics on the inside are very sensitive, and trying to put it back together might permanently damage the phone. If I were you, I'd just look it up on the internet. I'm sure they can explain it in detail there.”
Sunset furrowed her brow in confusion, “Internet? I've heard that name a few times but I have no idea what that is.” The problem Sunset found herself with when watching human television was that they expected you to already know a lot of basic concepts like phones, TV, and 'the internet' without explaining what they were, so what few context clues she had gotten about anything like that was few and far between.
“It's probably going to be a lot to take in when you see it then.” Celestia chuckled, moving to sit on the bed next to Sunset, “Before you do that though, let me help you get adjusted to your phone. It's a lot to take in, and even someone familiar with phones in this world can get lost at first.”
For the next few minutes, Celestia showed Sunset how the features on the phone worked, how to type in messages, how to call someone, how to store their number, and all the basic features phones were capable of. Once Sunset felt she had a handle for it, Celestia informed her how to hook the phone up to the house's wifi.
“The password is 'Harmony'.” Celestia said with a smile.
“Har... Mo... Ny.” Sunset spoke aloud as she finished typing in the password. The phone accepted the password and the bars at the top changed, indicating a connection had been established. “So, now what?”
“Now, you'll want to open the internet app.” Celestia said, navigating Sunset through the phone to the icon. “Tap that and you'll be directly connected to the internet.” The icon quickly loaded, filling the screen before a white page with a single word.
“Goggle?” Sunset asked confused, “I don't get it.”
“There's a little bar underneath it, see? It's a search engine. It searches for whatever you type in there.” Celestia explained.
“That's...” Sunset furrowed her brow at the explanation, “I don't get what you mean. Are you saying if I search for something, this will just bring up what I'm looking for? Like, I dunno, I wanted to look up TV shows, this would just bring me to a list of them?”
“It'd probably show you links to websites that will list what's currently playing on TV.” Celestia looked at Sunset with a smile, “Just try to search for anything, you might be surprised with the results.”
Sunset let out a sigh of confusion and looked at the app again. What Celestia said was certainly hard to believe. After all, the closest to something like that she'd seen in her world was a simple library navigation spell that would help you find the right section for the book you were looking for. And even that was only used in Canterlot's extensive and massive library system. Having an improved version of that right in the palm of her hand felt like it was too good to be true.
Deciding she might as well test Celestia's claim, she used her earlier example as a basis and typed into the box 'TV shows'.
The screen flashed for a moment before the box moved to the top of the screen and below came several links with information underneath them. The top most text read 'Most Popular TV Shows'. Unable to believe such a thing was possible, she quickly tapped the link and watched the screen load once more, before a list of TV shows she'd seen playing on TV, or at least scene advertised, began appearing in order down her screen. Tapping one of them led her to a new page that gave a detailed summary of the show as well as what times it was airing.
“That's... That's not possible!” Sunset said in disbelief, looking at Celestia with her jaw hanging ajar, “Are you serious!? You can just look up any information you want with just a few presses of a button!?”
“Well, not anything.” Celestia said with a chuckle, “There are some things that even the internet can't tell you. But there's so much for you to be able to look up that I don't think it's possible to see all of it in the span of a lifetime.” She patted Sunset's shoulder with a smile, “Just be careful not to let yourself get overwhelmed by it. And there are a lot of places where humans make posts with the intent of making you upset, so if you see someone saying something you don't care for, I'd just move on to something else.”
“Yeah, okay.” Sunset said not really listening to Celestia anymore. Her mind was abuzz with possibilities, how this literally changed everything she knew or understood. All this time every single answer to any question she had could have been answered with a few presses of a button. Her mind was literally unable to process it, where would she even begin?
“I'll leave you alone to adjust to it for now. If you have any questions feel free to ask me at any time.” Celestia patted Sunset's shoulder one more time before getting up from the bed and exiting the room.
With Celestia gone, Sunset fumbled with the app for a bit to get it to go back to the search page. Once she got there, she typed in her first serious search, 'Portals to Equestria'.
The search results this time, however, were worthless to her. The first result was about some sort of music festival, the second was a page that talked about the theoretical physics about portals, but nothing about them actually being real or where to find them. The third thing she found was pictures of a 'video game', another thing in the human world that Sunset had only heard vague words about from what few moments they talked about them on TV.
“I guess that was hoping for too much.” Sunset grumbled as she looked through the searches and seeing less and less relevant results as she looked. She returned to the search page and typed in another search, 'Magic Portals', hoping to get a more direct answer. This time all she got were phone apps that were also games, other game pages, and a casino link.
She let out a frustrated sigh and ran fingers through her hair. She had to remind herself that magic was a fictional concept in this world, no matter how real it actually was. And considering the information about the portal to this world was in the forbidden section of Equestrian history, it wouldn't make sense that any information about real portals to other worlds would be easily accessible here either.
That left her stuck on what to search for next, all of her mental plans were derailing at that realization. She couldn't look up magic spells, or how to amass magical power, or anything that would actually help her overthrow Princess Celestia. That meant in all likelihood CHS didn't have any books that would help her study the portal or magic either. The only benefit she had in going there now was for her to be in close proximity of the portal. She'd be able to check up on it at any point then.
At least her phone's calendar app would be able to help with that as well. Keeping track of how many days it had been since she had been there, she quickly mathed in her head how long it would be till the portal opened again in 30 moons, then put a reminder on the calendar app for it. She was still going to check manually whenever she had a chance though, but she felt comfortable knowing she had a reminder that wouldn't let her forget.
Her mood had soured considerably now and she laid on her bed contemplating what to do next. It was amazing that she had a reservoir of near infinite knowledge at her finger tips now, but it only worked if she typed in the right thing to search for or if the answer actually existed in this world. It left her frustrated that it wouldn't help her with her goals... But maybe it could help her finally learn about the human world?
Lifting the phone to her face, she switched back to the internet app and began typing, 'How Do Phones Work?'
With a turn of the key, the door slid open. Luna held the passage open for Sunset as she stepped inside and flicked the switch by the door, the lights turning on and illuminating the space before her.
Sunset had to admit that the space was actually more spacious than she had thought it would be. When Luna had told her it was a two-room condo, she had expected it to be cramped. Instead she found a space that could easily fit 3 or 4 couches in a row, a walk in kitchen, a doorway that clearly led to the bedroom area, and a bathroom.
Sunset let out a whistle, “This place is way better than I thought it was going to be.”
“And in a good part of town too.” Luna smirked, closing the door behind her, “Honestly, if I was looking for a new place on my own, I'd probably buy this one in a heartbeat. And you're getting it for a steal too, you should be grateful.”
“Geeze Luna, just how far do your connections go?” Sunset asked, putting her hands behind her head.
“When I turned my life around for my sister's sake, I destroyed a lot of the connections I had made in that lifestyle. However, the connections I did keep, I decided to make stronger and to only use them for good. You'd be surprised how many up-standing citizens still need back-room deals to do everything they want.” Luna chuckled, “Even on the meager salary you're making currently you should be able to afford this place on your own. Utilities will be covered by your rent, so all that's up to you is food and cable. And right now Celestia is paying for your part of the phone bill, but I expect you to start paying for that too.”
“Yeah yeah, I got it all covered. I just need to get the paycheck from my job, have you help me set up my bank account and we'll be all set. Honestly, the only thing I really don't have right now is my own transportation. Which is the next on the list for us to do right?” Sunset asked, turning to look at Luna with a smirk.
“Yes, I've already gotten a cheap car ready for you to practice with. Once you've gotten the hang of it I'll help you find a decent and cheap car for you to buy.” Luna explained.
“That shouldn't be too much of an issue. The job, the apartment, the school, all of it's been a breeze so far! How much harder could driving possibly be?” Sunset remarked with a smirk.
“I PANICKED OKAY!?” Sunset whined, squeezing her hair as she stared at the wrecked front end of the hunk-of-junk she'd been practicing with. The end result of a hard collision with a sturdy tree.
“We were fortunate not to be seriously injured.” Luna groaned, trying to crack her neck, “Though the whiplash will take some time to heal.”
“Gaaaaah! I tried to slam on the brakes and I slammed on the gas instead!” Sunset groaned, throwing her head into her hands. It had been hard enough getting a firm grip on the wheel with her awkward fingers, but in her panicked state she'd forgotten where things were in her spatial area.
“Well, it'll take a little while for us to either get the car fixed or to find a replacement vehicle.” Luna shook her head, pulling out her phone and dialing a few numbers on it, “You wait here while I make a call. Hopefully this won't set us back too far.”
Sunset kicked the broken car as Luna walked away. She had no idea driving would be so involved, she thought she had been taking it slowly and meticulously but she still managed to screw it up. How in Tartarus did humans have such good spatial awareness to manage all the small details of driving while also factoring in every other human on the road dealing with the same thing? It was ludicrously absurd to her.
All the TV shows she watched had made it look way easier than it actually was too. High speed chases were nothing in them, and here Sunset could barely handle 30MPH, let alone 90. She could only grumble before leaning against the car and contemplating what she would do now. Maybe driving wasn't for her, but she still needed to do it to meet Luna's conditions. It was the last condition she had to meet for Luna to be willing to let her leave.
If this failed too, everything else she'd been doing would be for naught.
“Well, we're in luck.” Luna explained, walking back over as she pocketed her phone. “Since it was just a piece of junk meant for practice anyway, no real money was lost. They'll likely just scrap it for parts and get us another one by tomorrow. Though they did mention to not make a habit out of crashing them or else they'll run out.”
“It's a little ridiculous that I'm expected to drive this thing.” Sunset complained, shaking her head. “Aren't there other modes of transportation that are way easier than this?”
“I wouldn't say way easier, but there are alternatives.” Luna explained, “Why, have you given up on driving already?”
“I haven't, I just think that this shows I need to train my spatial awareness a bit more, perhaps get a feeling for other vehicles.” Sunset kicked off the car and looked at Luna, “What if I tried learning how to ride a bike first? Get a feel for moving while coordinating something, and then maybe moving up to a motorcycle and then a car or something.”
“Most humans would generally consider a motorcycle harder to drive than a car Sunset.” Luna explained with a shake of her head, “You're much more open to the danger of the elements, there are no real safety measures should you get into an accident, and you have to be even more aware of your surroundings than usual.”
“It was just a thought Luna.” Sunset shook her head, “I do still think a bike would be a better starting place for me.”
“Very well, if that is the pace you would like to start at, then I have no objections. Luckily, Celestia and I still have a bike in working order in the garage. We don't have any training wheels though, is that alright?”
“Pffft, who needs training wheels.” Sunset remarked, fully confident that as long as the vehicle was smaller and less dangerous than a car that she'd be able to master it in a short period of time.
Sunset very loudly yelled one of the many obscenities she had learned in her short time in the human world. She twitched and sucked on her teeth as she untangled her leg from the carnage that was her bike crash. With careful turns and pulls she finally managed to free it, carefully rubbing the length of her leg.
She pulled her jean leg up and could see that her leg was scratched up pretty heavily, some spots bleeding, though none of it was as bad as it felt. It'd likely give her a few bruises, but nothing she couldn't survive. She cursed under her breath a few more times as she squeezed pressure on her leg and tried to subdue the pain.
The step by step process she had read on how to properly ride a bike played through her mind again, trying to pinpoint the exact moment of where she had screwed up. Her arms were too shaky when trying to maintain the vehicle, her fingers couldn't grab the brake with any kind of ease, her balance was all over the place, she could barely maintain velocity, and she turned far too steep.
A cocktail of mistakes that ultimately resulted in several crashes, and one particularly bad one just now. It still wasn't nearly as catastrophic as the disaster that had been her learning to drive the car, but she never expected that getting a moving vehicle to work for her was going to be this much pain.
She could keep hammering away at the bike for days and potentially not get very far if all she was going to do was keep crashing and losing her balance. If she was breaking down the learning process, she needed to break it down even further. She had to think of this like it was a math problem. After all, she didn't learn how to do calculus by jumping straight into it, she had learned algebra first, and basic mathematics even before then.
This was the same way. If she was going to ride a bike, she needed to train her hands, arms, and balance as a human. She'd gotten away so far with not having to do much in terms of walking or using her hands, her phone and eating were the things she used them for the most, but now she was facing a real challenge of moving forward.
Pulling out her phone, Sunset quickly began searching up ways to improve her body's coordination. If there was some quick and easy way for her to learn, she wanted to learn it as soon as possible.
Looking through the various articles on her phone, an idea popped up in her head. School was going to be starting soon for her, and if what she was reading was correct, there was a way for her to incoporate her education in this world with improving her balance.
“Your certain that's the magnet you want to join” Celestia asked curiously.
“Is there a problem with me joining?” Sunset asked rolling her eyes.
“No, it's just... Do you have any experience with the subject?” Celestia fidgeted a little, trying not to upset the teen.
“Well obviously not! That's why I want to join it, so that I can properly have a place of learning for it.” Sunset demanded.
“Well, it's just usually the music program doesn't allow anyone in who has absolutely no experience with the subject. It's more about teaching those who already have some experience with instruments the systems in detail, about how to improve their technique, getting into the working field with their talents, and that sort of thing. They don't have time to teach you from scratch.” Celestia tried to explain to the best of her ability.
“Wow. That's a stupid system.” Sunset huffed, crossing her arms angrily, “What's the point of having classes to learn something if they don't actually teach you how to do the thing?”
“I know it might seem weird from your point of view, but I assure it's a system we've honed over several years of study.” Celestia nodded while doing her best to explain, “However, if you are serious about taking the music magnet, then we can get you an instrument to practice with here before school starts. If you do well enough, I won't reject your admission into the musical magnet.”
“UGH!” Susnet groaned, putting her palm to her face in frustration, “It's always one thing after another! I have to prove myself at this, I have to prove myself at that. Can't anything ever just be straight forward and simple?”
“Life rarely is Sunset.” Celestia began, but Sunset just shook her head.
“Spare me the lecture please.” Sunset groaned. “Fine. I'll get an instrument and I'll spend the next two week just practicing it rigorously, then you'll have to let me into it right?”
“I don't see why that can't be arranged.” Celestia nodded with a smile.
“Fine. We'll get an instrument. But I'm paying for it with my own money. I'm tired of letting you buy me everything.”
“I see no issue with that.” Celestia chuckled.
“-You're going to put your first finger on the first fret of the second string, and your second finger on the second fret of the fourth string...” Sunset's phone began to rattle off as the video played. Sunset awkwardly positioned the guitar in her lap as best she could, trying desperately to follow along with the video. She paused it at several parts to make sure her fingers were following the actions on screen.
She fully expected at this point for the guitar to just burst into flames or to explode into tiny pieces or whatever else it could possibly do when she struck the pick against the strings, but to her surprise all it did was let out a fairly harmonious single note.
“Hey, I did it!” Sunset beamed with pride as she repeated the note a few more times. “Seems the information I read was correct, if I learn how to play guitar my finger and hand coordination should go up immensely.” She chuckled as she strummed the chord up and down a few times, the chuckle turning into a bit of a girly giggle.
Playing the guitar was kind of fun. She leaned over to the video and continued to play it, learning each part of the video at her own pace and figuring out the timed positioning of her fingers.
This was how she was gonna be spending the next few days of her life, and she didn't mind that at all. It was certainly better than crashing constantly, or standing for hours on end at a job she hated. It was good for her to have a hobby as well, something to take her mind off of the stress around her.
And hey, how cool would it look to lord her immense power over Celestia while rocking a wicked guitar solo? That alone would give her many nights of encouragement to keep playing.
The early morning sun was just breaching over-head as Sunset stood before the front entrance of CHS once more. Other students were already making their way into the school, the official first day of CHS beginning soon. After nearly 3 months of adjusting to this world, she was finally back to where everything had begun for her.
She had to remind herself that in the end, this was still just a normal school in the human world. It likely wouldn't be all that different from how schools were in Equestria, but if her talks with Principal Celestia had taught her anything, it was that CHS was likely not as academically challenging as Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns had been.
Sunset took confidence in that fact though. It was going to be easy for her to become an ace student here, and she was going to take advantage of that fact.
Sunset turned around and looked at the CHS statue that stood before the school. A magnificent horse etched out of marble, a representation of the school's mascot and the students drive to march forward in their education.
Not that any of that actually mattered to Sunset.
Walking up to the statue quickly, she stared at the dull reflection of her face on the polished marble. She hesitantly extended her hand, unsure if she wanted to touch the surface just yet, but reaffirmed herself and pressed her palm against it.
Nothing but solid marble pushed back against her, just as she expected it to. It was far too soon for the portal to open again, there was still at least another 26 moons to go before it re-opened, but testing to see if it was open or not re-assured her some. For all she knew there could be some potential time anomalies going on that desynched the two dimensions from each other, a factor Sunset had thought about and was going to try and keep track of. The writings about the portal still etched themselves into her mind.
Every 30 moons for 3 days the portal will open.
That was what they knew from the Equestrian side. She was going to have to check from this side to make sure it matched up here too. Pulling out her phone, she made a quick note on her calender that the portal hadn't opened, and then pocketed it before turning and walking to school.
Celestia had made sure that Sunset had gotten a map of the school along with her schedule, ensuring she wouldn't get lost. Sunset wondered if every kid in school had both, though something told her that in all likelihood most only had the schedule sheet.
Stepping in through the front doors she was greeted with a large open room she hadn’t seen since the first day she actually spent in this world. Only this time other humans around her age were milling about, making it feel rather cramped and crowded. Some were standing around mingling, others walking with purpose, and some just straight up playing games there in the hall. It was a disorganized mess, not like the crowds she would've seen back at Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns.
At that school everypony knew they were important and would walk with purpose to their classes or scheduled events. Here it felt like no one had a care in the world, like they could all just go immediately fail all of their classes for the year and none of them would care, they'd probably just laugh it off as a weird coincidence that it happened to all of them.
Already Sunset was beginning to feel like she wasn’t going to like the atmosphere of this school.
Her first stop was to find the locker that had been assigned to her, get it all set up, then head to her first class for the day. It didn't take her long to find, it was just down the hallway from the front door. Opening it up revealed just an empty metal cabinet meant for holding school supplies so she wouldn't be carrying them around all day. Opening her back pack she pulled out a few issued books for her classes as well as the familiar brown journal with her cutie mark emblazoned on it.
She hadn't opened it since the day she got the last message from Celestia, nor had she seen it glow with indications of any further messages.
Putting everything away, she decided it'd probably just be better to get moving on to class. She turned down the designated hallway and began her trek across school. The music rooms weren't too far into the school, more located to one side of the building. Her first class of the day was her mandatory music class, and she was feeling confident about it.
Celestia had explained it wasn't for those just beginning to play music, but she was already strumming her guitar to basic songs. If she kept up that pace she'd be a master at it in no time. She was certain that with how much work she put into her guitar playing, the music course would be a breeze to ace through.
...Not that acing her classes was even that high of a priority for her. In this world she couldn't care less about what humans thought of her academic abilities, after all she was only going to be there for two more years, after that she was going to become grand ruler of Equestria!
Massive amounts of power be willing, of course.
No, if anything, acing all of humanity's school courses was just going to be part of her ego boosting, just another step towards proving just how truly magnificent she was.
Sunset broke out of her revery when her eyes noticed she was being stared at. She hadn't been doing any over-the-top movements, so her eyes snapped to the person staring at her. A male student jumped in place and quickly looking away before his crimson face could show through. Sunset furrowed her brow and pursed her lips, not entirely certain of what just happened.
She turned her head the other way, and saw another group of males quickly turn away with similar expressions of their faces. Shaking her head she continued walking towards her class, a little confused at their reactions.
Those hadn't been looks of fear or like they were judging her, the only time she'd seen faces similar to those was during some of her TV shows when people had difficulty confessing their love for-
Sunset stopped at the realization. She smacked a hand against her forehead and let out an audible groan. Celestia had mentioned something about this to her before, but she hadn’t really been paying much attention at the time. Celestia had been worried that boys her age would be attracted to her and that she should look out for any trying to just get close to her because of that, but she certainly hadn't thought it would be true.
Adjusting her backpack and walking with a forceful step in her pace, she continued forward. Whatever, if humans wanted to have a crush on her she couldn't care less, she had no interest in getting romantic with any of them. If they approached her with any interest like that then they were just going to get a cold serving of harsh reality.
Though she did think seeing their crushed faces at being rejected could be amusing.
Finally arriving at her class, she entered with a proud stride to her step and looked around. There were already a few students sitting around waiting for class to start. Some had instruments out, doing some warm up sessions, while others were mingling around. The class was mostly empty for the moment, no doubt the rest of the students were waiting for class to start before filing in. Sunset looked at the chalk board and saw the words 'Open Seating' written in big letters, so she figured she could sit anywhere.
Not feeling like sitting anywhere where she'd be forced to be social and not caring too much about the curriculum, she headed for the back of the class and found a nice seat in the back to call her own. The chairs weren't exactly comfortable, but then again the chairs back at Celestia's Academy for Gifted Unicorns hadn't been comfortable either. Par the course with any school it seemed.
With the other students doing their own thing, Sunset just pulled out a book and began reading. There couldn't have been all that much time left between now and when class would start, so she was just looking to kill some time.
“Hey, what'cha reading there?” A female voice spoke up. Letting out a disgruntled sigh and looking up at the interrupter, she saw a girl with fuchsia hair and pink skin leaning over her desk, a curious smile on her face.
“It's just a medieval fantasy book.” Sunset rolled her eyes before looking at her book, “It's nothing special.”
“Well I mean... You don't really see a lot of kids our age reading that kind of stuff. Or any book really. I mean, you can read anything you want online, why read a book?” The girl chuckled at that. Sunset closed her eyes and furrowed her brow as she rubbed her head. She used the internet all the time to learn pretty much anything she needed, but there was no way she was going to be giving up physical books in exchange for a single screen of text.
“My names Fuchsia, by the way. Fuchsia Blush.” The strange girl introduced herself.
“Wow, what a fitting name.” Sunset grumbled annoyed.
“Yeah, I get that a lot. My parents said they couldn't help but name me once they saw my hair color.” Fuchsia shrugged with a chuckle, “What's your name?”
“Sunset Shimmer.” Sunset said flatly, looking back to her book and turning the page. She was just wishing for the bell to ring already, or for Fuchsia to at least notice that she didn't want to be bothered.
“That's a pretty name too.” Fuchsia nodded, “Do you wanna hang out some time after class? You look like you could use a friend.”
“No thanks, I'm good.” Sunset retorted quickly, “I'm not exactly here to make friends.”
“Oh...” Fuchsia said feeling the rejection, “I guess that's fine. Sorry to bother you then.” The girl turned and quickly walked off towards her own desk. Sunset let out a hard sigh and turned back to her book. Something in the back of her head told her she should feel at least a little bad for the way she had treated that girl, but what she had said still held true.
She wasn't here to make friends. There was no point in getting attached to anyone here. All of them would be nothing more than pawns to her own rise to power.
After what seemed like the longest wait, the school bell finally rang, students around the class room scrambling for their seats while what was left of the class filed into the room shortly after. Following those students was the teacher as the bell rang once more for the official start of class.
“Hello students, my name is Mrs. Doodle, and I shall be your music instructor for the year!” The older woman chuckled, writing her name on the black board for all to see. “Now, I can see a lot of you already have your own instruments that you brought in, or have noticed the instruments in the room. So, as this is our first day, I thought it'd be fun if some of you came up here to give a little demonstration of your talents so far! Don't worry though, I'm only accepting volunteers today so if you're nervous about performing you don't have to. Now, would anyone like to play a short piece for the class?”
A couple hands went up around the room, Sunset deciding to keep hers down for now. She had gotten confident with her guitar playing skills, but she was still only two weeks into playing it. Enough for Celestia to consider her passable for the music magnet, but not enough to be showboating just yet. She still had a while to go for that.
Several students went up front and played on their instruments a bit, some obviously better than others. There was a flute player, a cello player, a violin, and a trumpet. Sunset didn't really pay attention though, she just sort of tuned out and let her mind wander into space. This was just some sort of bonding ceremony for the class or something stupid like that, not that she really cared. Not to mention none of them were even playing her instrument, so there was nothing for her to compare against.
“-and I play Guitar.” A boy spoke up next. Sunset's ears perked at that and she brought her attention up front again. He was a blue haired boy with a slightly orange skin tone and wore a jacket and jeans. He was holding up a red guitar as he prepared to play. Sunset couldn't help but smirk, finally something to compare her skills against.
The boy pressed his hands against the frets and lined his pick against the strings. Sunset watched carefully as pulled his hand up, and began to play.
Sunset blinked in surprise, having a difficult time keeping up with the pace of his fingers. She'd seen videos of humans playing at ridiculous speeds, but this was her first time seeing it in person. His fingers practically glided up and down the frets, and his notes were perfectly tuned. The piece only lasted a few seconds, but he finished off with a big strum while let out a heavy breathe.
“That's the best I can do so far. I don't have the stamina to maintain that yet, but I'm hoping to one day.” He casually laughed, brushing the back of his head while the class gave an impressed clap.
Sunset sucked her teeth and glared at the blue haired boy. She knew full well that it didn't matter who was better at what in the class, but somehow knowing she was being severally out classed left a bad taste in her mouth. She was Sunset Shimmer after all, if she was going to do something then it was only worth doing if she was going to be the best at it.
Only a few more kids went up and performed a short piece, none of them guitar players so she just tuned them out again. Sunset tapped a pencil against her desk as she thought of how she was going to improve her playing skills to a point where she could at least boast to being better than wonder boy over there. It was probably going to require a lot of nights of hard practice, getting the timing and movement of her fingers just right, but she'd already made leaps and strides as far as those were concerned.
With her mind spaced out, the time flew by and before she realized it, the end of class bell had run. Shaking her mind free, she grabbed her bag and headed out of class quickly. The halls were teeming full of students once more, heading to class or hanging around, Sunset wasn't sure what to make of it all so far.
Letting out another frustrated sigh, she decided to go straight to her next class. There was no point in her standing around here after all. She couldn't help but get the feeling it was going to be a long day.
3 classes had come and gone, and lunch was soon on it's way out. So far only one of her classes had actually had any sort of 'learning' to them, the other 2 had just been introductions to the class or the classmates. For Sunset, that meant it had only been a genuinely boring day that was dragging on for way too long.
All it did was make her wish to be back at the Academy, at least there her knowledge was put to good use and it passed the days quickly. All she was doing here was sitting in a dumb chair for nearly an hour at a time before getting up and moving to the next. Maybe it'd get better once the actual academics started, but somehow she doubted that.
Her free period for the day was up next. She was considering spending the entire time in the library just finding things to read or perhaps just browsing more of the internet. Perhaps she could get a head start on studying for her history class, it was the only class that she had any worries about. Though she considered maybe going over to the portal to study it for a bit, but she didn't have any equipment to study it with, nor did she even know what tools she could study it with on this side of the portal.
Sunset let out a sigh and finished the last bite of her burger. It was a passable meal, enough to fill her up, but she wouldn't eat it if she really had any other options for meals right now. It was either the cafeteria menu or bust, especially with nowhere else to eat within walking distance. Plus Sunset had a feeling that there was a 'no leaving campus' during school hours policy, as no one else seemed interested in leaving. At least the meals were cheap.
Crumpling up the trash from her meal, she got up from her secluded seat at the end of a table and headed to the trashcan to dump it. Her mind wandered for a moment at how strange it was for her to still be getting adjusted to human food after all this time, but after all the research she'd done on the subject she was finally beginning to have no qualms with eating it. She just had to keep in mind not to eat this way when she got back to Equestria.
With her tray returned the bell for the end of lunch rang out. Soon students were rushing about once more, finishing their food, throwing out their trash, putting away their trays, and slowly the cafeteria was emptying out.
Sunset made her way out into the halls, checking her map for directions to the library. It looked like she would have to pass through the commons to get there, but it wasn't all that long of a walk from the cafeteria. With that goal in mind, she set forth, passing through the milling students.
The hallways emptied as the start of class bell rang once more, the only students still milling about in the halls being the ones with their free period for now. Sunset just continued on her path to the library, noticing a sizable gathering of students in the commons. She had expected them to be a little more scattered than this, not all grouped together like this. Was there a reason?
“Gather round one and all! Be astounded by the amazing performance of the Great and Powerful TRIXIE!” A white haired girl with blue skin shouted out in the commons, standing atop a small platform that elevated her above the other students. It certainly solved Sunset's mystery of why there were so many kids gathered around, even she could probably draw a crowd if she was was being that boisterous and noisy.
Giving her head a shake, she turned and continued on her way to the library, not caring whatever this 'performance' was going to be.
“Feast your eyes as the Great and Powerful Trixie astounds you all with magic the likes you have never seen!”
That stopped Sunset in her tracks. She blinked in confusion before turning to look back at Trixie, the boastful girl standing there proud of herself. Had Sunset heard her right? Magic? But there was no such thing in this world, that much she had gathered from the few searches she had done on the subject. Yet this human was claiming she could do it?
Sunset joined the crowd of gathered students to watch. If nothing else, it had to be worth a laugh right?
“For Trixie's first trick, she will need a volunteer from the audience!” Trixie proclaimed, looking near the front row. Finding her target, she pointed out to a female student with blonde hair and violet skin, “You there! Step forward!”
“Who, me?” The girl asked hesitantly before stepping forward.
“What is your name?” Trixie asked curiously.
“Lavender Lace.” The girl replied quickly.
“Very well Lavender, the trick is very simple.” Trixie said pulling out a deck of cards from behind her back. She began rapidly shuffling them in her hands, “I'm going to give you this deck of cards and I want you to shuffle them for me, understand?”
“Sure, sounds easy enough.” Lavender replied, holding out her hand as Trixie placed the pre-shuffled deck into her hands. Lavender shuffled the deck similarly to Trixie, though at a bit of a slower rate.
“Now, once you feel it's properly shuffled, I want you to pick up the top card and show it to everyone in the crowd, but do not show or tell what it is to Trixie!” With the rule explained, Lavender picked up the top card and looked at it before turning to show it to the crowd. It was the 5 of clubs. “Now if everyone has the card memorized, put it back on the top of the deck and hand it to Trixie.”
Following Trixie's orders, Lavender placed the card directly on top of the deck and handed it back to Trixie. Trixie held up the deck to show everyone, “Now, you all see that Lavender put the card back where it was and Trixie has not shuffled or changed the cards around. So whatever card she showed you is still there.” Trixie grinned at this part, “Now Lavender, Trixie wants you to pick a new card. Any card in the deck that isn't the top card.”
Lavender thought about it for a moment, before speaking up, “The Queen of Hearts.”
“The Queen of Hearts! A fitting card for the Great and Powerful Trixie.” Trixie chuckled, before taking her free hand to the deck and flicking the top card with her fingers. “However Lavender, there is one problem with your choice.”
“What's that?” Lavender asked curiously.
“Trixie told you,” Trixie began to explain as she drew the top card from the deck and without looking at it showed it to the crowd, “To pick a card that WASN'T the top one!” Clear as day to everyone there, the Queen of Hearts was on display, having been drawn as the top card of the deck.
The crowd of students let out a combined sound of surprise before clapping at the impressive trick. Sunset was a little baffled by the display. What had just happened there? Trixie had just pulled a card other than the one that should've been there from the top of the deck, but not only that, she pulled the card that had been picked.
Was that how magic worked in this world? The set up was presented as some sort of stage show, rather than an actual exhibition of magic. She knew there were ponies in Equestria that went from town to town to present magic tricks as their job, but this felt different somehow. Had she really cast a spell to change the top card of the deck? Or was it an illusion spell that changed what people saw? Was actual magic even involved in this?
“Thank you all very much.” Trixie boasted over the aplause, “The Great and Powerful Trixie has many more tricks up her sleeve though!” She chuckled, before grabbing the sleeves on her blue hoodie and rolling them up. “Or perhaps there are no tricks up my sleeves after all!” She laughed at her own joke as she reached into her pockets and pulled out two red handkerchiefs “For Trixie's next trick, it's an oldie but a goodie.”
Trixie cupped the red pieces of cloth into her hand and squished them together. “Let's start simple with a little color change.” She grinned, pulling her hands apart and showing the two clothes had now turned from red to blue. “Next, let's multiply them.” She clasped her hands back together before separating them, four blue clothes now hanging from between her fingers. “Next, let's tie them together.” Another clasp of her hands before pulling apart showed eight pieces of red and blue cloth all tied together in an alternating pattern hanging between her fingers.
The crowd let out another series of 'oohs' before clapping again. Sunset rubbed her chin watching the trick be performed, still uncertain of how exactly Trixie was pulling this off.
“And now for the final part of this trick,” Trixie grinned as she clasped all of the tied together pieces of cloth into her hands again, “I will do a Trixie original! It takes a little bit more work than the others,” she explained as her hands worked themselves together repeatedly, “However, after all is said and done, you end up with!” Trixie released her hands, grabbing one end of the sheet with each of her hands before letting it spread out, revealing a 4 by 4 quilt sheet of handkerchiefs, perfectly arranged in alternating color order, “A perfect quilt made by yours truly!”
Another series of applauds, this time with a couple of the boys whistling in approval.
“Thank you, thank you, you all are too kind.” Trixie chuckled, clearing reveling in the attention. She tossed the quilt behind her, “Now, the Great and Powerful Trixie shall show you one more trick today! One of her finest, I might add. Now again Trixie will need a volunteer. One with a dollar bill, doesn't matter the size.”
“I've got one!” A short portly orange haired boy with blue skin spoke up, waving around a 5 dollar bill.
“Perfect. Come up here.” Trixie beckoned with her hand, the boy quickly bounding up to the stage to stand next to her. “What's your name kid?”
“Snips ma'am!” He answered proudly, holding out the 5 dollar bill for her.
“Alright Snips, Trixie wants you to take this marker and quickly write your name on the bill.” Trixie explained, twisting and snapping her hand, somehow summoning a marker into her hand.
“Yes ma'am!” He responded quickly taking the marker and writing his name on the bill.
“Very good, now hand it to Trixie.” Snips placed the bill into her hands and she inspected the writing. She then held the bill up for all to see, “Now, everyone can see the writing on the bill correct? Trixie will now make the bill, DISAPPEAR!” Trixie twirled her fingers around the bill, and as though there was a wall behind her fingers, the bill seemed to disappear into thin air.
“Now you may be asking yourselves, 'Where did Trixie hide the bill?'” Trixie pondered, pretending to be the audience. Trixie twirled her hands for the audience, “It's not in Trixie's hands.” Trixie turned her hoddie's pockets inside out, “Not in Trixie's pockets!” She pulled on each of her sleeves separately, “It's not hiding in Trixie's sleeves!” Trixie put a hand to her chin and thought, “It seems to have gone missing! Perhaps Trixie truly made it vanish from reality!” She chuckled to herself.
“It seems we shall never know...” Trixie pondered, putting her hands into her hoodie and fixing the pockets. Trixie's eyes then lit up as if she realized something, “Wait a second!” Trixie said, pulling her hands out of her pocket and pulling out an orange from out of nowhere, “It seems something has appeared in Trixie's hoodie! How did an orange get there?”
Trixie spun the orange around, showing everyone that the peel was wholly intact the entire way around. “Well, Trixie did just eat lunch, but she could always go for another snack.” She grinned. Digging her nails into the skin of the fruit, she made surprisingly quickly work of the peel, pulling it aside and revealing the juicy fruit underneath. “Wait a minute, there appears to be something in Trixie's food!”
With one last pull of the orange, it split in half and sitting in the middle was a curled up dollar bill. "It seems Trixie has found the missing bill!" Pulling it out and unfurling it and showing it to the audience, it was clearly the same bill that Snips had written his name on.
One last round of cheers and applause came from the crowd as Trixie took her bow for her audience. She gave the remains of the orange and bill to Snips as she stepped off of her podium.
Sunset was really curious now. While the other students were discussing the show amongst them, Sunset circled around the crowd and kept an eye on where Trixie was heading. Trixie was walking down the hallway, heading towards the locker section. Following quickly, she caught up Trixie.
“Hey, Trixie!” Sunset called out, surprising Trixie as she turned around, a grin on her face.
“Oh, a fan?” Trixie chuckled, raising up her hand and waving, “Trixie appreciates your enthusiasm, but she really must be on her own for the moment. Certain tricks still take a lot of energy out of Trixie.”
“How'd you do all that?” Sunset asked unflinching.
“Heh, silly girl, don't you know? A magician never reveals her secrets.” Trixie smirked, waving her hand around to emphasize how grand she was.
“What else can you do? Can you do levitation? Teleportation? What about transmogrification? Mind reading? Do you know any attack spells?” Sunset demanded, stepping forward with each barrage of her questions, Trixie backing up and looking off put.
“Hey!” Trixie yelled, pushing back, “Get away from me you weirdo! Haven't you ever seen a magic show before!?” Trixie got away from Sunset, adjusting her hoodie. “I have no interest in associating with someone who can't just enjoy a free show! Hmph!” Trixie flicked her hair and stormed away, leaving Sunset in thought.
“A magic show?” Sunset muttered to herself as she thought it over. Her searches for magic had only shown negative results, but if this was an actual thing humans did then she could finally start finding some answers.
Pulling out her phone, she pulled up her internet browser and starting searching up 'Magic Shows' and 'Magic Tricks'.
Arriving at Celestia's house, Sunset flopped on her bed, tired and feeling a little defeated. After having watched Trixie's magic show, she thought she had found a break through on how to get magic in this world, but all it turned out to be were illusions. Simple slide-of-hand tricks that were to fool humans into thinking one thing is happening when really another is happening.
Trixie had been good at her craft too, when Sunset tried to look up the tricks she had performed online, she hadn't really found any ways to do them. After having watched several performances though, it wasn't just a one time thing, all of them had some explanation or trick to them that showed it wasn't real magic.
Real magic truly didn't exist in this world.
That thought had weighted on her mind the rest of the day and she hadn't even paid attention to her last two classes. It had consumed her thoughts as Celestia drove her home. She was really getting sick of all the false hopes and fake leads that kept turning up as dead ends. Every single thing she thought so far would lead her to gaining power only turned out to be massive busts.
What was there left for her to try and do now? Was all she going to do was wait for the portal to open up again? She had so much time to figure out a plan once the portal was open again that there wasn't any point in trying to think of what to do once she returned right this moment. Thinking of what she'd do once she returned to Equestria would only depress her right now.
Letting out a defeated and annoyed sigh, Sunset sat up and grabbed her guitar, adjusting the tensions on the strings and strumming the strings a little. It was soothing to just take her frustrations and turn them into a bit of music. She had never thought she would've been into music, or at least creating music, but she found herself enjoying the hobby. Even if she had decided to learn it so that she could ride a bicycle.
Her hands stopped at that thought. She had only barely been trying out her bike the past few days. Between work and studying her guitar, she hadn't put much effort into it. And if she was going to move into that condo Luna had set aside for her, it was something she needed to do.
She may have been tired, but mastering that bike was what she needed to do right now. Putting her guitar aside, she got up, and headed for the garage.
Standing at the top of the hill, she looked down at the path below her. It wasn't the steepest hill nearby, but it was steep enough to get the bike going at a constant velocity. She had done a few laps on the flat course she had been using and her handling had improved way beyond what they were before, with only two crashes to her name before they stopped happening at all.
All that left then was the speed and braking tests. If she could pass that, she'd finally be ready to tackle a vehicle with an engine on it.
Adjusting the strap on her helmet to make sure it was fit tight, she got up onto the seat and gripped the brake. Making sure the kickstand was up and keeping herself balanced with her foot on the ground, she took a deep breathe and let go of the brake, kicking herself forward.
The first few seconds were fine, just building up speed like normal. She didn't even need to turn the pedals, the bike built up all it's momentum on it's own. Faster and faster she began to accelerate, the force of gravity pulling her as she rode down the hill.
She gripped the handle bars and kept her eyes focused, feeling the wind rushing past her hair and body. This speed felt different from just riding around on her bike. She felt her body naturally moving forward, angling herself horizontally. Her grip with her hands and feet felt familiar, as if she was sliding into a form she hadn't taken in so long now.
The clicking of the bike reminded her of the clicking of her hooves against the ground, the rush of wind felt similar to her running full gallop down a long road. Her body shifted it's weight so naturally while on the bike, it was like she'd done this her entire life.
The speed increased to the point she was comfortable, and she gently pulled on the brake to maintain that speed. With the turn coming up, she adjusted her body weight and began to turn. The feeling came so naturally it was as if she was back on four legs again.
The turn was hard and fast, the wheels whirring as she made the turn, not bending the bike too far to crash it, turning the wheel only enough to make sure she could safely make the turn. The wind rushed past her ears and the turn ended, Sunset righting herself on the bike and heading down the street at the speed built up by her downward ride.
She almost couldn't believe the difference going fast down a hill felt compared to slowly building up speed and balance at a slow pace on the bike. She flexed her fingers as well, each individual fingers releasing and re-gripping the handles. Her finger dexterity was far better as well, the guitar lessons having worked out immensely.
Swerving the bike while gripping the brake hard and letting her foot down, the bike slid to a stop, her footing keeping the bike upright. Sunset couldn't help but feel pride in her skills at this point. In what felt like a relatively short time to her, she had already gotten this far with her skills.
If she could do this well on a bike, perhaps a motorcycle really was the better option for her over a car. She felt like she could conquer the world now.
Though she figured that was how she was supposed to feel, after all it was going to come true one day.