Sunset Shimmer struggles to deal with the accusations of Anon-A-Miss, and decides that this may be the straw to break her back.
I have fallen in love with the Anon-A-Miss story line, and all the different stories that depict darker, more realistic takes on what may have happened. It is heavily inspired by a lot of different Anon-A-Miss stories that I have read, and I decided to give my own take on the story line, and everything that could have happened should that event be so traumatic as to break Sunset’s spirit.
Gore warnings for self harm. Teen rating for mention of self harm, and the discussion by characters about self harm and the aftermath of self harm General warning for not great writing xD
Sunset pulled the collar of her leather jacket up, attempting to wrap her face in as much protection as possible from the raging of the wind and ice that whipping around her face, freezing the slow tracts of her tears. Pausing from her endless march, her leaden legs thankful for the pausing of motion, Sunset turned her eyes upwards, attempting to pierce the veil of snow and sleet that was hiding everything past her nose. She sighed, before starting once again to lift and place one frozen leg in front of the other, wondering where she went wrong. Not even an hour ago, she had attempted to meet her friends, or rather former friends it seems from their actions, and give one last argument as to why she was innocent, that she was not Anon-A-Miss. She thought back to the start of her week, her emotions high from the enjoyment of the sleep-over at Applejack’s, and how much she wished that those emotions could have continued, unsullied by the threat of fellow students attacking her, first verbally then physically, and the scorn of those she thought of as more than just friends. They were family. They said it themselves. Obviously it meant nothing. Come Wednesday, the day after the Rainboom’s sleepover at Rarity’s, she had been disowned. Somehow the photo’s of the group’s little fashion show had been uploaded onto the internet, somehow acquired by Anon-A-Miss, and used to both embarrass her former friends, and to slander the good name that Sunset had attempted to gain for herself since the Fall Formal. Everything she had done, ranging from community service, to all the actions of atonement she had attempted, she thought it was getting somewhere. Then the Battle of the Bands happened, and it appeared that it was all for naught. In the end she helped save the school from the Sirens, playing a major part in the final defeat of the three Equestrian beings, and it seemed like she was finally forgiven…
So why was she slogging through ankle high snow drifts in the middle of the biggest blizzard the region had seen in years?
The Rainboom’s made it clear that they no longer wanted her. The students of CHS made it abundantly clear that they shared that opinion, as Sunset had spent all of the day skipping school, afraid she would be attacked again. One of her hand sorted through one of the pockets of her leather jacket, before bringing the object that caused her so much panic that she skipped school. It was a simple piece of black plastic with a little yellow slide that, when pushed, caused a small, thin, but very sharp blade to come out. Commonly known as a box cutter, this item had been used by a student to attack Sunset, attempting to gain vengeance for the spreading of a secret that she had once again been framed for. Sunset managed to avoid the attack, the student heavyset and obviously not used to such motion, and used the student’s charge to trip the student, causing the knife in his hand to fall to the ground. Sunset scrambled to pick up the small blade, holding it shakily in front of her, brain frozen for a moment in shock at the fact that someone had just tried to attack her, before she ran away from the school, away from students so hellbent on getting rid of the fiery haired young woman. She flipped the item over in her hands, sliding the blade out and looking at the sharp glint of the blade from the overhead streetlights. She should have let the student finish the attack. Fresh tears assaulted her eyes, as she paused once more, looking around and trying to get some kind of landmark to help her recognize where she was. Bright light poured out of a building ahead, a business perhaps she thought, still open even as the blizzard tore through the city. She couldn’t feel her legs. She willed them forward, slowly rising from one shaky leg to the other, before the frozen ground rushed up to greet her. She laid face down in the snow for a moment, just trying to find something to grasp onto. Her former friends had abandoned her. The princess who reformed her refused to respond to desperate pleas. If she attempted to return home…
Sunset slowly rolled over onto her back, her arms flopping uselessly around her before contacting something. It was small, her fingers slowly grasping it and bringing it before her eyes. The box cutter. Sunset made her decision. If no one wanted her, if no one cared about her, then she would leave. Leave everyone, and everything. She slowly reached her freezing, aching fingers across, up to the cuff of her sleeve, before pulling the pop together clasps apart and rolling the leather down her arm. She took the blade, broken from the fall somehow, and drew the ragged, chipped blade down her arm.
We trusted you, Sunset.
Crimson pooled around the blade as it broke her skin.
We thought you were our friend!
She drew the blade down, the crimson bubbling up to meet the frozen air.
How could you do this?
The blade continued its slow path down the frozen skin of the teen, who was unaware of any feeling.
After all we’ve been through together?
A single tear came to Sunset’s face, freezing instantly from the cold.
You must’ve just been pretending to be our friend, when all along you were just after our secrets!
Sunset pulled the blade away and held the arm above her head, unfazed as she felt droplets fall onto her face. She put the blade down, using the now bloody arm to tear the sleeve down her other arm, before grabbing the blade once more.
You’re not our friend!
Sunset brought the cold metal down her arm, quicker than she had with the previous arm.
Yer not welcome here, Sunset!
The instrument clattered to the ground, followed by her arms, as she stared up at the falling snow. At least here, in some unknown part of a city, on a world that she wasn’t even born on, she could make things right…
The cerise skinned woman waved farewell as she exited the business, a long black bag protecting the coat that she had just picked up from the elements that were raging outside. She hoped that her old beater of a vehicle would start in this cold, suddenly regretting not listening to her boyfriend of many years when he suggested she buy a new one. Shaking her head she started down the road, before pausing. There was something laying in the snow, judging by the way fluffy white flakes were pilled. She slowly creeped forward, wondering what it was, before pausing in shock when she noticed what it was. She screamed as she dropped her bag, rushing forward and kneeling as she dug the sunken figure out of the freezing snow. Her cries went answered by the shopkeeper, and older, portly gentleman, who rushed out, broom brandished to help defend his customer. Instead he found her cradling a young woman.
Clear liquid slowly dripped from the top of the small rotund tube, into the small reservoir pooling at the bottom. It flowed like molasses through the winding maze of the tube, making its way to the small needle that was resting in the amber flesh of the unconscious girl, taped securely to her as it pumped its payload into her bloodstream.
A wide array of machinery hummed with energy, recording and monitoring the sleeping patient, taking measurements from the spiderweb of nodes that were attached to her. Each steady beep signaled a victory in the fight for life. The figure stood, jotting down notes as they read from the multitude of displays and readings, their face a mixture of worry and content. This young woman had been brought in by ambulance, raced through the slick and treacherous road conditions to get her to this hospital, all in an attempt to save her life. It seemed that the blizzard that raged last night may have helped save her life, its cold, freezing sleet and snow helped slow the flow of blood. Frostbite had been a concern, the medical staff didn’t know how long the patient had been out in the cold, and there had been worry that she may have lost her digits to the freezing chill. The figure sighed, deeply worried by the condition this girl was in. They turned around to look at the young woman.
“Is this supposed to be Tartarus?”
The figure took a step back, obviously shocked at the comment coming from the crimson and gold haired girl, before steadying themselves and walking over to the patient's bed. They paused, before reaching pulling their clipboard out in front of themself once more, peeking at the name at the top of the sheet.
“Sunset Shimmer, correct?” Sunset nodded, and the figure continued, “Nice to see you are awake hun. I’m nurse Kind Heart, and I was just in checking on your vitals. You’ve been through a lot over the last day.”
Sunset couldn’t help but give a grim grin as she stared at the ceiling fan doing slow, lazy rotations. “More like the last week.” She muttered humorlessly.
Kind Heart noticed Sunset grumbling. “Anything you want to talk about?”
Sunset closed her eye’s, rolling her head back. Everything was fuzzy, like every sense was detecting rough cotton, its scratching embrace overwhelming the normally bright mind of Sunset. After what seemed like an eternity she peered over to her side, taking in the nurse that loomed over her. Kind Heart was a rather unassuming character, dressed in standard medical uniform, her pale periwinkle skin gave way to rather stunning grey eyes and short, styled black hair.
Kind Heart cocked her head. “Pardon darling?” She asked as she stepped closer, kneeling down in front of Sunset to look her in the side gazing eye.
“Why am I still alive…?”
Kind Heart frowned at Sunset’s remark. “Why ever would you ask that?”
It was Sunset’s turn to frown. This wasn’t what was supposed to happen.
“Seems I’m also a failure at one more thing…”
Kind Heart reached out and slowly grasped Sunset’s hand, squeezing lightly and reassuringly.
“I can’t say I know what drove you to this, and I definitely can’t guess why you would call yourself a failure.” Kind Heart’s tone was easing, she was trying her best to put a good face forward to this young girl who didn’t seem the type to consider suicide as an option.
“That’s only cause you don’t really know who I am… If you did…” Sunset sighed and tilted her head towards the nurse, her eyes dead and lifeless, “You would be just like all the others…”
Kind Heart reached a hand out, brushing a few strands of Sunset’s lustrous hair out of her face, taking in the depth that was the aquamarine irises of the eyes that stared at her. The nurse smiled at Sunset, causing the amber girl to frown slightly, before grasping the hand again. “Why don’t you tell me a bit about yourself? It’s going to be awhile before the doctor who headed your surgery comes in to see you.”
Sunset continued to stare through Kind Heart. “What difference would it make?” Sunset suddenly chuckled grimly, “Actually, maybe it would prove to you that I shouldn’t have been saved.” She attempted to sit up, but stopped and grimaced once her body started to argue with that idea, pain lancing through her arms, causing her to fall back down. “I guess laying down it is…” Sunset sighed, before looking once more at the ceiling fan. “It starts years ago, when I ran away from home, farther then anyone on this world could possibly fathom, all because I scorned my teacher.” Her eyes started to mist slightly, as she continued her tale. “She was like a mother to me, she saved me from the streets, brought me up with all the kindness and understanding that her many long years had imparted unto her. But in the end… I threw it right back at her…”
Kind Heart stayed silent, and Sunset didn’t know if was due to pity, or thinking that Sunset was crazy.
“When I arrived here, I was in a brand new place, somewhere I had never encountered before. Yet everything seemed similar, as if I had never left home, as if I had entered a plane of dopplegangers. To skip over some long boring details, I was enrolled at CHS, given a small apartment suite nearby the school, and soon started my studies once more. But the old me never left. I was arrogant, proud, and willing to do anything to prove I was the best. I became a bully. Not a bully that caused physical harm, no. A bully that would find your deepest darkest secret, and blackmail you with it. People feared me, listened to me because of what I threatened, and as such I continued to my destructive path.”
Sunset stopped, feeling the itch and burn from her arms, as well as the dryness of her throat. She hadn’t talked like this in a long time, her voice had grown unused.
“Could you get me some water please?” Sunset asked of the nurse, but didn’t bother to look over, waiting patiently as the nurse held a small water bottle in front of Sunset’s face, a straw sticking out.
After a few long pulls, Sunset motioned that she was done, and Kind Heart deposited the half empty bottle onto the bedside table.
“Now where was I?” Sunset pondered, “Ah, right. It continued for three years, I threatened those in grades above mine, and destroyed those below me. I was the undisputed queen bee of the school, untouchable by even the teachers. Until one day, just after the start of fall at our big dance, the Fall Formal. All my plans came undone, I became corrupted by my hubris and paid for it. At that moment, I was purified. All my sins lifted off my back, and I came to realize what I had become. The one who saved me, she asked the school to give me a second chance, and tasked five of those I hurt the most to make sure of it. It was a charity case, but I came to eventually think of them…”
Kind Heart reached out and brushed away the tears that started to trail down Sunset’s face. This was girl, a young woman who was hurting about her past. She wasn’t some sort of monster, even if she believed such.
Sunset snorted, unable to believe that she would shed tears. “Sorry, I… It’s still a fresh wound…” She shook her head before looking over at the nurse. “ I came to think of them as the one thing that I never had… I thought of them as family.” Sunset’s voice cracked, long repressed sorrow breaking through in front of a complete stranger. She wept silently, tears continuing to streak down her face as Kind Heart rubbed her shoulder.
“You know, the saying is right,” Sunset eventually croaked, her voice hoarse still, “You never know what you have until it is gone.” She slowly brought her arms up to wipe away her face, her finger soaked in the fluid that leaked from her eyes and down her cheeks. She pulled them away, looking at the bandaging wrapped around both of them, hiding the failure of her suicide attempt from her view.
“In the end, I was disowned by them. Tossed away because I was framed for actions that were not my doing… I think what hurts the most?” Sunset looked at Kind Heart, noticing the tears sliding down the nurse's own face at the telling of Sunset’s tale, “I think the fact that they didn’t even give me a chance to defend myself. They bought into the hate, and threw me away like everyone else.”
The door shuddered as a firm knock rippled through the mahogany wood, sound echoing in the small room. Kind Heart looked at Sunset, reaching out and wiping away the teens tears, before wiping away her own as she stood up. Straightening her gown she turned to the door. “You may come in.”
The door admitted a taller man, his pale lilac skin covered by his winter coat, small flecks of snow still visible on his shoulders, and he made sure to brush off the offending moisture from his hat, fresh off his head of stark white hair. “That is one heck of a storm out there, eh sis?” His voice carried a heavy bass, which surprised Sunset as the voice came such a slight, wiry man.
“Stoic, professionalism… please!” Judging by Kind Heart’s tone this sort of action from the man, who appeared to be wearing more weight in clothing than his own body, was quite a common occurrence.
The man, Stoic, slumped at his sister's remark, obviously playing it up as judging by the puppy eye’s he gave. “I am so sorry, sister dearest, is there anything I could do to make up for this?”
Face meet palm. Kind Heart groaned loudly, before she returned to her stance and rolled her shoulders. “Sunset Shimmer?” She peered over her shoulder at the teen, who nodded that she was paying attention, her gaze not leaving the ceiling fan. “This is Stoic Heart -” “That’s Doctor Stoic Heart Nurse! Professionalism!” The bass rumbled out, interspersed with chuckles as said doctor started to strip out of his outerwear.
“He was the doctor who performed the surgery to save your life last night.” Kind Heart finished, unperturbed by her brother’s outburst. “He decided to come in slightly early to check up on you, and I was here to check your vitals before I passed you over to him.”
Kind Heart turned to her brother, who was busy pulling on his bow tie. He looked at her, wiggling his eyebrows as she upturned her own. “Here is the readings I took just before she woke up.” She stated as she handed her clipboard over to Stoic Heart, “I suggest you actually… Why do I even bother with you?” Stoic took the clipboard and flung it over his shoulder to land perfectly on one of the guest chairs that adorned the room near the entrance, as Kind Heart shook her head. “I will leave you two be, I’ll be waiting outside.”
“Now Sunset… Actually, that’s a bit long, how about Sunny?” Stoic took post beside the bed, looking down at the teen, and when he received no response he continued, “Now Sunny, you were brought here in the late evening with critical injuries due to the self harm you inflicted upon yourself. If it had not been for the timely exit of the woman who found you, combined with the reckless driving of the ambulance that delivered you, you would not be here right now.”
Sunset’s chest rumbled as she chuckled silently to herself. “If only I hadn’t been found in time… Everyone would be better off.” As soon as she finished she saw a shadow loom over her, followed by a sudden stinging on the tip of her nose.
Sunset brought a shaky hand up, grasping the tip of her nose between forefinger and thumb. She looked up the doctor, wearing a look of a puppy wondering why it’s being punished. His face was stone,a great bulwark in the form of a slight frown adorned it. “Why would you say that?” He asked, his tone demanding an answer from the teen, who laid there still staring at him. Why did he care? Yes he was a doctor, but she was Sunset Shimmer, She-Daemon extraordinaire, and she deserved no pity, no respect, no love. Yet he continued to stare down at her, patiently awaiting the answer.
Sunset swallowed, before affixing him with as much a glare as she could muster. “If you had the choice of slowly freezing to death, or going quickly which would you choose?” Venom had been hurled, hate and rage boiled in the words that came from Sunset, all directed at this damn doctor who had the gall to save someone as worthless as Sunset Shimmer. Instead the doctor looked down on her, pity evident in his eyes.
“I can’t blame that logic, but why did you feel like you had no other choice?”
Sunset was stunned, more by his remark than by the question that followed. She took a moment to digest what he said, before she looked down, certain she would be crying if she still had tears to give.
“Because I was abandoned by everyone again…” She muttered softly. “Because I had nowhere else to go and no one to look after me. Everyone hated me for something that I didn’t do.” She sobbed softly. Why? Why was she showing such weakness before these strangers. She felt the bed shift slightly, before she was lifted, pulled into a tight embrace by the doctor, and loath as she was to admit it, she was happy by this action. She wrapped her arms around him, shaking in the nook of his shoulder, as he whispered reassurances to the distraught teen. It was a couple minutes later when she pulled away, eyes downtrodden as he reached over and patted her head.
“Sunset, I cannot say that life is ever perfect, hell life is pretty full of disappointment, of failures and falling down. But while you may have hit a downwards patch, I am certain there is more good to come in your life.” Stoic Heart reached out and grasped her chin, slowly turning her face to face with the savior of her life. “I do know this though, if you didn’t want to live, you wouldn’t have woken up today.” His eyes portrayed calm, his demeanor eerily similar to Her own. “You fought through the entire surgery, refusing to give up on this world. It wasn’t just me who saved your life. You fought, tooth and nail, to stay here with us.”
He stood up, hand rubbing Sunset’s upper arm, as there came another knock at the door. Stoic immediately returned to his overly chipper mood from before. “Come on down, contestant number three!” He called out, cheesy grin plastered to his face, as the door opened again, this time admitting both Kind Heart, and a second woman, her cerise skin flush from just coming in from the cold, evidenced by the soft white fluff that covered her multicolored hair. “Ah, we also have the return of contestant number one!”
Kind Heart rolled her eyes as she guided the other woman in. “Now I am sure you remember this buffoon, as well as this girl he was no doubt pestering.” She motioned to the other woman, who had pulled off her winter coat, still slick with moisture from the snow outside. “Sunset Shimmer, this is Mi Amore-”
“Cadence is fine.” The other interrupted, smiling at the nurse, before coming before Sunset. “I’m glad to see you are still with us. I was worried you weren’t going to make it.”
Sunset looked up at her. No doubt, this city must have clones of everypony from Canterlot, and surrounding areas, as standing before her was, at least back in Equestria, Princess Cadence, Princess of Love, and adopted niece of Princess Celestia herself. Here though? Sunset had no idea what Cadence did, though judging by the quality of the outfit she wore, it was something that paid pretty decently.
“It was quite a shock to see you partially buried by the snow last night. I’m glad the storekeeper had his cell phone handy to call for an ambulance.” Cadence nodded solemnly, before asking the amber teen, “How are you feeling today?”
Sunset looked up at Cadence, surprised at who it was that found her. “Like all my senses are being assaulted by rough cotton swabs.” She stated as she held up her arms, “And these are irritating the heck out of me with how itchy they are.” Sunset frowned as she laid them back down, turning to face away from Cadence. “But most of all? I’m sad that I lived…”
Cadence gave a large frown, as she reached out to the teen. “You know, my aunt was telling stories about you this last week, saying that you were some kind of bully who had gone back to her past after tricking everybody into thinking that you had changed.” Cadence tilted her head as she looked at Sunset, who was starting to sob quietly again. “But talking with you here, just this little bit so far?” Cadence reached out and held onto Sunset’s shoulder, “I don’t think she was right.”
Sunset openly started bawling, somehow finding tear reserves as they now flowed ever freely down her face. “Now-*hic*-now do you see?” She cried, “Do you understand why I had no other choice? Not only did the people who told me that I was family abandon me, but my own teacher, no matter which world, abandons me as well!” Sunset’s hands wrung through her hair, grasping it and causing it to stick out at odd angles. “All I have are a few items in a small little apartment that I was given because I convinced them that I would rather live alone. Even my only true friend hasn’t responded to my pleas.” Sunset gave a deep sob. “Why… Why won’t you respond to me Twilight?! You’re supposed to be my protector Twilight Sparkle, but you’ve abandoned me the same as the others! How could you?!” She asked hysterically.
“Twilight Sparkle? What does she have to do with this?” Cadence asked, a queer look spreading across her face. “I didn’t know she had friends? Well, other than those three girls that showed up recently, but…”
“Twilight was the one who helped me change. She showed me the error of my ways back on the night of the Fall Formal!”
“Are you sure the girls name is Twilight Sparkle? I’m a good acquaintance with a student at Crystal Prep named Twilight Sparkle, and as far as I know she is either at home or or school, so I have no idea why she would be at CHS.”
Sunset froze for a moment. Why was she blabbing all this out? She slowly turned to Cadence. “I’m probably remembering her name wrong, sorry…” Sunset paused as she looked around at the three adults looking at her, each giving her a concerned look. “Sorry, I’m just… I’m at wits end…” She mutter unapologetically.
Stoic Heart cleared his throat. “Now Sunny, while you seem to be awake and well on the way to physical recovery, you obviously have a lot on your plate as far as mental recovery stands. Now I know you said you live alone, however I am going to have to place you into a foster home until you have been given a clean bill of health.”
Sunset was not happy to hear that. “What do you mean! I refuse to going to go back to an orphanage or foster home or whatever you want to call it! I’d rather rot in this cot!”
Stoic Heart wasn’t surprised by the teens outburst, and studied her while his sister attempted to reassure the distraught teen. “Now Sunset,” Kind Heart started, “I understand that you are a fiercely independent individual, however you won’t be able to care for yourself with your injuries as they are. You will need help with all your basic daily activities for the next little while. On top of that,” She sighed, expecting another outburst from the teen with what was coming next, “You also have to be placed under watch because of your suicide attempt.”
Sunset was raging at her life. Why couldn’t she have just died last night? Why was she still here, suffering in this mortal coil? Why?
“If I may?”
Everybody turned to face Cadence, who had cleared her throat after speaking up.
“Sorry to interrupt but, I may know a family that would be willing to look after Sunset here while she recovers.” She started, “If you were to check the listings for families that could potentially take Sunset in, you would find the family of my fiance, Twilight Velvet and her husband, Night Light. They are really kind, caring people, and would love to take care of Sunset over the holidays.” Cadence stated matter-of-factually.
Stoic Heart stroked his chin, looking deep in thought, while his sister responded to Cadence’s suggestion. “Well we have received positive word about that family, but we would have to call them in here first to meet with Sunset first, before we decide on what we would be doing.” Kind Heart said before looking over to the teen, who had gone back to laying on the bed, staring at nothingness. “How does that sound Sunset?”
The teen refused to respond, obviously unhappy at the situation. A few moments of silence passed before Stoic Heart spoke up. “Well, I’m supposed to be getting on shift here, so I suggest that we leave Sunset be for now, and go and contact this family and talk to them about the situation.” His sister nodded, following after him as he left, but paused at the doorway when Cadence didn’t follow behind.
“Cadence? Are you coming?”
Cadence shook her head. “Would it be okay if I stayed behind with Sunset for a little bit? I want to talk with her about some questions I have.”
Kind Heart smiled, then nodded. “That shouldn’t be too much of a problem. I will let the reception desk know you are here visiting, but just make sure to check out with them when you leave.” Cadence waved farewell to the departing nurse, before grabbing a chair and bringing it to the side of Sunset’s bed and taking a seat. “Now Sunset, if my aunt is to believed as far as what has been happening is concerned, I am guessing you have been through a lot this week.” She watched Sunset, who didn’t give any reaction. “I want you to know, no matter what happens, I will not talk to anyone about what we talk about here. I just want to help a poor, innocent girl pull through something that is obviously distressing her, so much so that it caused her to consider suicide as her only way out.” She reached out and gingerly grasped Sunset’s hand in her own. “You may not think it right now, but there are people that care about you. If I didn’t would I have tried to save you last night?”
Sunset finally acknowledged the woman, looking at her with gaunt eyes. “You did what anyone who didn’t know about me would do.”
Cadence smiled at Sunset, ignoring the salt in the words Sunset said. “Except I do know about you. Celestia went into great detail about how you were terrorizing CHS for years, only to appear to be reformed, then throwing that back in the face of everyone. While I cannot confirm not deny if you were indeed a bully, I can as of right now confirm that you are at least someone who has tried her best to move past your previous actions, and that you show real sadness at what has happened to you.”
Sunset snorted before she start cackling. “What are you? A shrink?”
Cadence calmly reached into her purse and pulled out a business card. “Not exactly. I am the Dean of the students at Crystal Prep, as well as the student counselor. Now I don’t know what is said at CHS about Crystal Prep, but students there have their own problems, and I am there to talk with them anytime of the school day. I am certain I can help you out, both with helping you get past this last week, and maybe help you out with your schooling.”
Sunset tilted her head at Cadence’s last comment. “Help me out with my schooling? How could you do that?” There were a million things running through her head, dread, self pity, anger, but the calm, reassuring nature of Cadence’ actions caused Sunset to pause, and wonder what the woman was talking about.
“I could help get you transferred to Crystal Prep.”
Sunset froze. Leave CHS? Could she do that? She was unsure if she could do that.
Cadence continued after Sunset looked at her. “I know that Crystal Prep has a rather… unique reputation, but I can promise that should you decide to come, I can guarantee your admittance and transfer, as well as I will be there to personally help you should you need it.”
Sunset took a minute to digest the woman’s offer. It was definitely tempting. A fresh start at a new school? It would be nice. In addition, while she was a Pony born and raised, she definitely felt more at home here than in Equestria, and she was certain that even if it was found out that she was innocent, she doubted she had a future back at CHS.
“I, um… I don’t know. It sounds great, really! But…” Sunset stammered. This was all too much, too sudden for her to deal with right now.
“Tell you what?” Cadence reached over and flipped her business card over, scrawling something onto the back of it and handing it to Sunset, “Here is my own personal number, you can reach me at any time. I hope to see you at Twilight Velvet’s house on Monday, should everything be approved.” She smiled at Sunset, before rolling her right sleeve up. “Unfortunately I have to be getting back to Crystal Prep. Please,” Cadence asked as she stood up from the chair, “Consider my offer.” She made her way slowly to the door, before looking back at Sunset. “I will see you later.”
Sunset didn’t respond, instead she was laying down again, staring at the ceiling and it’s still lazy rotations, contemplating her future. Yes, she could transfer to Crystal Prep. She knew the students of CHS didn’t think fondly of the school for some reason, but why? She never was able to find out. She sighed heavily, desperately wishing she could talk to Twilight. She would know what to do. She stretched her un-needled hand up, splaying the fingers out.
“Twilight…” Sunset muttered to no-one in particular, “Where are you?”
“So, after that meeting, you decided that you would meet my parents?”
Sunset chuckled slightly. It seemed that no matter the world, Twilight Sparkle was an inquisitive soul, one who sought out the wild unknown of the world and did her best to understand it. As of this moment, the young lavender skinned girl was curious in the bedridden amber girl in front of her, and how she came to join them today for the holidays.
“Now Honey, I think that is enough pestering of our guest.” Twilight Velvet reached out and pulled her daughter back. “Besides, isn’t it time you took Spike for a walk?”
“Oh! Is it that late already? I am so sorry Sunset!” The girl bowed down before rising back up, “I really should go give Spike a walk. I’ll be back in awhile!” She called out as she ran from the room, leaving Sunset with her mother.
“Now, Sunset, I want to let you know that should you need anything, please let me know. I understand from what I was told that you are a very independent young woman, but you simply cannot risk doing damage by doing something reckless.” Twilight Velvet’s voice carried a stern motherly tone, letting Sunset know that while Velvet cared, she was also supposed to look over the teen. “Understood?”
Sunset smiled and nodded. “Gotcha. I really appreciate you and your family allowing me to stay over the holidays Mrs. Velvet. I am really sorry for bringing my troubles into your house…” Her voice got more and more subdued as she continued, tears starting to form and blur her vision.
“It’s fine dear, please don’t stress yourself over this.” Velvet reached out and embraced Sunset’s hands in her own. “We are more than happy to help you get back on your feet.” The older woman chuckled, “And just Velvet is fine.”
Sunset blushed, embarrassed about the whole situation. She slowly pulled her hands free, before looking at Velvet, “Could you grab me a pen and my journal? I would like to write something down.” She asked shyly, blush fading from her cheeks.
“As long as you promise not to get any inks on the sheets I think you should be fine.” Velvet commented as she dug around in Sunset’s bag, frown coming to her face as she rummaged through the meager belongings of the teen, the worn clothes, barely functional school supplies, Velvet marveled at the fortitude that Sunset had displayed to survive like she had for so long.
“This one?” She asked the teen, holding up a thick, leather bound tome with a two-tone sun emblazoned upon its cover. Sunset nodded as she held her hands out, receiving the book from Velvet. “Now let me just run downstairs quick and find you a pen.”
Just as soon as Velvet shut the door, the tome that Sunset held close to her chest vibrated, a purple glow emanating from it. Sunset gasped, could Princess Twilight finally be responding? She set the hallowed tome gently onto her legs, fingers shaking as she opened it, hesitating. Slowly she flipped the pages, ignoring the previous writings, slowly coming to a new page, covered with Equestrian scripture, fresh from Princess Twilight herself.
Are you there?
Please respond to me!
Sunset traced the letters, revering the characters of her homeland, just as someone knocked on the door. “Come in.” She beckoned, expecting Twilight Velvet to come in, but instead a man with azure skin peeking through his business suit entered. “Oh, Mr. Light! Welcome home.” Sunset smiled at the husband of Twilight Velvet. His demeanor was warm, and his stride steady as he crossed the room to the bed that Sunset resided in.
“Hi Sunset, how are you feeling today?” He inquired patting het legs gently.
“Better, thank you for asking.”
“So, I may have stolen my wife away from what you asked her to do, so instead,” Night Light ruffled around in his suit, pulling out a rather fancy looking pen, engraved with his name and everything, before handing it to Sunset. “I am here to bring you an apparatus of writing!” A playful smile gracing his face.
Sunset couldn’t help but chuckle at the man’s attitude. From the time she had spent with the family Night Light was definitely a little bit of a goof and Sunset greatly appreciated it in her current circumstances.
“Thank you,” She said as she accepted the pen, agonizingly slowly she clicked the button, releasing the pen nib from its confines. “I was really missing not writing in my journal, so I really appreciate the pen.” Night Light nodded before he made his way out of the room, once again leaving Sunset alone in silence. She opened the book as quickly as she could, given the damage caused by her slicing up her own arms in desperation, and flipped to the page that Princess Twilight left off on.
Sunset grimaced as she wrote, the slight pain and shaking of her hands made writing hard, on top of that she hoped that the Princess could understand the horrible chicken scratch writing that Sunset unfortunately possessed at the current moment. She didn’t have to wait long for a response.
Oh thank Celestia! I was so worried about you Sunset! What happened?
Relax? I just got home from Canterlot and noticed that you had written to me again. I cannot believe what happened to you!
Sunset frowned slightly at Twilight’s response.
Don’t worry about what happened, it wasn’t your fault.
Wasn’t my fault? If I had been there after you wrote the first time, or even the second, I could have helped you!
I doubt they would have believed you anyways.
But I could have at least been there for you! Here I was in Canterlot preparing for the Hearth’s Warming Eve play and you are struggling and being attacked by students!
I appreciate it Twilight, really, but I’m doing my best to move past it, maybe you should too?
Sunset sat there for a minute, waiting silently for her friend to respond.
I want to meet with you.
Sunset smiled and was just about to put her borrowed pen to paper when she froze. There was no way she was going out on her own now, and there was no way that she could show the portal to this family.
I don’t think that will be possible Twilight.
What! Why not?
Because I am not able to get to the portal to meet you.
True, I wouldn't put it past those suppossed "students" to attack you again.
It’s more than just that Twilight.
Sunset sighed. She had yet to tell Twilight about what happened those nights ago. She wasn’t sure how to tell the Princess such a thing.
I am currently staying with another family for the holidays. Doctor’s orders.
You’re sick? Why not come home? Sneak through at the dead of night and I can promise I will have you healthy faster then you can say “Star Swirl the Bearded”!
I tried to kill myself.
YOU WHAT?! Okay I am coming over there right this instant and you are coming home with me! No If’s and’s or but’s about it!
There was no response. Sunset’s heart froze in her chest. She had to think of something! The family would no doubt freak out about seeing a twin of her daughter, let alone one that was attempting to apparently kidnap Sunset. She looked around the room, trying to think of something, anything! Just as her head turned to her bedside stand she sensed something. Something from home. Magic. Before her eyes the air shimmered, before condensing in on itself and exploding out in a flash of purple light, followed by a loud pop. There before Sunset Shimmer, was Princess Twilight Sparkle. Flying? Wait, why was Twilight a Pony?
“Twilight? Are you nuts!” Sunset half shouted, half whispered, feeling bad for lashing out at her friend, but she could think of no other way to get the other’s attention. “Why did you come here?”
The Princess fluttered slowly down before stopping to hover above Sunset’s legs.
“Why did I come here? You really have to ask me that?” Sunset recoiled from Princess Twilight. “I am here to bring you home, and then shut down the portal, permanently! This world is obviously-“
The door from the room jittered slightly as a knock entered the room. “Sunset? It’s Velvet, we are going to be ordering in Chinese for supper, is that alright with you?” Velvet asked through the door, her voice muffled by the wooden barrier.
“W-works for me!” Sunset replied, stuttering over herself as her eyes widened in fear.
She heard Velvet depart down the hall, her footsteps fading with each moment.
“Was that my mom?”
Sunset turned and stared at the Princess. “What?”
“No, seriously, that sounded exactly like Mom!” Twilight popped back into visibility, before turning to address her friend. “So?” She questioned Sunset, “Was it?”
Sunset grimaced, there was no avoiding this it seemed. “Yes Twilight. I am, by doctor’s order’s, staying with this world’s version of your family.”
Twilight looked at Sunset, studying her friend.
“Fine.” The pony sighed, “Maybe I was a little hot headed about coming here.”
“But!” Twilight interrupted Sunset, “I was not wrong about worrying about you. Why did you think that you had nowhere left to go? You could have come back to Equestria.” Twilight watched as Sunset recoiled, then slumped down onto the bed.
“How could I go back? I’d have to face Cele… Her, and I don’t know if I could ever do that.” Sunset started to tear up, causing Twilight to tense. She never figured Sunset would be so tense about meeting Celestia again. “For now, I just want to stay here Twilight. You can trust your alternate universe family to look after me. Promise.”
Twilight looked around the room, before she sighed. “Alright, you can stay, but on one condition.” Sunset stared at her only friend. “Once you are better, the two of us are going to be talking with those… monsters at that school.”
“Twilight, they aren’t monsters!” Sunset cried out, not understanding where this anger was coming from. Twilight never got this riled up before.
“You may not think that, but I am here with you, and I can tell they hurt you, and have obviously made no attempt to apologize or listen to you. They hurt you so bad that you wanted to kill yourself Sunset. That’s a monster in my books.” Twilight looked at Sunset, finally noticing just how deep and dead her eyes appeared, the normal aquamarine irises barely glinting with life. “I should go… keep in touch.” With that, and a small flash of purple light followed by a popping sound, Sunset was once again alone in her borrowed room.
“Ethyl says that whatever it is in there, Mom!”
Sunset looked up as this world's Twilight Sparkle, cheeks rosy from her dog walk, who was doing her best to tear free from Velvet’s grasp and further into the room.
“Twilight Sparkle! You will not disturb our guest in this insane manor!” Velvet stated loudly at her impatient daughter, who was turning this way and that, device in her hand whirring and buzzing.
“But Mom! These readings alone help me out, but if I could find the source!” Twilight Sparkle was looking at her device, Ethyl it was called apparently, then looked at Sunset. “Sunset, please tell me you’re on my side here!” She begged, puppy dog eyes glinting in the light as her device slowly grew quiet. “Did you at least see something? Anything?”
Sunset chuckled at the outburst, Definitely Twilight Sparkle she thought, before putting as much of a calm smile onto her face as possible, hoping to placate Twilight Velvet. “Sorry, Twilight. I didn’t see anything I haven’t seen before.” She shrugged as she said this, “But what is that device? Did you build it?” Sunset sat there with her hands on her legs, covering her journal.
“Yes!” The lavender girls face exploded into joy at Sunset’s question. “This is Ethyl Mk.2, it is used to detect-“
“Twilight, I know you are excited,” Velvet’s tone harboured clear intent to be followed, “But you should go properly change fully out of those wet clothes before you get sick.”
Twilight nodded, before meekly bidding Sunset farewell and leaving the room.
“Now for you, Sunset…” Sunset perked up at this, putting the best smile she could muster hoping to deflect whatever aggression Velvet was about to say her way. “Are you done writing in that journal? I should probably return my husband’s pen to him.” She reached out a hand as Sunset returned the instrument. “Supper should be here soon, so we should get you cleaned up. Meet me in the kitchen?”
Sunset nodded as Velvet left the room, giving the teen privacy to get out of bed. Sunset slowly stood up out of the bed, her legs shaky from lack of use, and slowly made her way to the closet. The family was nice enough to lend her some of Twilight’s clothes until Sunset was strong enough to go out shopping, though Sunset insisted that they didn’t need to, that she only needed what she had. That did not go over well with Velvet, and she had Twilight grab some extra pyjamas for their guest. Sunset stood in front of the mirror, glancing over herself. Her normally voluminous hair was missing it’s normal shine, her skin seemed pale, except for the deep red lines of stitches running down her arms. The shirt she had was tight, especially around the bust, and Twilight blushed the first time she saw Sunset in her clothing. At least it was a longish night gown, though on her taller body it fell just short of her knees. She shook her head, before reaching down and doing her best to grasp the bottom edge of the shirt.
“There.” Velvet finished cleaning around Sunset’s arms with the disinfectant wipe, the young girl doing her best not to cry out at the constant stinging. “Now that we are done with that, how about you sit and relax while Night Light finishes setting the table?”
“But I thought I’m already done sweetie?” The cyan man asked, his hands on his hips as he stood beside the table.
“You only set six places, we need eight, remember?” Velvet looked at her husband, watching him deflate in anguish.
“But I just finished getting the places spaced perfectly…” he whined, causing Sunset to chuckle slightly and Velvet to just shake her head.
“Well you’ll have to redo it, they will be here shortly.” Velvet got up and held a hand out to Sunset, helping the teen to her feet. “How about we go wait out in the living room with Twilight and Spike? The others shouldn’t be too long here.”
The Chinese had arrived a few minutes ago, just as Sunset made her way down the steps, dressed once more in her old outfit, her leather jacket overtop of a magenta shirt, the two toned sun proudly on display, completed with an orange skirt, with a yellow and magenta strip running down from one him to the bottom hem.
Sunset deposited herself onto the plush sofa, making sure to leave space between herself and Twilight, who was preoccupied with scratching Spike’s furry tummy, the dog’s right hind leg spasming happily from the sensation. “Such a good boy Spike!” Twilight spoke as if to an infant. “Yes, you are!” Sunset still couldn’t believe how much animals differed in this world.
Just as Velvet was about to sit down the doorbell rang, causing a chain reaction of Spike leaping to his feet and start barking at the supposed intruders, followed by Twilight trying her best to calm her furry friend, and Velvet chuckling as she stood back up and making her way to the door, opening it and allowing a rush of cold air into the house.
“Shining! Cadence! Come in, come in! You must be freezing out there!” Velvet buckled the pair in, hugging them both one after the other, before Twilight rushed up, following her mother’s actions.
“BBBFF! Cadence!” She cried out, overjoyed at seeing the pair. “Sunshine, sunshine, ladybugs awake!”
Cadence giggled at Twilight before finishing their little song. “Clap you hands, and do a little shake!” The pair had clapped hands against each other, before turning their backs to each other and shaking their hips. “I hope you are having a good, relaxing break Twilight.” Cadence said as she embraced the teen again, making sure to emphasise the relax part of the sentence, before looking over and seeing a certain amber skinned girl sitting on the couch that waved at Cadence when she noticed. “Hello again Sunset, I hope you are recovering well?”
Sunset nodded, returning a smile to the cerise skinned woman. “Slowly getting better yup, thanks to you and suggesting for me to stay with Mrs. Velvet and Mr. Light.”
“Glad to hear it! Have you considered my other offer?”
Sunset froze for a moment, before she looked at the two different Twilight’s, each with a different look on their face.
“What other offer, Sunset?” Velvet asked, wondering what may have been going on behind the scenes.
“Well…” Sunset delayed, trying to find some way out of this situation. Thankfully the universe decided to give her a break, in the form of someone knocking on the door.
“Who is that?” Cadence asked, wondering who could be knocking on the door at such an hour during the week.
“Oh, just our other two guests.” Velvet started, a cheerful smile on her face as she proceeded to the doorway. “I figured I would invite two of my old friends over, they said they had a pretty hard week last week, something about a bully I think?”
Sunset and Cadence both froze, and looked at each other, their faces mirrored in shock. This was just a coincidence, right? Velvet couldn’t possibly have… They would soon find out as Velvet opened the door, the gateway to this happy home, and allowed more than just the chill of the winter breeze to enter.
“Celestia! Luna! Come on in, you must be freezing out there!”
Sunset felt herself plummet. This could not be happening. Not now. Not in front of those willing to give her a second chance! Sunset could only watch in shock as Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna, both bundled up in warm winter coats matching their natural colours, entered the abode, stopping and pausing only to give a warm hug to their hostess.
“Velvet! It has been far too long dear!” Celestia said as she backed away. “I am so glad you invited us, you would not believe what has been happening of late at CHS.”
That is when Luna looked around at all those present, before stopping when she saw a certain crimson and gold haired girl, trying her best to just disappear into the sofa she was seated upon.
“You!” Luna cried out, pointing an accusing finger at Sunset as she stomped across the floor towards the teen. “What are you doing here!?” Luna had stopped before the amber skinned girl, looming over top with her hands crossed in front of her torso, her eyes ablaze with barely restrained contempt. “Velvet! We demand to know why you have someone so abhorrent in your house!”
By that point Celestia had joined her sister in front of Sunset, who had pulled her knees up and wrapped her arms around them, trying to hide away from the two fiery women in front of her. She didn’t notice as everyone else gathered around, Night Light leaving the kitchen with a question look on his face, Twilight moving to sit down beside Sunset, Cadence coming to stand beside Sunset and resting a hand on the sobbing teen's shoulder, Velvet taking a stand by the fireplace as it slowly crackled away, and Shining Armour who stood beside Cadence.
“Yes Velvet! Do you not know who this is! She is responsible for tearing my school apart, not once, but twice! Even after we offered her a second chance! Which was more generous than she ever deserved!” Celestia’s voice was like thunder, harkening back Sunset to her life in Equestria, right before she ran through the portal initially.
“Aunty, please!” Cadence reached out to Celestia, attempting to calm her adoptive family. “You don’t understand what is going on here!”
“Don’t We!” Luna’s voice was just as terrifying. “This fiend has obviously tricked you all! She has spent the last two weeks spreading nothing but slander and horrible, personal secrets of every student at CHS online, tearing apart the friendships that had started in the wake of her initial downfall.” Luna stared down at the helpless teen, and awful gleam in her eyes. “We think we should call the police! Show her what true punishment is like!”
Sunset continued to sob, falling back into her pit of despair, it’s inky black tendrils reaching up to grasp at her, to drag further into the black morass. Cadence looked back at the teen, worry obvious on her face, distraught at how her aunts were treating this innocent teen. Velvet could only stare in shock, never before had she seen these two this aflame with anger and vitriol.
“Celestia! Luna! Please, calm down! We just received Sunset from the hospital this morning! I don’t understand what you two could be so angry at her about.” Velvet tried to get the two sisters, two of her oldest friends in the world, to calm down and stop lashing out at the families adoptive charge. Where had this come from?
“Ha!” Luna gave a heartless chortle. “Obviously someone decided to show her that we of CHS do not appreciate those who-”
Everyone paused and looked on in shock, as Twilight Sparkle stood up, her face red with barely restrained fury, her eyes ablaze at the two older women in front of her. She clenched and unclenched her fists at her side, attempting to restrain from striking the two.
“What do you know, huh? Have you stopped and attempted to rule out everything else before accusing Sunset?” Twilight had strode forward, determination perfectly blending with raw anger, as she pointed a finger at the two of them. “Did you two ever pull her aside, attempt to ask her about what was going on? Or did you just assume that she was the culprit?”
By this point Twilight Sparkle was face to paired faces of shock with Celestia and Luna. This was beyond unexpected, they knew Twilight as a quiet, bookish girl, more interested in science and math than attempting to gain friends. They both attempted to compose themselves in front of her fury. They were adults after all! Principals even! They had standards!
“Now listen here Twilight,” Celestia started, but not before Twilight leveled a glare at the woman, that in a different world would be her greatest teacher, and stopped her from continuing.
“If she is such a monster… such an irrepressible daemon… why is she sitting here on our couch, bawling her eyes out as you two shout and fling insults at her?” She questioned, as she walked back to Sunset, pulling the girl up and reluctantly leading her to the two women. “Maybe you two are part of the reason she tried to kill herself!?”
Twilight pulled the sleeve of Sunset’s coat down, it’s cool leather not catching on the rough stitches still in her arm. Velvet cried out in shock at Twilight’s actions, as Cadence rushed to Sunset’s side. Celestia and Luna stood stock still, their faces lost behind glassy eyes and shocked mouths.
“Sunset… is this… did you…?” Celestia trailed off, unable to comprehend what she was looking at. The teen had fallen to her knees, Cadenced joining her, attempting to comfort the teen. Twilight continued to glare at the two sisters, daring them to talk, as Shining Armour walked behind her and put his hands on her shoulders. This snapped Twilight out of her rage, causing her to look around the room, taking stock in the fact that her parents were slowly leading Luna and Celestia to chairs, watching as Cadence helped Sunset up, before leading her around the room and up the stairs. Twilight was stunned. Was this what CHS was like? She thought Crystal Prep was bad, but this? She shook free of her brother’s firm grasp, racing up the stairs after Cadence and Sunset.
Sunset sat in silence, as Cadence took a seat on the bed beside the teen. Cadence wore a grim visage, all this time helping to build Sunset up, to help her on the path to more than just physical recovery, it was all gone. In fact, they may have taken a larger step back, past where Sunset was in the first place. Cadence wrapped an arm around the teen, trying to reassure her.
Twilight burst into the room, bun disheveled, glasses askew, desperation written across her face.
“Oh thank god! I am so sorry Sunset! Please, don’t worry about those two bigots!” She fell to her knees on the floor, just to make sure she could look at Sunset in the eyes, her hands moving and grasping the other teens hand and squeezing. She couldn’t believe how empty Sunset’s eyes had become. A stagnant abyss, a static crevasse, a moribund cavity. Sunset looked dead. “Sunset?” Twilight begged Sunset to respond, to show some sign of life. She saw Sunsets lip’s start to move, but couldn’t hear what the other girl was saying. “Can you try speaking a little louder Sunset?”
“Why didn’t I die…”
Tears burst from Twilight as she jumped up and embraced the depressed teen, squeezing her close and tight. “Please… Don’t say that Sunset! We are here for you, we care about you!” Twilight was lost. She had never seen something like this occur before, and the fact that it was adults, supposed friends of her mother, that had caused this. Twilight barely noticed as Cadence stood up and walked to the door. “Cadence…?” She called after her former babysitter, trying to find out why the woman was leaving the two teens.
“I’ll be back Twilight. Promise”
Cadence never looked back as she said that, nor did she look back as she left the room and shut the door behind her. Her eyes were brimming with tears, and Twilight didn’t need to see such an outpouring of emotions like this. No. Cadence had to fix this. Cadence looked at the stairs, and readied herself for her confrontation downstairs.
Sunset barely moved the entire time Twilight stayed with her, only the slow shallow movements of her breathing proving that the teen was actually alive and not some sort of marionette. Twilight could hear the yelling downstairs, shocked at how loud Cadence could be, how loud her parents could be. She had never heard any of them act like this, not even when Twilight was in deep trouble. No, this was new to the teen, and she was horrified. She didn’t even notice that the yelling had stopped, nor as the stairs creaked under weight and the door sliding open. Her entire existence was currently devoted to Sunset.
Twilight looked up, gasping at the tear tracked face of her mother. Never had this sort of event happened in her young life, this view of humanity at it’s near lowest point. She reached out, timidly wiping away a tear on her mother’s face, before pulling back, her own tears threatening to pour out again.
“We sent Celestia and Luna home… They both have a lot on their plates to digest… Cadence and Shining went home as well, though Cadence is going to stop by everyday for the next while to check up on Sunset.” Her mother’s tone was somber, a pale mimic of the woman’s normally lively tones. The light grey woman reached out to Sunset, stroking her cheek as motherly as she could provide. “Sunset… I am so sorry about the behaviour of those two… What they did…” She stopped as fresh tears flooded down her face before she leaned forward and hugged Sunset, as if attempting to crush the teen with love. Eventually she pulled away, and notice Sunset looking at her, the dead look in her eyes replaced with a great sorrow.
Aquamarine irises stared, trying to glean answers from oblivion, to try and find some kind of light in this tunnel of anguish. Grey washed ceiling, speckled by grit, returned her stare. Why did she stay? What did she have? Princess Twilight had offered to take her back, yes, but would it make any difference? The only time the Princess’ friends had seen Sunset was when she stole Twilight’s crown, so first impressions were already unfortunately made.
A slow steady knock reverberated through the mire of Sunset’s mind, stirring her away from the ceiling.
“Sunset? May I come in?”
Velvet had been worried all night about the poor girl, kept up all night by the actions of her long time friends. The recliner had left it’s mark on her, the stiffness of Velvet’s body was evidence.
“Sunset, I’m coming in now, okay?”
The door handle slowly turned, the gateway opening and flooding the room with light, washing away grey and replacing it with pale colour, temporarily blinding Sunset, who barely turned away as her vision became a sea of white. Slowly the shadowy figure came into focus, revealing Velvet, body clad in a luxurious house robe, her hands carrying a tray burdened with food and drink. Sunset regarded the food with apathy, and the bearer the same.
Velvet watched as the teen skimmed over the plate, before gazing at Velvet herself, hollow eyes appearing like black holes, pulling Velvet into their dead abyss. Velvet felt chilled as Sunset refused to act, only watching Velvet as the woman approached the bed before sitting down on the edge, tray laying across her lap.
“I brought you some late breakfast Sunset, pancakes, bacon, and eggs.” She said, gently setting the food laden tray on Sunset’s lap. “I wasn’t sure how you liked your eggs, so hopefully scrambled is fine with you.” Velvet smiled gently at the teen, reaching out and rubbing the young girl’s arm softly, watching as Sunset studied the plate, frown forming on her pale face. “Is something wrong?”
“I’m a vegetarian…” The words were barely heard, like a whisper in a windstorm. Velvet mentally facepalmed, why didn’t she ask Sunset about what sort of food she would like in the first place? “But I will eat the rest of it… Thank you…” Velvet felt her placating facade start to break at the sorrowful smile on Sunset’s face, the teen obviously attempting to calm Velvet.
“Sorry that I didn’t ask what you would like, Sunset.”
The teen shook her head, matted locks of fire and gold interweaved in knots. “It’s fine, I’m sorry for imposing like this still.” Sunset said somberly, gingerly picking up the large shot glass full of syrup and pouring it over her fat, fluffy pancakes, saturating them with the sweet sap. Picking up her fork in one hand, knife firmly grasped in the other, she started the process of cutting off small, bite size chunks of pancake, transporting it shakily to her mouth. Slowly depositing it, she chewed softly, jaw rotating with each bite.
“Sunset? Whats wrong? Is it too hot?” Velvet was worried at the teen, sudden tears dripping down her face before landing on the shirt covering her bust. What was wrong?
“Fhoo…” Sunset started to say, cheeks bulging as she started shoveling the food into her maw. “Sho goooob”
Velvet burst out laughing, the teens face a display of nirvana from the delicious, sweet fluff in her mouth.
Sunset shut the book, ending the tale of “Daring Do and the Sapphire Stone”. It was eerily similar to the book of the same name she read back in Equestria as a filly. A little bit a grin spread across her face as she sat back in the recliner, heat radiating from the last bit of the log burning in the fireplace. Sunset was surprised at the layout of the living room, it was a very large room, probably the largest in the house wagered Sunset, a large plush sofa sat along a small stout wall, low cut to allow view to the kitchen, as well as a pair of recliner’s sat near a large mahogany coffee table. What was surprising to Sunset was the lack of a television. Velvet and Night Light insisted that the living room was for family to gather and talk, not sit in front of a flickering screen.
A series of short firm knocks rocked the front door, breaking Sunset out of her study of the room.
“Coming!” came the voice of the matriarch of the house, soft, slippered feet padding towards the great door, firmly grasping the door knob and twisting, allowing the cold of the outdoors into the warm house. “Cadence! Welcome, welcome! Here to talk to Sunset correct?” The cerise skinned woman, bundled up in a warm slate coloured pea coat with matching ear muffs, entered the house, glad to warm her rosy cheeks.
“That I am!” She stated, brushing off the delicate powder that speckled her shoulders as she started unbuttoning her coat. “I am here to start the transfer process to Crystal Prep from CHS!” The woman beamed as she sat down beside Sunset, a rather large manilla folder plopping down on the coffee table in front of the pair. “I don’t need too much information from you, and what we don’t have I will go and personally get from CHS, so as to make sure you don’t have to step foot in there.”
Sunset studied some of the paperwork that had been pulled out, glancing briefly at the lines of words as she worked through them. “Umm…” She paused as she passed one particular bit of needed information. “Who am I supposed to put as listed guardian?” Worry evident on her face.
“Why, us of course sweetie!” Velvet chuckled, giving Sunset a playful ruffling of hair, “I mean, you are going to be staying with us for awhile, so it only makes sense.”
Sunset blushed at the combination of words and actions from Velvet, slightly overwhelmed that the woman was still being so kind and hospitable. “T-thank you…” She stuttered out, mumbling, as she took the pen offered by Cadence, looking at her as she did. “Are you sure you will be able to get what you need from… There?” Sunset questioned, “Do you need me to come with you?”
Cadence shook her head, “I’ll be fine Sunset, I don’t want you going back there in all honesty, so thank you for offering, but you should stay here and relax, focus on getting better.”
Velvet chose that moment to intercede, seeing Sunset starting to slink away, “Well I was thinking that maybe if Sunset is feeling up to it, maybe tonight even, Twilight and I could take her to the mall for a bit of a shopping spree.”
Sunset whipped around and stared at the grey skinned woman with a look of utter befuddlement, as if she had grown a second head. “What?” She asked, not sure if she heard Velvet properly or not.
“Well of course, you need some clothes after all!” Velvet gave Sunset a coy look, “Plus, it seems that none of the underwear in the house would fit you properly.”
Sunset’s face grew slowly more crimson, before she slid down in her seat as the other two women laugh at the teens embarrassed display.
“Sorry Sunset,” Velvet apologized, rubbing the teens shoulders gently, “I just wanted to see you smile.”
“You have a weird way of doing it…” Sunset replied, laughter evident in her eyes as she looked up older woman.
“Okay, now to work Sunset,” Cadence had calmed down from her giggling, “We have a lot of paperwork to get through, and it would be nice to get through it all tonight.”
The automatic doors slid shut behind Sunset, cutting the teen off from the light snowfall being blown along on the chill breeze. Her hands crept up to her cheeks, seeking to warm them, as she looked around the mall. The Crystal Empire, as it was called, was a massive multi tiered mall, and she was here with Twilight’s Sparkle and Velvet to comb it over in search for clothes.
“Now you will be getting some uniform’s sent to the house a little while after school starts up again, but we will have to make sure to get you something a little more fancy in the meanwhile.” Twilight had one of her patented checklists with her, triple checking everything on it, “As well as some casual clothes, nightwear, and underwear.” Sunset blushed at that last item, just as she had when she had to give Cadence a rough guess of her measurements, only for Velvet to whip out a small measuring tape and started confirming or denying Sunset’s numbers.
“As well as some school supplies,” Velvet reached over and held a hand out to Sunset, which the teen slowly grasped, “So our first step shall be the stationary store, as it is the closest to the exit, so we can run it out to the car so we don’t have to lug it around.”
Sunset followed the pair, hand held firmly by Velvet, as they wandered through the mall at a slow pace so as to help Sunset keep up. “I still don’t think you have to do this…” Sunset muttered, eyes watching the ground, “I can use my old stuff…”
“Those items were half broken dear,” Velvet said, gently squeezing Sunset’s hand, “Nigh unusable even, so I insist that we get you some new school supplies!”
“It also helps by removing more of what could possibly remind you of that hellhole.” Twilight said half-heartedly.
“Twilight Sparkle!” Velvet stopped as she looked down upon her daughter, “What is with that language!”
“You seemed fine with it the other night…” Twilight shy away under her mother’s glare, causing Velvet to sigh and deflate.
“That was different circumstances and you know it darling.”
“How about we focus on finding the store?” Sunset suggested, hoping to defuse the situation, “I don’t know about you two, but I feel lost in here already.” She looked over at the bespectacled Twilight, “What exactly is on your checklist for me to get, as hesitant as I am to ask?”
Twilight Sparkle whipped her phone out of her pocket, checking over the list. “Well, you’re going to need your basics, so pencils, pens, erasers, loose leaf paper, a couple binders…” Twilight started to drone on, “Oh! Flash cards! Of course! You should get a whooooole bunch of flash cards! That way we can quiz each other!” Twilight gleamed with happiness at Sunset, blinded by the glare that was Twilight Sparkle talking about studying.
Sunset chuckled as Twilight’s mom shook her finger at her daughter, before stopping the group in front of a massive opening in the wall. “Paperclips,” Velvet started, “You’re home for all things business and study. We should be able to find everything here for you.” Velvet started in, trailing after Twilight, the lavender teen full of excitement to be shopping for school supplies again.
Paperclips was a pretty massive box store, full of a vast assortment of products, ranging from work supplies and school supplies, to cash vaults and coffee creamer. Sunset chuckled lightly as she past the section that was obviously dedicated to younger kids, full of bright colours and cartoon animals. She paused at one particular cloth pencil bag, a large white horse with a long horn and a multi coloured mane. “Guess they forgot to give you wings huh?” Sunset whispered to herself, bringing the small felt bag close to her chest.
“Sunset? Are you alright?” Twilight Sparkle appeared behind Sunset, holding onto the sobbing teens shoulder, Twilight Velvet not far behind, having successfully pulled her daughter away from some kind of electronic device she was clamouring about.
“Oh, sorry…” Sunset put the bag back, “It just reminded me about something from my childhood was all.” She gave a sad smile as she looked at the pair. “Enough about that though, which aisle should we start in?”
Velvet wrapped Sunset in a quick hug, before pulling back and resting her hands on the teen’s shoulders. “Just one over, that’s where all the writing related products are.” She pulled her hands away, leading the two teens down the aisle beside them.
Sunset paused as she looked down the aisle way, gasping in shock at how many different items there were. There were so many different kinds of pens, pencils, erasers, and everything else, it put to shame the second hand items she bought when she got set up at CHS. She grabbed a pack of pens, consisting of your standard blue, red, and black, but also hiding within was a green pen, something she had never considered before! Putting that down she spun around, looking at the boxes of pencils, simple wooden ones, fuzzy ones with spots and stripes, plastic mechanical ones, metal mechanical ones and so many more. Erasers in the shape of a crescent moon, or with two different kinds of plastic at different ends. It was so much to take in!
Twilight giggled at Sunset’s awestruck expression, not realizing her mother was doing the same, but because of how much Sunset reminder Velvet of her daughter.
“Okay then,” Velvet put down the basket she was carrying onto the ground, in the middle of the aisle, “Twilight, you and Sunset have five minutes to grab items that you need from this aisle before we move onto the next one!”
Sunset peered over at the other teen, who looked around sheepishly with arms overflowing with different items already.
“Remember Twilight, this is for Sunset, not you.” Velvet reminder her daughter, before laughing at the teens flushed face.
After seven minutes of walking up and down the aisle, the basket had a good selection of items, pens, pencils and their other cousins, but the piece de resistance, was a small feathered quill, complete with inkwell and a small bottle of ink. Sunset had been frozen for well over a minute in front of the item, staring at the simple reminder of her home. She hardly noticed as Velvet reached over and grabbed the set, but started to object when Velvet put it in the basket. It was well more expensive than everything already in the basket! But Velvet broached no argument, and pushed the amber teen, tears of happiness rolling slowly down her face, towards the next aisle.
Sunset paused at the next entrance, not prepared for the sheer amount of choices when it came to binders and paper. She rushed forward, grabbing a pair of basic black ones, and watched as Twilight grabbed a pair of charcoal binders, placing them in the basket without giving Sunset a chance to object.
“Trust me when I say that you will need more than just two binders, and I’m not just saying this ‘cause I use so many myself.” She chuckled self assuredly.
The rest of the aisle followed the same procedure. Sunset trying to get the bare minimum, and the two Twilight’s grabbing what the teen would really need. By the time they made it to the till they had to grab a second basket for all the items, plus a third for all of Twilight Sparkle’s items that she convinced her mom into getting for her daughter.
Sunset felt a pit in her stomach when she saw the total, memorizing the number. “I’ll pay you back for all this… As soon as I’m able to I’ll get a job.” Sunset looked sadly at Velvet as the mother pulled out a large stack of bills. “I promise… as soon as I can I will pay you back.”
Velvet smiled at the teen. “You can pay us back by allowing us to help you get better dear.” She reached out and hugged the teen close. “Money comes and goes, but your well being lasts much longer.”
Sunset felt guilty as she watched the mother daughter team carry the bags of Sunset’s school supplies out, she still wasn’t allowed to do any sort of heavy lifting, but she was able to open car doors to allow the pair to deposit the supplies, before following them back into the mall. They still had clothes shopping to do, and Sunset studied the mall’s directory for clothing businesses.
“Broil’s… Howabout we start there?” Sunset suggested. She remembered reading online at school that it was a popular choice for cheaper clothing, and she hoped that Velvet wouldn’t figure that out.
“Sounds good to me, however may I ask you and Twilight to go together?” Velvet was watching the two girls who looked at each other before returning their shared gazes onto Velvet. “I have a few little things to pick up from various shops, and I figure I would just hold you back whilst you shop for you casual clothes.” She gave an uneasy grin, hoping the two would buy it.
“Yeah, you do have a frumpy kind of style there, mom.” Twilight bumped into Velvet playfully, receiving a coy grin from her mother in response, before looking back at Sunset. “What do you think? We should be fine with just the two of us, right?”
Sunset nodded, Twilight cheering at both the positive response, as well as the stack of bills she had given to her by her mom. “I’ll meet you both in the food court in time for supper,” Velvet paused, “Say about forty minutes?”
The two teens responded in approval, and Twilight grabbed Sunset by the hand and pulled her towards the far end of the mall. “So what are you thinking of getting? I figured some new shirts, some jeans, a couple skirts?” Twilight reached over and rubbed the cuff of the leather coat adorned on Sunset’s taller body. “And a new coat, not just leather, but an actual winter coat.” Sunset only nodded in response, thinking about how much Twilight’s family was spending on her.
The pair walked into Broil’s, making an immediate beeline to the escalator up to the second floor of the department store. “I always loved these as a kid.” Twilight chuckled as they rode up the moving metal stairs, “I always thought about people getting sucked under the top lip.”
Upon reaching the top, Sunset looked around. Obviously this was the boys section, so she started walking around, trying to track down where she should be shopping, but Twilight started leading her back around the other way, landing in front of a bunch of obviously female mannequins.
“Everything should be in here!” Twilight beamed, her arm waving out and motioning to the multitude of racks. “Let’s track you down some clothes!” She started her foray into the jungle of clothes.
Sunset followed after Twilight, pausing at different racks and looking through the items, giving a few at a time to Twilight to carry, ranging from simple baby tee’s, to a little more fancy blouses. She made sure to pick up a few pairs of jeans, as well as a pair of warm coloured skirts. It wasn’t long before the pair found a change room, a larger handicapped one so as to allow Twilight to help Sunset get changed, much to Sunset’s chagrin.
“Now I know you aren’t comfortable with this Sunset, and I do apologize, but I’m going to start by helping you with taking off your coat.” Sunset’s stitches still had a little while before they could be removed, and as such they made shirts and other tops a pain to get in and out of, they would constantly catch on the stitches. She nodded as she held out her arms out horizontal, Twilight moving in front of Sunset, stopping by one arm and grabbing a firm hold of the leather sleeve. Sunset slowly started pulling her arm back, making sure to do her best not to catch, before the pair moved onto the other arm, finishing it and depositing the coat onto one of the chairs in the room.
“Which top would you like to start with?” Twilight asked as she held out a few different hangers, a random assortment of tops, whilst Sunset starred before pointing at a magenta baby tee, the shade similar to her current shirt with her cutie mark on display. Twilight nodded and set the others down, hanging the baby tee behind the pair before stopping in front of Sunset, and sighed.
Sunset nodded, holding her arms up perpendicular this time. Twilight swallowed as she grasped the bottom of the tee shirt, pulling it slowly up the other teens bodies and doing her best not to stare. Sunset’s vision went dark as the top passed over her head and off her arms, and she opened her eyes again once she heard the cloth crumple onto the ground. Twilight couldn’t help herself but to blush and stare at Sunset.
“Twilight?” Sunset asked, “You okay?”
The lavender teen jumped, shocked out her actions by Sunset. “Er, yes! Sorry!” Sunset chuckled as Twilight took the baby tee off of its hanger, before starting to bring it up along Sunset’s ready arms. It slowly crept down the amber teens body, pulling taut across her chest as Twilight stared in envy.
“What do you think?” Twilight looked at Sunset, not expecting the other girl to ask her opinion. Sunset seemed so much more fashion savvy than Twilight, who bought more on comfort than style. “Does it look tight at all?” Sunset wore an innocent grin, though her eye’s screamed what their owner's intent was.
“W-what I think?” Twilight brushed a strand of hair out of her face as she looked away, trying to hide her blush, “Why would you ask me that?” Twilight swallowed as she peered back at the other teen, who was now busy posing in the mirror.
“Well I mean you were so interested in undressing me, I just thought I should get your opinion while I was dressed.”
Twilight felt the room froze, her cheeks becoming a deep enough red that it overwrote her natural tones. “S-Sunset! What’s gotten into you?” Twilight sputtered, exasperated.
Sunset’s hands flew up, “Sorry Twilight, I only meant this in fun…” her voice started to die off as she spoke, “I never did have a good understanding of humour.” She was looking away now fiddling with one of her sleeves.
“Sorry Twilight, I really made this awkward, didn't I?” Sunset gazed at the other teen, her temporary high spirits plummeting back to earth. “I think the tops will be fine, I just want to try on the coat, then I’ll get dressed back into my clothes and we will go pay for these.” Sunset grabbed for the coat the still blushing Twilight held, but couldn’t free it from her grasp.
“I’m sorry Sunset, I shouldn’t have stared like that… Don’t worry about me though, I’m fine.” Twilight finally stopped blushing and smiled at Sunset reassuringly. “I’m used to it at school. But enough about me, let’s get this coat on, try those jeans and go pay! We still need to find you a new leather jacket after all!”
Sunset shook her mane of copper and crimson, “I’ll be fine with this one Twilight, don’t worry about it.” But the other teen didn’t take no for an answer as she helped her guest try on the winter coat.
“Nope! We are getting you a leather jacket!” Twilight exclaimed as she stood back as Sunset fiddled with the thick jacket. “Even in the little time we’ve spent together I have seen how much you cherish that thing, but it’s old Sunset, you need a new one. One that matches your new lease on life.”
Sunset teared up. This was getting to be too much. She started to take the coat off, Twilight panicking at the other teen, reaching out and trying to stop the hasty actions. Sunset paused as she felt the fabric catch onto some of the stitching, and looked at Twilight, her eyes begging for help. The lavender teen’s delicate finger slowly help Sunset loosen the grasp of the stitches on the cloth and sliding it off, before assisting the distraught teen with the removal of the coat from the other arm.
“Sorry for disrupting everything Twilight…” Sunset slumped to her knees, hands brushing at the sorrow pouring from her eyes. “I am so, so sorry…”
Twilight joined the teen on the floor, wrapping her in an empathetic hug.
The two teens eventually left the department store, Twilight’s arms loaded with shopping bags full of clothing, whilst Sunset did her best to keep her eyes on the floor.
“Well, we finished early, so how about we go to the food court and wait for my mom?”
Sunset barely nodded at Twilight’s remark, unable to bring her eyes to look at the bags full of items. Full of charity that Sunset didn’t deserve…
“How does Blue Wendell’s sound?”
Sunset wondered why Velvet, Twilight, Night Light, and Cadence put up with her. She was unable to help, the stitches making sure she could not even lift a single bag of clothes without pain lancing through her. Her legs were still healing from spending so long in the snow, almost back to the point of not shaking when she stood.
“What would you like to drink?”
If only she wasn’t such a failure, she would no longer have to deal with this, deal with the anger of those who she tried so hard-
Sunset snapped back into reality, noticing immediately that she was once again inconveniencing others, and looked at Twilight, the teen giving her a worried look.
“Sunset? What would you like to drink?”
“Umm…” Sunset paused as she stared at the signs above the cashier, “A small “Strawberry Banana Wendell”, please.”
Twilight passed the cashier a bill, receiving a few coins in return, before ushering her partner to the side. “Sunset, look at me.” Twilight said, putting down the bags and grabbing onto Sunset’ slumped shoulders. The teen brought her head up, but had a hard time looking Twilight in the eyes. “I know you fell down again, what those two said last night was unbecoming of adults, but me, my mom, Cadence even, we are here for you Sunset. We want to help you, and you deserve a chance to prove yourself.” Twilight cleared her throat as she let go. “I’m… really not great at impromptu speeches like this, sorry.” She looked down at the bags. “You are not some charity case thrust upon us, as much as you may want to believe. So please, smile again. Just like you were before those two walked in.” Twilight reached over and grabbed the two drinks on the counter, handing the smaller one to Sunset, before pulling out her phone as it buzzed loudly.
“Looks like my mom is done with her stuff.” Twilight’s swift fingers shot a quick message back, informing her on where to meet the two of them, “I told her to meet you over by the elevators, but I just have to run to the washroom quick. Would you mind holding onto my drink for me?” She picked up the bags again and pointed Sunset in one direction, handing the cool beverage over, before she rushed off to her own.
“It appears that you did a good job picking out clothes!” Velvet greeted the teen warmly, a nondescript bag in her own hands, when Sunset got to the elevators. “I have some underwear here for you Sunset, just some basic necessities for the time being.” She stated as she held the bag out.
“Well look who it is!” A cold voice yelled out, freezing Sunset in place, her heart wrenching apart in terror. “Anon-A-Miss herself!”
A rainbow haired girl with sky blue skin walked up and stopped just short of the three shoppers, followed shortly by a rather rugged saffron girl with a stetson planted firmly on her head, a pale white girl with her vivid purple hair trailing out of her trendy toque, a buttercream skinned girl who tried her best to hide in her long pink locks, and a pink blob of energy given human shape and frizzy pink hair.
“When are you gonna stop posting all that crap online, Shimmer?” Rainbow Dash asked, though her tone made it sound like more of a demand.
Twilight Velvet stepped forward, hands on her hips as she stared at the fiery magenta eyes boring into her charge.
“And who do you think you are?”
Rainbow Dash sneered at the woman, “I am one of the many students being verbally assaulted by this monster, thank you very much!”
Rarity cleared her throat, “Rainbow, I think we should leave them be, darling.”
“Aw, come off yer high horse Rares,” Applejack replied, “If’n Sunset don’t wan’t to stop posting secrets, why’n tarnation should we leave her be?”
Sunset pulled away farther, trying to hide from the five who she had once thought of as family. “Please…” She pleaded, voice cracking as she whispered, “I’m innocent… Why won’t any of you believe me?” She fell to her knees and sobbed into her hands.
“Quit with all the crocodile tears Sunset, ya ain’t foolin nobody!” The athlete continued her assault, unperturbed by Velvet’s growing anger. She would have likely continued if Fluttershy hadn’t reached forward and pulled Dash back with a rather forceful hand.
“Leave her be Rainbow.” Sunset stopped sobbing for a moment upon hearing the animal lover’s gentle voice. “She isn’t worth our time.”
Sunset broke into a full on bawl, her immense sorrow ripping through her even as Velvet scolded the five members of the Rainbooms. She didn’t know why everything kept going wrong. Did the universe hate her that much? It seemed to constantly lead her along, the carrot always just out of reach, before slamming down on her with destructive force.
Eventually she felt a pair of hands wrap around her, pulling her up into a warm embrace. She could hear Twilight talking with her mom, inquiring into why Sunset was in such a state, but Sunset wasn’t listening. She was too busy crying her eyes out, cursing her life. She stared into the abyss of her sorrow, and it stared back at her, reaching out and caressing her gently, it’s spiked limbs slowly digging and scratching at her. She was barely aware that she was helped to her feet, and was being led away from the mall. She spent the entire car ride back sobbing, Twilight taking the adjacent back seat so as to keep an arm around her fellow teen.
Sunset had a hard time getting to sleep that night, nightmares flashing before her eyes the moment she drifted off to sleep. Velvet spent the night in the room, relaxing on a padded rocking chair so as to keep eye on the teen. She tried to think of what she could do for Sunset, unsure of how to help this struggling teen find her feet again. She reached over as Sunset tossed in the bed, brushing a loose strand of hair of the teens face.
Sunset sat on the sofa with a warm mug filled with hot chocolate held in her hands, arms healed enough that she could start to take care of herself again. The stitches had yet to be removed, but at least now she didn’t require the constant attention of Twilight nor her mom for every little thing. Things had cheered up as Christmas showed it’s face around the house. Whilst they didn’t have a tree the family had spent a good portion of Christmas Eve decorating around the house, even Sunset had helped, stringing lengths of garland around the house.
Cadence and Shining Armour showed up just as supper was set on the table, a myriad of boxes held underneath their arms, and were warmly greeted by Twilight. She was excited as ever to see her brother and his fiance, barely giving them room to function.
“Twily, it’s nice to see you too,” Shining Armour grunted as his sister attempted to give him a hug, “But at least let me and Cadence get our coats off first?”
Cadence laughed as Twilight refused to listen, at least allowing the woman to put her presents down and start to pull off her coat. “You should listen to your brother Twilight, you don’t want him to take away your presents, do you?” Cadence laughed as Twilight pulled back, large smile plastered happily across her face.
“Books!?” She shouted excitedly, arms flying up in the air, though she remained glued just a few feet away from the couple.
“You’ll just need to wait and see Twilly.” Shining ruffled her hair as he responded, finally out of his heavy winter coat. He strode past his little sister, stopping in front of Sunset. “So I heard we’re in the process of getting a new student?” He had a warm smile.
Sunset nodded. “Yes, I think everyone is right by saying I should transfer schools.” She sighed, looking down at her hot chocolate, before continuing, “Even if I was finally proven innocent, I doubt I would have the desire to stay.” She looked up at him, slight frown on his face, and smile lightly, “But I am looking forward to a fresh start! Go Shadowbolts?” Her sentence ended much more questioningly then she intended, truth be told she knew little about the school other than all the hate the students at CHS gave it.
Shining chortled as he reached out and rubbed her shoulder, “Yeah, something like that will do.” He paused as he sniffed the air, “Now come on, supper must be just getting put on the table, and you don’t want Twilight to steal all the food, do you?”
Twilight was obviously not amused by her brother’s jab, and chased the young man through the kitchen, towards the dining room. Sunset smiled at the show of family, feeling bad that she was envious of it even after everything this family had done for her. She looked over at Cadence, who held a hand out to assist Sunset out of the plush prison of a sofa she resided in. “What can you tell me about Crystal Prep? The students, teachers and what not?”
A queer look passed over the face of Cadence, extremely briefly, before a smile replaced it. “Well, we definitely have a focus on the curriculum, but not just getting good test scores. We also value physical education, drive, and the desire to be the best.” She helped pull Sunset up to her feet. “But nothing out of the ordinary, as long as you apply yourself to the fullest.”
Sunset grinned at the woman. This sounded almost like Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, and before she went… well… crazy, Sunset was the top student the school had ever been host to! She was looking forward to going to a school that had a good focus on studies. “Well, I hope I can prove that I am the top student around!”
Cadence smiled at the drive the teen showed, amazed at how well she had bounced back her repeated abuses. She felt a small pang in the back of her mind, guilt? She knew she should tell the teen about the Principal at Crystal Prep, but that could wait, right? This was Christmas after all, this was the time of family and togetherness.
“Where are you going?”
Cadence’s smile fell quickly as she watched Sunset start towards the staircase, the teen with a sad smile on her face.
“Oh, well… it’s a family supper right? I should leave you all be.” Sunset had paused on the threshold of the stairs, looking back at the woman who had a mixture of shock and sorrow splashed across her face.
“Then why are you not coming?” Cadence was so confused. Surely Sunset knew that she would be joining the supper, right? She wasn’t still berating herself about her injuries, surely she was past that!
“I have already imposed enough as is,” she said disturbingly calmly, “I don’t want to interrupt your guyses holiday for my sake.” Sunset hardly noticed how fast Cadence crossed the room, pulling the teen into a soft hug.
“And it won’t be complete if you aren’t with us.” She pulled back and stared at Sunset, the girl having a hard time returning the gaze. “So please, come with me to the dinner table… I don’t want your seat to go cold.” She stepped back, holding a delicate hand out the teen, begging Sunset to make the right choice.
Sunset stared down at the offered hand, then back up at Cadence, weighing her choices. She was happy here, living amongst this family, but did she really belong? They kept on saying that she was one of them, but how long until she returned back to her lonely apartment. Could she take the separation? She looked back down at the hand, sighing as she reached out and grasped it.
“You win… Let’s go eat.”
Cadence glowed at she guided Sunset to the dining room, through the kitchen and past the stairs leading to the basement. She was glad Sunset made the right choice, to join the rest of her family for supper. Gazing back at the teen, Cadence put her hand in the groove of the door, sliding it away and admitting the two of them into the warm, fragrant room.
It was most likely the second largest room in the house, due to the massive size of the living room, and was still almost claustrophobically full of festive cheer with wall stickers of reindeers, and Santa, strands of garland and tinsel hand from the the roof. The table must have once served as a drawbridge for a medieval castle, the size larger than Sunset had seen yet in this world, yet it was mostly hidden by countless plates of food.
The rest of the family had seated themselves, Night Light at the head, Twilight Velvet to his left and Shining Armour to the right, with space for his fiance obviously, followed by Twilight Sparkle and a final empty seat, waiting for Sunset Shimmer. In front of each of the diners was a dinner plate yet none of them held food, instead they were each platters for a single large, woolen sock, each with the name of the respective person lovingly embroidered upon it.
Sunset paused before her seat, eyes welling with tears and hands shook in front of her mouth. There upon her plate sat a stocking of her own, stuffed full of love and brimming with knick knacks, it yellow and red striping pattern a copy of the girls own mane of hair, and there embroidered on the front read,
Sunset couldn’t help but look around the table, at each happy smile and joyful pair of eyes. She never thought she would feel like this, this overwhelming wave of joy and appreciation, of love and affection. She slowly wiped away her tears, hiccuping as she stood there.
“Thank you… All of you… I don’t know if I could ever repay you for the great kindness and generosity you have shared with me.” She looked around, watching as Velvet dried her eyes, “Of the loyalty of standing up to your own friends and family for my sake.” Night Light blew his nose on his napkin. “Of honesty, by telling me what would help me move past this.” She looked at Cadence and Shining Armour, the couple holding hands as they watched the impromptu speech Sunset was giving. “Teaching me that laughter is one of the greatest medicines.” She finally looked at Twilight, the lavender teen’s face slightly puffy from crying. “And proving to me that truly, friendship is magic.”
Sunset felt something ignite in her as she finished her speech and sat down. Something lost long ago, in a world far far away. A spark that was lost when she came to this world. Sunset smiled as she watched everyone pour out their stocking on the plates, laughing at the gag gifts, enjoying chocolates and candy canes. Everybody was happy, enjoying the time with one another, and Sunset was finally starting to feel happy.
The air grew quiet after Velvet wrung her wine glass with her spoon, signaling to everyone present to pay attention. “I am glad you are all enjoying your small pre Christmas gifts, but it is time to enjoy the supper that I spent so long preparing.” Everyone chuckled as Velvet stood up and walked around the table, taking stockings away and out of the room, before reaching into the middle of the table and pulling a lid off a large tray.
“You are now welcome to start digging in!”
There were many cries of approval as food found it’s way to each plate, Sunset was even surprised as she watched Velvet leaving the dinning room only to return with a platter full of vegetarian options just for Sunset! She felt tears well again as Velvet placed the tray in front of her, thanking her once more, though she could barely find the words.
Food continued to be passed around the table, plates slowly emptying before being refilled, each person eating more then they would normally dare to. Sunset watched as the adult’s slowly sipped away at tall flutes of wine, while she and Twilight substituted with cranberry ginger ale. The taste made her think of home, of sitting before a great hearth on a night like this, wrapped up in Celestia’s great wings.
The dinner slowly subsided, people starting to pass on food and help take away dishes leaving Sunset alone in the dining room with Velvet, the matriarch exempt from dishes and cleanup. Sunset looked at her as she sat in her chair, resting slightly.
“When did you have time to do this?”
Velvet’s eyes cracked open, a wide smile on her face. “I’m a mother Sunset,” She chuckled, “We’re magical beings with eyes in the back of our heads, and always able to find time for every single one of our family members.”
Sunset blushed, laughing slightly at the woman’s tirade. “Thank you.” Sunset finally calmed down. “For everything you’ve done…” She wiped an errant tear away as she looked back at Velvet. “I doubt I would be here right now if it wasn’t for you and your family…”
Velvet stood up, walking around the table before stopping shy of Sunset, arms flung open. Sunset didn’t need much of a hint, throwing herself from the chair into the mother’s arms. Twilight Velvet may not have birthed Sunset, may not have been there to raise her, but little by little, Sunset was starting to think of her as family. As mother.
Sunset had a hard time sleeping that night, body still running thanks to her sugar high from all the chocolate she ate from her stocking. She stared at the ceiling, happy smile on her face. She sighed, feeling her body start to finally drift away.
Only to be suddenly shook awake.
“Sunset! Wake up! It’s time to open presents!”
Sunset groaned at Twilight, hands coming up to try and clean her blurry, crusty eyes. “What time is it even?” she complained, body popping and cracking awkwardly from poor sleep.
“Twelve past ten!” The eager teen responded, her exuberance making sure that Sunset wouldn’t drift back to sleep. “We let you sleep in, mainly ‘cause my parents threatened to ground me if i woke you too soon, but I couldn’t wait any longer!” She started to pull Sunset up out of bed, Sunset being too tired to complain at her treatment, followed her.
“Twilight Sparkle, I hope you didn’t harass Sunset too much getting her out of bed!”
The motherly tone of Velvet rung through the air, causing the slowly blinking Sunset to take stock of the room.
Everyone sat around the living room, itself being cleared of the the coffee table as well as the other furniture for the time being, legs crossed, out in front, or underneath. Before each person sat a pile of differently sized and wrapped boxes, each one wrapped in the colours of one of the family members. Sunset paused. The stocking was one thing, but this.
“No…” she whispered, studying the pile of presents without someone nearby, “No those can’t be for me…” She looked at the five other people in the room, who each nodded as their eyes met hers. “Jeez guys… I don’t know what to say…” She sat down slowly looking at the pile. Twilight had gotten her the most things, judging by the predominance of wrapping paper that coloured her multi purple colours. Shining Armour and Cadence had each gotten her something, Night Light and Twilight Velvet even more.
“But I couldn’t get any of you anything…” She shook her head, “No, this is too much! I don’t deserve this!” But when she opened her eyes, she saw five people standing above her, hands held out. This was her family, and they would be here for her no matter what. She sniffled as she held her hands out, feeling the love of each of the family members flow into her as they pulled her up together and embraced her as a group. Sleep and drowsiness was forgotten. In their place? Love.
They all sat down again, and started opening presents, Sunset at a much slower pace than the rest of the house. Each of the members elated upon opening the various gifts, such as Night Light when he got a singing tie from Twilight, or Shining Armour blushing as Cadence smiled coyly at Velvet upon opening a box containing a baby mobile.
“I’m hoping for grandkids soon.” She chuckled at the pair.
Sunset slowly opened Shining Armour’s present first.
“It was kinda last minute, so I didn’t have the largest choice of colours, but-”
Twilight cut his brother off, “I was there with him and made sure he picked the right model!” She shouted out excitedly.
Sunset froze as she removed the wrapping paper, a box showing off a laptop looking up at her. “No way…” This was an extremely good laptop, like, top of the line quality for school and business use. “You shouldn’t have!” She had tears in her eyes as she looked as Shining, who merely shrugged in response. He knew that she would be thanking him in the end for it.
She made her way through the rest of the presents, skipping Cadence’s when the woman said that her’s should be last. The whole up to date collection of Daring Do books from Twilight, as well as a super fancy scientific calculator that she; “Made some adjustments to.”. Night Light bought her a gift card for the Crystal Empire, shrugging when Sunset finally found it in his massive box and stared at him in disbelief.
“I’m kinda historically bad for shopping for gifts, so I took the lazy route instead.”
Apparently Night Light thought $500 was lazy.
Twilight Velvet bought some fancy silk night wear for the teen, claiming that it would be better than the old shirt she kept wearing to bed, as well a wrist watch and some jewellry.
“Every girl needs something shiny.” She said, winking at Sunset as Shining groaned in embarrassment.
Finally everyone was finished opening presents, except for one final one. Cadence’s gift to Sunset. She sat with the box on her lap, looking at Cadence. “I managed to pull a few personal favours with a friend of mine.” She said as Sunset started to unwrap it. “Hopefully I remembered everything properly.” Sunset carefully removed the delicate and colorful paper, putting it aside and looking at the brown box sitting on her lap. “Go on.” Cadence urged the teen. Sunset slowly opened the box, a questioning look on her face, before she looked up at Cadence, tears of happiness budding.
“This is more than just a few personal favours.” She whispered, as she reached into the box and pulled out a burgundy blouse, knee length navy blue socks, a burgundy plaid skirt, and a navy blue bowtie. “This is my uniform for Crystal Prep… But how?” A look of joy spread across Sunset’s face.
“I said I would make sure to get you in, and you can’t show up without a uniform, so…” Cadence smiled warmly at the amber teen, finally able to have a chance to prove that she was a good person.
“Does that mean…?” Sunset asked with bated breath, eyes locked on the Dean of Crystal Prep Academy. Cadence’s smile deepened and, after slowly closing her eyes, nodded her head.
The rest of December passed pleasantly, Old Jack Frost deciding that he would spare the city from any more flurries, instead content with just the odd chill breeze. Sunset was thankful for the reprieve, as she was able to go out on walks with Twilight and Spike, laughing as the dog would roll around in the snow and chase snowballs that the girls threw.
She spent some time familiarizing herself with her new laptop, or at least as much time as she could, as Twilight saw fit to take the device and perform some of her patented “upgrades” upon it. When Sunset finally got to use it, she noticed that it had been linked to Twilight’s own, a personal link between the two that they used to chat late into the night.
Velvet made sure to have Sunset put on her new uniform at least once every couple days, and Sunset willingly obliged, enjoying the attention from Twilight’s mother. It sat well on her, not too tight but still nice and snug. It took her awhile to get used to the bow she was supposed to wear, as she had never worn such an article before, but eventually she got used to pulling on the different ends to loosen and tighten it as needed.
Cadence and Shining Armour stopped over one last time on New Year’s Eve, enjoying spending a little bit more holiday time with family before work and school started back up. Cadence took Sunset aside that night, informing the teen about what her first day would be like.
“I will be stopping by to pick you and Twilight up early,” she started, “so I can make sure Twilight doesn’t sleep in, but to also show you around the school before classes start. Now your schedule won’t be finalized until the fifth, so for the first day you will just piggyback around with Twilight.”
“Sounds like a great way to start,” Sunset nodded in agreement, “What time should I set my alarm for?”
“Well plan for me to pick you up around eight?” Cadence glanced at her wristwatch. “That should give us about forty five minutes before Homeroom starts.”
Sunset sat still in her bed, hands grasping the fluffy sheets against her lap. Sleep had eluded her all night, thanks to the excitement she was feeling of going back to school. A school that wouldn’t judge her for her past misactions. She smiled giddily, looking over at the alarm clock. Large neon green characters informed her that it was seven minutes to seven. The residents of the house shouldn’t get upset at her for going to shower now, would they?
Sunset tiptoed her way through the cool hallway, feet making no sound thanks to the soft carpet. She had grabbed her uniform out of her closet, the many layer draped over her arms carefully, and made her way down the hall to the the linen closet to grab a towel, doing her best to open it slowly to prevent it from creaking. Fluffy prize retrieved, she turned back around, walking slowly towards the end of the hall. Stopping at the door second to the end. Twilight’s room was to the immediate right, and her parents across the hall.
She paused and took a deep breath, grabbing the handle, and pushed.
Sunset paused, blush slowly coming to her face.
“I was just finishing up.” Velvet pushed a loose strand of hair out of her face with one hand, the other holding up a towel around herself. “I was trying to let you sleep in as long as possible, but it seems you are up on time.”
Sunset slowly nodded, before she started giggling, confusing Velvet. “What’s so funny Sunset?”
Sunset wiped a tear away, “Doesn’t this situation seem weird to you?”
Velvet paused before looking down and then back up at the teen.
“Oh…” She giggled herself, “Sorry Sunset, I guess I’ve gotten so used to you here.” She blushed slightly as she stepped past Sunset. “Hope I didn’t make you feel uncomfortable hun.” Velvet waved at the teen as she disappeared into her room.
Sunset made sure to shut the door firmly behind herself, locking the door before depositing her uniform onto the counter, then paused and looked at the shower. She still couldn’t believe how fancy it was. A frosted glass sliding door hid the user in case someone entered unannounced, while keeping the water from drenching the floor. A small railing stuck out from the foremost door, making sure that the user’s towel was within arms reach while still remaining dry. Sunset reached in and grabbed a hold of the handle and turned, allowing water to start flowing out of the hosed head.
Happy to let the water flow for a minute before she jumped in, Sunset started to undress starting by removing her silk pyjamas, carefully laying the garments on top of the fuzzy toilet cover, followed by her underwear, which sat on top of the delicate nightwear. She stretched lazily, humming in appreciation as the air started to warm up from the steam of her water. Figuring she had been wasteful enough she entered, making sure to slide shut the doors securely, so as to not flood the floor as she almost did the first time she showered here.
The hot water ran in rivulets down her amber skin, matting her mane of fire and gold against her head and back. Sunset always enjoyed the heat, be it hot baths and showers, or the fire that she had an affinity for generating as a filly growing up. Sunset turned around, allowing the glorious heat to work into her back, and down the delicate curves of her lower back. Her muscles thanked her for the action, slowly unwinding from the many weird poses Sunset attempted to help her get to sleep.
Brushing her hair from her eyes, she reached for her shampoo. She felt bad that Velvet had to pay for it, but hair care was the one thing Sunset took great pride in, Pony or human. Squeezing a palm full of the coconut and pineapple scented gel, she went to work lathering her crown, making sure to get every single inch of each of the many strands of her hair that made up her luxurious mane. Allowing the water to start rinsing off the suds, Sunset started singing, her tones reciting a song that she remembered from her fillyhood.
After making sure all the shampoo had been washed out, She next reached for the conditioner, squeezing a large handful of the more viscous formula, and went back to work, focusing on massaging her scalp before spreading it to the rest of her locks. The product felt like sludge as she worked it through her hair, but it helped make sure Sunset’s hair had volume like no other. Once finished she reached for her body wash, personally preferring a lotion over a soap bar.
Making sure to step free of the shower head’s spray, Sunset started to soap herself down, starting with her well toned arms and taking delicate care to wash under her large bust. Her hands traced down across her waist, making sure to cover her firm abdominals and glutes, before she rubbed down her legs, thigh to sole. Pleased with her work, Sunset stood back into the hot spray.
She started by grabbing the shower head free of it’s holder, untangling the hose and running the head down her hair, making sure to keep it close to her scalp to help with a pseudo pressure washing. Aquamarine eyes closed to make sure that the conditioner didn’t enter and cause her pain, she learned that the hard way as a filly, Sunset used one hand to guide the device, the other to massage her hair free of any residue, before taking it and doing the same with the rest of her body.
Once she was fully rinsed, Sunset returned the shower head to it’s holder, wiped her face clear, and sat down in the middle of the shower floor and allowed the water to rush over her. This was her favourite part of her morning ritual, her morning meditation. She slowed her breathing, focusing on the heat around herself. Within herself. Ever since Christmas, she had felt an ember flickering inside of herself. A font of long thought lost power and potential. Her brows furrowed, as one of her hands rose in front of her, it’s digits splayed. She took a deep breath, and suddenly closed her hand, save for one finger.
A moment passed.
Followed by another…
Slowly Sunset heard hissing, the water hitting her warmer than before. Risking a glance, one delicate aquamarine iris cracked open, allowing a sliver of light to enter the retina. Her eyes shot opened in excitement of what she saw. A small wisp of red flame hovered in front of the still outstretched finger, the air crackling and hissing as the water in it’s immediate vicinity turned to steam. Spike started to bark in annoyance as Sunset squeed in happiness.
Magic! Real, honest, magic! But how? When she first entered this world there was no magic, lost through the portal-mirror, so why was she able to now? She remembered how Twilight and the Rainbooms “Ponied Up” when they beat her, and Sunset herself joined their ascended state when the group defeated the sirens. But that was completely different than what she was now able to accomplish.
Sadly, with her focus lost and directed to another, the small flame blinked out of existence, leaving Sunset sitting at the bottom of a shower while hot water poured over her. Giggling with excitement, Sunset practically hopped to her feet as she turned off the water, before grabbing her towel and starting to towel off. Not only was she getting a fresh start at a new school, but she had magic to study! What could go wrong today?
Sunset finished toweling off in record time, thanks to her immense joy over her discovery, then started to apply her beauty products. Antiperspirant under her arms, her smooth skin devoid of hair. A delicate powder padded across her body, armed with the task of keeping her skin free of moisture and other bodily fluids. She paused as she came to her arms, her high starting to mellow out slightly. She set down the small powder pad and used the free hand to trace down her arm, from the crook of her elbow all the way to her wrist. The scar stared back at her, the discoloured tissue a permanent reminder of how low she was, but also of how far she had come. How she had rose above where she had ever been before, thanks to those now around her.
Finishing the powdering, Sunset now turned to her uniform, eying the fresh underwear sitting on top. She decided on a pair of little more risque black of underwear, meant more for comfort then showing off. Slowly pulling the panties up her legs, she took delicate care to seat them properly on her hips, before starting on her brassiere. She started by turning the device around, the empty cups on her back and the clasp in front of her. The clasp itself was a little bit higher duty thanks to her prodigious size, but once connected together she slid it back around and secured her arms through the proper straps, settling the cups to hold her steady.
With step one completed she looked at the combination that would serve as her top, A light, pale grey undershirt with a burgundy blazer. She started with the shirt pulling it on and making sure to leave the collar popped to allow her to affix the navy blue bowtie. Once it was fastened properly she grabbed her skirt, the burgundy plaid piece a good length, and stepped into it, pulling it up her legs and zipping it overtop of her undershirt. She frowned at the lack of pockets, one of the advantages to CHS’ lack of specified uniform. Once the skirt was finished she reached for her blazer, pulling it on slowly so as to not mess up the sleeves of the undershirt, and started buttoning it up. Her thigh length socks were next, the navy blue contrasting with her skin.
Finally dressed she took one last look in the mirror. Smiling, she did a little twirl, giggling the whole while. Satisfied she headed for the door, exiting and walking down the hall and into her room. Her backpack had been packed the night before, and it was thankfully the one piece of personalization she was allowed, so she gladly packed the cutie mark emblazoned satchel with all of her supplies. Or at least she had tried. She laughed as she looked at the small bag of binders, each packed with pens, paper, and everything else they would need. She walked over to her closet and opened it, withdrawing her black dress shoes and slipping into them, the small heels a natural fit in her opinion.
Having brought all her supplies down to the front door, Sunset sat in the sofa while nursing a fresh travel cup full of coffee in her hands, and the remains of toast on a plate beside her. The two spoonfuls of sugar and two addings of cream helped sweetened the bitter draught to more of Sunset’s liking, and she had thanked Velvet for preparing it all for her, whilst the teen had spent almost forty five minutes getting prepared.
“Pretty excited I take it?” the sofa dipped as the older woman joined her.
“I’m pretty obvious huh?” Sunset chuckled as she took another sip of sweetened brew. “But have you gotten Twilight up yet?” She gave Velvet a worried look, “When I came down her door was closed and the bathroom was open.”
“I already texted Cadence and informed her that I would bring Twilight in today. She should be focused on helping you and, well,” Velvet sighed before she started laughing, “Twilight would distract the both of you so much that none of you would get anything done.”
Sunset giggled as she nodded in agreement. Twilight would definitely not be focused if she were with Sunset and Cadence. Both women turned their gaze to the door, as knocks could be heard. “It’s open Cadence!” Velvet called out, feeling one of her rare bouts of lazy kick in, “Come on in!”
Slowly the threshold opened, admitting a pea coat bundled Cadence, who waved as she greeted her two seated hosts. “Good morning Velvet, morning Sunset!” She smiled at the teen, “Ready for your first day at Crystal Prep?”
Sunset bolted to her feet, backpack secure and binder bag in hand. “You know it!” The teens energy brought a chuckle to the Dean, who watched patiently as Sunset crossed the floor towards her.
“Sunset? One last thing?”
Sunset turned around mid pose, only to see Velvet standing with her phone out and pointing at the teen. She heard a ping from the device before Velvet deposited it in her pocket.
“Can’t start school without a picture! Now get going, don’t need you two being late after all.”
Sunset blushed, and rushed over to hug Velvet, before rushing after Cadence who had already departed. She caught up to the woman, standing before a rather shiny looking Sedan. “This shall be your chariot for the day, though I won’t be able to give you a ride too too often.” The teacher explained, pulling out a fob and unlocking the doors. She grasped the handle and pulled on the back passenger door, allowing Sunset to deposit her bags so as to make sure that the two passengers wouldn’t be squished up front.
“That’s fine, it wasn’t too far of a walk it seemed when I passed by with Twilight as we walked Spike.” Sunset pulled the image from her memory banks as she opened the passenger door and seated herself, but only after knocking her shoes against the side of the car to free the errant snow that attempted to cling to her footware.
They passed the ride with smalltalk, making little jokes as the streetlights passed. It was a short ride, maybe ten minutes, and the two pulled before the school, its large imposing shape blocking out the sky. They exited the car, Cadence grabbing the bag of binders before Sunset could, and they started towards the front gate.
“Good morning beautiful.” The guard commented, Shining Armour’s face grinning coyly, “And good morning to you to Sunset. I must say that uniform definitely matches well to you.” He stated as he opened the gate for them.
“Flattery will get you everywhere, my prince,” Cadence said as she passed, “Just make sure not to hit on the girls, don’t need you getting fired like the last gate guard.”
“I only have eyes for one lady in my life!” He shouted as the two neared the entrance, three doors standing before them.
“Are you ready, Susnet?”
Taking one last look, Sunset nodded. “Let’s rock.”
“And here is your homeroom,” Cadence stated, her hand pointing out and indenting Sunset’s map even as the two stood in front of the room itself, “Why don’t we go in there and introduce you?” The bell had rung only a minute ago, yet the halls were a ghost town, so much different from the more lax attitude that she had grown compliant with.
“But isn’t my homeroom teacher supposed to do that?” Sunset questioned. She was sure that is what the guidebook had said?
“That’s why we need to get in there, silly.” Cadence winked as she opened the door, “Just wait until I call you in.”
Sunset let out a sigh of relief when she understood that Cadence was her homeroom teacher, this would help out with the transfer unquantifiably. She took position near the door, listening through the opening whilst remaining hidden from sight.
“Now students, I am sure you all had a great Christmas break, and are no doubt ready to start up your studies again,” Cadence started, pausing as the students quieted down in her presence, “But before you all get too chatty with one another, I have a new student to introduce to you all.” Murmurs broke through the class as the students all started whispering to each other. “You may come in now.”
That was Sunset’s que, this was it, no chance to turn back. Taking a steadying breath, she did her best to put on an air of confidence, her head held high, shoulders back, striding with purpose. Just like she was before the Fall Formal, just minus the evil intent. She could do this!
Or so she thought. As she turned to look at the class she froze, just as all the other students did. Twilight sat with a large giddy smile on her face which didn’t match the nervous wave she was giving her housemate. But there were three in particular that stood out in the sea of girls. Three girls that Sunset never thought she would see again.
“Class,” Started Cadence, causing most everyone to break out of their stupors, “This young woman will be joining our school as of today. You may introduce yourself now.”
Sunset stole a glance at the woman to her right, calming down at the warm smile she shared, before looking out over the class and opening her mouth.
Sunset never got a chance to start, interrupted by the icy blue skinned girl sitting to the right of Twilight. She looked back at her two sisters as she continued.
“That’s Sunset Shimmer, right?” Sonata Dusk asked of the two other Sirens seated behind her and Twilight. “I’m not imagining things?” She turned back and stared at the teen, stars seeming to shoot from her eyes.
Aria Blaze still sat in stunned silence, unable to believe who stood before her, though the one to her left had no such issue.
“Yes, it certainly is Sonata,” Adagio Dazzle responded, making sure to silence the airhead of the trio, “Now please, do be quiet and let the nice girl introduce herself to the rest of the class.”
The rest of the students started whispering again, causing Sunset to blush and look at her feet as she kicked a leg forward and back. Cadence cleared her throat, silencing the class once more and beckoning to Sunset to finally proceed.
“So yeah,” Sunset started, a bit of a shy smile coming to her face as she started, “As Sonata pointed out, my name is Sunset Shimmer, and I am a new transfer student here.” She looked around as the students all looked to each other with obvious questions before returning to gaze at the new girl. “I know it’s weird to have a student come in part way through the year, but I hope I can meet the expectations placed before me.” She made a low bow before turning to Cadence.
“Thank you Sunset,” the Dean returning her gaze to the other students, “Now I hope all you girls welcome Sunset properly.” She turned back to Sunset, stating, “How about you take the seat next to Twilight, since you two know each other so well.”
Sunset didn’t need to be told twice, and made her way to the front row seat beside her friend. Sitting down and smiling at the teen, but freezing when she saw both Sonata and Aria staring at her, while Adagio face palmed at her sisters actions. She had a hard time focussing on what Cadence was saying, but she caught the important bits, and it wasn’t long until Cadence allowed the student to start talking with each other.
“So how come you transferred in?” asked the girl behind her, her near white hair in two poofy pigtails.
“What kind of music do you like!?” shouted the girl behind the first one, pulling the headphones off her ears and allowing her triple shaded green hair to decompress. “What?” She shrugged at the glare Sunset guessed she was receiving.
“Or maybe you are more of a sports girl!” A pair of peach hands slammed down on Sunset’s desk out of nowhere. “You like soccer? Maybe lacrosse?”
“Oh leave her be, Indigo,” came a fourth, this girls mulberry cut short and stylized. “You’re obviously overcrowding her.”
“Well…” Sunset started, only to have a fifth and final girl come up, arms crossed under her chest.
“Or maybe you all need to stop and let her respond.” She flipped her rose coloured ponytail before reaching a delicate hand out to Sunset, “My apologies for my compatriots, they seem to fail at grasping proper social edicate. My Name,” she said after Sunset firmly shook hands, “Is Sour Sweet, and these buffoons are,” Sour Sweet pointed to the first girl to start this chain questioning off, dour look still on her face, “Is Sugarcoat, followed by Lemon Zest, our resident audiophile,” the second girl rocked out on an air guitar at mention of her name. “Indigo Zap, jock extraordinaire.”
“Just cause I’m actually able to do real push ups-”
Indigo didn’t get a chance to finish as Sour passed onto the final of the five, “And last, but not least, is Sunny Flare, who-”
“Doesn’t appreciate the crap coming out of your mouth, Sour.” She had a grumpy glare, hands resting on her hips as she stared at the other teen.
“Now Sunset,” Sour continued, unperturbed, “I am going to be nice and give you a warning.” Sunset turned her gaze to the teen and gulped, nodding shakily. “There is a good chance that most of the students here will do one of three possible things.” She held up one pale golden finger, “Haze the crap out of you,” a second digit followed the first, “Ignore you,” and a third, “or try to learn what your strengths are and to feed off of you.” She turned and left after finishing her sentence, not giving Sunset a chance to even talk.
“That girl.” Sugarcoat sighed at the sight of her departing classmate, “Sorry Sunset, but as brutal as Sour is, she is being honest.” Sunset looked back at the glasses wearing girl as the bell rang and each student returned to their desk and grab their materials for their first class. “I don’t know if you looked into that CHS place or not, but while they are all “love and acceptance”, we are a lot more realistic.” Sunset looked away at the mention of her old school, wishing she could let Sugarcoat know how wrong she was, “But while we come off cold, we aren’t heartless.” She stood and grabbed her bag. “See you around maybe.”
Sunset sat there for a moment, shellshocked at everything that just transpired. This was a lot different than what she was expecting. This was a little bit more ruthless than CHS, and that notion woke something up in the teen. She shook her head free of those thoughts, instead swapping over to her open binder. There was a piece of paper folded neatly on it, written in… Equestrian?
I just wanted to let you know that me and the girls were hoping to talk to you over
the lunch break! We will be with this world’s Twilight!
Sunset flipped the note over a few time, not able to comprehend what was happening. What were those three playing at? They seemed to understand that this Twilight was not the same one that beat them at the Battle of the Bands, but… Could they be planning something? She shook her head and stood up, walking over to Twilight who was conversing with Cadence, though they both stopped when Sunset neared and smile at the teen.
“So I already let Twilight’s teachers know that you would be tagging along for today.” Cadence said, walking the two towards Twilight’s first class. “Sadly we weren’t able to finish your schedule for you today, but it will be ready tomorrow, so make sure to stop in at the office before you head to your locker, okay?”
Sunset nodded, glad to be able to spend some time with Twilight. Did she know anything about the Sirens? She would find out at lunch she guessed. The two waved farewell to Cadence, continuing up to the second floor of the school and making their way down the halls.
“I hope you are ready for Advanced Math, Sunset!” Twilight was beaming, even as she weaved in and out of the students who didn’t act exactly as Sour Sweet explained. She watched as most of the guys paused to stare at her, Sunset unsure to take it as a compliment.
Advanced Math, taught by one Crashing Wave, was the sort of class that Sunset wished she could have taken back at CHS. Mr. Wave was very laid back, surprising the teen with his off set smile as she entered with Twilight.
“Here comes our new prodigy,” he drawled, smiling lazily at Sunset, “Welcome to my humble classroom.” He took a lopsided bow, nearly falling over as he leaned down, before standing up and walking over to Sunset. “I understand that you will be with my best student here for the day?”
Sunset nodded, taken aback by how this man was acting. “Yes sir! I hope I’m not going to cause any issues by being here.” She looked down as she shuffled her feet.
Mr. Wave chuckled as he patted her shoulder disarmingly. “No worries kiddo! As long as you don’t distract Twilight from her pop quiz, everything should be chill.”
Twilight’s face widened exponentially at the mention of a pop quiz, her love for tests an anomaly deserving to be studied, before rushing to her desk and sitting down. “A Quiz, huh?” Sunset raised an eyebrow to the teacher, “Would it be fine if I tried my hand at it? That way I should be focused on my own work and not bothering Twilight.”
Mr. Wave scratched his ocean blue chin, regarding the determined look he was receiving from the girl, “Well,” his hand ruffled his short teal crew cut, “I don’t see much of an issue personally. It won’t count towards your grade however, so you sure you want to?”
The rest of the students had started to enter, pausing and looking at the new girl before hurrying to their seats. “I understand sir, but I would still like to try my hand at it.” She looked around, noticing that the room was starting to get full. “Also, where should I sit?”
“Next to your guide should work for today I think,” the teacher replied, pointing to an empty seat at the front, “Just don’t think about copying off her, savvy?”
Sunset nodded, poker face set in a friendly smile to prevent her from laughing at the man’s outward action, making steady steps toward her seat next to a vibrating lavender teen. “You alright there, Twilight?” She asked as she deposited her binder onto her desk, “I’m pretty sure you are getting some looks.”
Twilight was slowly calming down, her desk a mess of calculator, pencils, erasers, and scrap paper sheets. “I’m used to it,” she said with a sad smile, causing Sunset to frown a slight, “Even amongst the advanced students I stand out.”
Sunset reached over and rubbed the teens arm, hoping to show a sign of affection. “Welcome back, kiddies,” Sunset returned to facing Mr. Wave, who was leaning against the back wall strangely devoid of any kind of white board, chalk board, or similar item. “I hope y’all had a great holiday!” The students all greeted the man, Sunset included, “Now I know that y’all most likely didn’t do much studying, so I took it upon myself to make a small pop quiz for you all to help freshen up your young minds.”
A small series of groans filled the room as the students prepared themselves, Mr. Wave handing groups of sheets to the front of each row, who passed it back after taking one of the sheets. “Y’all have half an hour starting… now.”
The sounds of calculator buttons be depressed and pencils on paper. Sunset slowly wrote her name at the top of the paper, before moving down to the first question. Huh, she thought, glancing over the question, This is similar to what I was studying back in Equestria before I left. Not bothering to open her calculator, Sunset started to write in delicate script, rapidly progressing through the first question, followed shortly by the second, then the third. Before ten minutes had passed she had her hand raised, beckoning over Mr. Wave who was smiling lazily.
“Got some questions do ya, Sunset?” He paused and kneeled down infront of the teen.
“Well,” she started, keeping her voice low so as not to distract others, “Just one, actually.” The teacher nodded, waiting for the amber girl to continue. “Where do I hand this in?”
The sound of a pencil clattering onto wood came from her right, students glaring at Twilight who hurriedly picked it back up before glancing at Sunset, shock playing across her features.
“Finished already?” The teacher’s tone was slightly baffled, slightly impressed, “Give it to me and I’ll go check it over.” Sunset handed the paper over, turning around and looking at the other students, all their gazes locked on her in wonder. “Now class, I suggest you get back to your own tests.” The pupils listened to their instructor, returning with fervour to the questions before them.
Sunset sat quietly at her desk, making as little motion as possible. Twilight finished shortly after her, pushing her seat back and walking to the front and handing her own test in. The rest of the class slowly filtered to the front over the rest of the half hour test period, the last student handing in with minutes to spare.
“Y’all know the drill,” the teacher started, “Give me a few minutes to check the last of these and we will see who the winner is.”
The students all started chatting quietly, stealing glances to Sunset and Twilight periodically, no doubt conversing about the new girl. Sunset disregarded it all, instead focusing on chatting with Twilight.
“So how do you think you did?” Sunset brushed a strand of hair behind her ear as she questioned her friend.
“Oh, it was pretty easy!” Twilight exclaimed happily, “I mean, I did study over the break after all.” She chuckled softly as she looked at Sunset’s bemused look. “There’s not much else to do with all that free time. I usually run out of experiments after the first three days, so the rest is spent studying and testing myself.”
Sunset nodded, “Your dedication is inspiring, but did you do as Cadence asked?” the other teen tilted her head in wonderment, “You know, relax?” Sunset giggled at Twilight’s blushing, “I mean, surely you spent some time with your friends before I came along, right?”
Twilight shifted into looking crestfallen at Sunset’s comment. “I, uh…” the teen looked back up at Sunset, “I’ve never really had friends before. I thought they were distractions from my studies.” She suddenly waved her hands in front of herself, “But don’t worry, I really appreciate the time we have spent together!”
Sunset frowned as she nodded. This must have been what Twilight was like before she became a Princess. Much like Sunset, though at least she had people listening to her through intimidation.
“I mean, those three sisters that transferred in before winter seemed to think that they know me, and seem to hang around me a lot.” Twilight shrugged her shoulders, “The orange haired one seems pretty intelligent, though I’m not sure how the other two got in.” She affixed Sunset with a strange look, “Though they knew your name, how?”
Sunset looked around the room, before motioning Twilight closer. “They are from CHS,” she whispered, “but don’t worry, they aren’t related to the whole Anon-A-Miss debacle, they left well before it started after all.” Sunset smiled as she leaned back to her chair, the teacher grabbing the attention of the students.
“Now I hope you are all ready, because this test will serve as a good wake up call for a few of you,” he gazed across the room and took in more than a few sheepish looks. “But overall y’all did well. But that doesn’t mean y’all won,” he stared down at the chart in his hand, grinning comically, “In fact, we only have one this time.” Twilight slunk in her seat at the comment. “Congratulations to, with a perfect score…” He paused, for dramatic effect certainly, before calling out,
“Sunset Shimmer!” He started to clap, or at least as much as he could with one hand holding onto paper. The students all started whispering, gasping at Sunset who remained seated with a confused look on her face. What did he mean by “winner”?
“Uh, thanks I guess?” Sunset looked at the teacher, then back to Twilight, “What is going on?”
“Well, ya see,” Mr. Wave started as he walked back to his desk and opened a drawer, retrieving a slip of paper before returning to Sunset. “To add extra incentive for the students, I give the best scoring students of each test a coupon for one free dessert from the cafeteria.” He handed the small slip to Sunset, the teen receiving it graciously with both hands, “So enjoy! Maybe share some with Twilight though,” he winked playfully, “You accidently distracted her when you called me over, causing her to make a minor mistake.”
The lavender teen shook her head, “I have an entire backlog of uneaten desserts, I usually give them to the sisters to help keep the number down.”
Sunset peered at the slip, a giddy smile crossing her face. Not a bad start!
The rest of the class passed with little of other noticeable action, Sunset working on some worksheets with Twilight, doing her best to ignore repeated stares from the other class members. The bell eventually rung, the students packing up their things as they started to run to lockers to swap over for their next class. Sunset followed Twilight out last, the two of them smiling at some smalltalk.
“Head’s up, Sunset!”
Sunset’s head spun to her right, arms shooting up instinctively. Her hands stung as something large was caught, it’s black and white skin peeking through her fingers. The soccer ball dropped to the ground, her foot securing it to the linoleum floor, her hands being shook around to try and abate the stinging.
“Nice catch, newbie!” Indigo Zap called out as she approached, confident grin covering her face, “If I could hazard a guess, I’d say you were a goalie at some point!” She punched the amber teen in the shoulder playfully, earning a small glare in return. “Aw, don’t give me that fire hair! Sour warned ya, and judging by your reaction I must be the first to get ya.”
Sunset’s hands slowly stopped the incessant stinging. “That’s nice and all, but I could have been seriously hurt you know.” That earned a shrug from the goggle wearing girl. “And how did you know where to find me even?”
“One of my friends shares that class with Twilight there and texted me after your guys’ test. Went on about some new girl who aced a pop quiz that they didn’t know about.” She bent down and freed the ball from Sunset’s grip, smiling and waving as she departed.
“Are you alright, Sunset?” Twilight finally spoke up, worry evident on her face. “I swear I knew nothing about that!”
“Relax.” Sunset smiled and hugged the other girl, “I’m fine, I’m used to being assaulted by worse than soccer balls of late.”
Twilight gave her a worried look, before starting to head to her next class.
Sunset stood in line with Twilight, trays in their hands as they waited to get their lunch served.
“This place is leagues above what we got at CHS,” Sunset commented, air filled with the raucous of teens talking over lunch. “No offense to Granny Smith, but she is just one woman.” She looked over the various foods in front of her, mouth watering at some of the choices she had. They even had vegetarian options! It was such a struggle to get things like that back at CHS, mainly because Granny Smith was so busy trying to feed all the teens.
“I almost feel the slightest bit of sadness for those students,” Twilight stated humorlessly, “Maybe I’d pity them if they had-”
Sunset cut the vindictive teen short with a nudge of elbow. “Calm down Twilight, it was the past.” She smiled as their turn finally came up. “For now, let’s just enjoy our lunch.”
Twilight nodded, before looking to the food lady behind the counter, listing of her requests. Sunset turned to look at the man in front of her, clearing her throat.
“Could I get some of that salad there?” She pointed at one of the many offerings of food, handing over her tray as the man scooped some on, “Maybe another few scoops like that, if that is alright?” The man nodded, filling Sunset’s plate/tray hybrid before handing it back. “Thank you!” Sunset continued her way down the line, reaching into one of the chilled basin’s to pull out a bottle of water, before stopping before a lady serving fresh fruits.
“An apple please!” Sunset asked, the lady digging into the pile to her side and grabbing one, placing it on the offered tray. She thanked the lady, before heading down to a register.
“How much do I owe?” She asked the tiller, who shook her head after looking at Sunset’s tray.
“Only things we charge for are on the menu above me here.” She replied, pointing to the long list above. Sunset took a moment to study the chart, before gasping and setting her tray onto the counter and rummaging around in one of the pockets of her blazer.
“Here!” She said, handing the slip to the lady, who studied the slip before smiling.
“Ah, one of Crasher’s winners huh? What would you like?”
“That hot fudge sundae sounds good to me, if that is alright?” Sunset slumped a slight as she asked, hoping that the voucher cover such a treat. The lady nodded, before walking over to start preparations on the desert.
“So what did you decide on?” Twilight returned to standing next to Sunset, her tray laden with tons of various foods. “It’s for a balanced diet, alright?” She blushed as Sunset started to laugh, her attention brought back to the counter as the hot and chill creation was deposited. Thanking the lady, Sunset turned around and stared over the lunch room. It was similar to CHS, though much higher class. The tables and chairs a higher quality, yet still the students clamoured to sit with their friends.
“Where to? All the seats look full!” The lunch room was absolutely packed! All the seats near the lunch line were full, and Sunset could barely see through the sea of students. She felt a nudge, watching as Twilight motioned to follow her. The two teens made a long winding path, ending up in a corner seat that was mostly empty.
Sonata waved cheerily from the table where the Sirens sat, joined first by Twilight, then by a hesitant Sunset. The other two greeted in their own ways, before greeting Twilight.
“Sunset said she knew you three from CHS.” Twilight said between bites of some kind of sandwich, voice slightly muffled. “What does she mean by that?”
Sunset cursed in her head, looking at the three Sirens with an indescribable look. Aria looked surprisingly nervous, which was rather shocking to Sunset, while Sonata looked at Adagio for advice. The head of the three maintained an air of indifference, finishing her forkful of some kind of chicken salad. Clearing her throat she smiled at the teen across from her.
“Well me and my sister’s spent some time at that high school before we transferred here.” She started, Sunset thankful that the Siren didn’t seem intent to try and explain the truth before Sunset was ready. “We participated in that school’s Battle of the Bands, and were beat by Sunset and her friends just before we transferred here.” She turned her smile to Sunset, “The bigger question is what Sunset is doing here with us, in a Shadowbolt uniform no less!”
Twilight started to talk, before starting to choke lightly on her mouthful of food. Sonata jumped up with a gasp, rushing behind the lavender teen and delivering rapid, moderate strokes to the choking girls back.
“Well, all I can say is that stuff hit the fan,” Sunset made a dramatic motion with her hand toward Twilight, the teen now breathing heavily as Sonata rubbed her back, “And now I am staying with Twilight and her family while I attend school here.”
Adagio gave a queer look, before her vision started to path towards the girl across the table, before pausing and staring at Sunset’s arm. Her eye’s slowly widened, before turning to Sunset, freezing the teen in place.
“What?” Sunset was confused, why was Adagio- Oh. She pulled her arm back, grasping at the cuff that had slid down and readjusting it. “Please forget about what you just-” Sunset never got to finish, Adagio almost teleporting as she rushed to Sunset’s side.
“When did this occur?” Adagio whispered, her eyes a flurry of emotions as she stared at the amber girl. “Please, tell me Sunset.” The ancient equestrian being was begging Sunset, trying to find out why there were fresh scars down the teen’s arm.
Sunset looked at Adagio, trying to find out what sort of game she was playing. Why was she showing concern? Shouldn’t the three of them be trying to kill Sunset for what her and the Rainbooms did to the three? She shook her head, looking at the poofy haired girl.
“Don’t worry about it, Adagio,” She tried her best to break free from the Siren’s iron grip, “It’s in the past, and I intend to keep it that way.”
“It was those jerks at CHS!” Twilight chose an inopportune moment to regain control over her voice, Sonata looking at Adagio and Sunset with worry. “They accused her of something she was innocent of, going so far as trying to attack her!”
“Dammit Twilight!” Sunset cursed, trying to stop the teen from spreading any more secrets. She fought in the prison of Adagio’s grasp, but to no avail. Slowly she calmed down, sighing as she looked down at her knees. “Fine, I’ll tell you three, but only because Twilight seems to trust you three so much.” She brought her head up, eyes on fire as she stared at the head Siren, “Around the middle of December, somebody started a MyStable page with the sole purpose to spread secrets of the students at CHS and to frame me for it. I tried my best to prove my innocence, but no one believed me.”
“Not even…” Aria had moved over to sit beside Sunset, eyes a mystery.
“No one.” Sunset confirmed, lowering her head. “Eventually the students moved past just verbally assaulting me, and some started to physically attack me, the last attack being a knife.” Sunset looked to Twilight, gaining solace from the teens reassuring look. “I tried talking to… Them, one last time, but needless to say it didn’t go well. I walked through the city for a couple hours, before I… y’know.”
She was tackled from behind by Sonata, arms wrapping around her abdomen as she whispered reassurances. Adagio could only watch, hands turning to shaking fists as she watched in grim silence. Aria looked to Twilight, only watching as the teen nodded in confirmation.
“So,” Adagio broke the silence that washed over the group, “They used you to beat us, but not before ridiculing you themselves, then after you saved their sorry asses they toss you aside without a second chance?”
Sunset flinched as Adagio uttered an Equestrian curse, standing up and pacing away. Sonata remained attached to Sunset, her body shaking lightly as she sobbed into the teens shoulder. Aria remained seated, vision trying to penetrate Sunset’s gloomy gaze. Twilight got up and stood before Sunset, bowing deeply.
“Sorry Sunset!” She cried, tears brimming at the edge of her eyes, “I just couldn’t keep it in.” She looked at the two, before trying to find Adagio in the crowd, “I know you don’t like to talk about it, but you can trust these three. I don’t know why, but I just have that gut feeling.” She wrung her hands before running off, stating something about using the bathroom.
The three remained seated in silence, unable to look at one another. It wasn’t long before Adagio returned, taking her seat across from Sunset.
“I want to discuss this,” She started, ignoring Sunset’s flailing mane as her head shook, “But later. First I should probably explain why the three of us wished to meet with you Sunset.” Sunset stared at Adagio, questioning where this was coming from. “You see, we three had hoped to find you and your group of ex-friends. We wanted to thank you all for helping us.”
Sunset was lost in shock at Adagio’s confession. Surely this was a trick, right? But Sunset could tell by the tone of voice, the body language emitted from the Siren, that she was telling the truth. She thanked her years of learning how to use people for her skills in understanding the intentions of others.
“You see, when you three blasted us with your magic you started a process of cleansing.” Aria continued where Adagio left off, “Though I’m certain that you know what we went through, personal experience am I right?” Aria chuckle darkly, “Long story short, there is a perfect human expression to explain our new demeanour.” She made sure Sunset was listening before she went on.
“You are what you eat.”
Sunset froze. That was ridiculous! They were such evil,manipulative beings because they fed off of negative emotions? She almost wanted to tell them about a bridge she could sell them.
“We had spent so long using the negative emotions of Ponies and humans to sustain ourselves well past our natural lives.” Sonata whispered sadly, “That it started to affect us personally. We originally didn’t want to use negative emotions, but before Equestria was founded, there was so little positivity.” She let go of Sunset, allowing the teen to turn around and face Sonata. “So it was a choice, either attempt to live off of negativity or…”
Sunset paused as she watched the bubbly Siren turn her head down.
“Starve to death.” Sunset finished off for the fellow Equestrian. “Well, I can say that I understand your initial motives, and I’m sad that you were driven to that.” She looked around at the three. “While it may take a little while, I think the four of us can come to a good understanding.” She shrugged as she said this, unsure if she was fully ready to go friend hunting again or not,” Maybe we make something out of it, who knows? Just promise me this.” She looked mainly at Adagio, “Please don’t let Twilight hear anything about Equestria. Cussing like that is fine, but don’t give her the idea that other worlds exist.”
The three Sirens nodded, smiling at the opportunity to show their thanks to their saviour. The three returned to their seats, giggling and joking as they told Sunset about Equestrian history that the historians got wrong. They swapped stories for a short while before Twilight returned, the teen refusing to meet Sunset’s eyes. Deciding to take matters in her own hands, she rose up from her seat and approached Twilight, hugging her tightly.
“Don’t fret about it Twilight,” Sunset said, holding the teen in her embrace, “I know you meant no wrong. I still have to get used to the questions that people may ask.” She pulled back, “So don’t worry, come sit and eat with us, I was actually just about to ask them about you.” Sunset winked as she hurried back to their table, the teen following as relief blossomed in her.
“So tell me how you three met Twilight here?” Sunset asked as she took a large bite of her salad, enjoying the fresh crispness of the vegetables.
“Oh! Oh!” Sonata’s hand flew up into the air, “It was actually the day we first transferred here!” Sonata grinned happily.
“Woulda been the start of December,” Aria recalled, her features furrowed, “We come walking around the corner of this long hallway and we hear a bit of a commotion.”
Twilight blushed and stammered, attempting to stop the telling of this embarrassing story, causing Sunset to laugh and egg the sisters on.
“We see Twilight, her back against the lockers as she is getting stared down by three girls who put that big white violin player to shame.” The three Sirens started laughing as Adagio started, “And you would not believe how much of a shock it was to see Twilight over there, three huge and menacing girls looming over her. Talk about major deja vu!”
“Aria wasted no time with running up to the three, getting in between Twilight and them. Half a second later and punches were being flung like, Pow! Wham!” Sonata’s arms flailed about to help with the telling of the story.
“Those three weren’t much of a fight.” Aria shrugged, “More bark than bite.” She chuckled.
“And little Twilight here, well she just couldn’t stop thanking us, offered to repay us for protecting her.” Adagio continued, chuckling from Sonata’s continued antics.
The lunch bell rang, signaling that they had to hurry to their next classes. The five girls walked towards the entrance, depositing food scraps into the garbage, and leaving the trays in a pile on top with others waiting to be washed.
“So, since you said we can get in contact with you,” Sonata said as she reached into her top and pulled out her phone, “What’s your number?”
Sunset paused, before frowning and looking at the ground. “I uh… Kinda don’t have one anymore.” She chuckled as she looked up at her three fellow Equestrians. “It met the heels of my old boots, just outside CHS.”
The three Sirens looked at each other, before nodding and turning to Sunset.
“Well, as the first sign of our gratitude, we shall have to help remedy that situation, now won't we?” Adagio said, gentle smile playing across her features.
“Yeah!” Sonata added, “Thanks to being so evil and mind washing tons of people, we are totally loaded for life!”
“How about we meet at the mall after school?” Aria asked, as oblivious as her sisters were to the looks they were receiving from Sunset and Twilight.
“Whaaaaa…?” Twilight looked on confused, before a smile crossed her face, “Oh Sonata, you’re so silly!” She started laughing, “You almost had me that time.”
Sunset chuckled as well, glad that Twilight didn’t take Sonata’s admission of truth honestly.
“You three really don’t have to do that y’know.”
Adagio reached out and put her hands on Sunset's arms, taking a moment to revel in the firmness she felt, “We insist. Sonata is right, we have more money than we should ever need.”
Sunset glanced at Twilight, who shrugged while stating, “It’s either them, or me and my family. Your choice.”
Sighing herself, Sunset relented. “Fine, we will meet up outside the front doors after school and go to the mall.” She shook her head, “The amount of charity I’ve received is staggering.”
The other four nodded in agreement, and all five said their farewells and hurried to their lockers.
“So when were you going to tell me the truth about them Twilight?” Sunset asked, worried look on her face as the two hurried through the halls.
“Probably never,” she grinned sheepishly, “I didn’t think it was super important.”
“Have you told either Cadence or your parent’s that people were bullying you?” Sunset was getting really worried. Being a former bully herself, she knew it could be hard for the victims to speak out.
“No, and please don’t tell them!” Twilight paused and clapped her hands together as she stared at Sunset, “It’s nothing major, really!”
Sunset sighed, “Fine, since you asked so nicely.” The lavender teens face lit up, “But! If it happens again, you will let me know, and I will take care of it. Capiche?”
After making Twilight swear to it, the two rushed to Twilight’s next class.
Sunset blushed as she stood up, grabbing the whoopie cushion out from under her chair. Several other students burst out laughing, and it wasn’t long till Sunset joined them even as Twilight looked on in distress. Sunset saw Sour Sweet wink at her from the corner of her eye, before turning her gaze forward. Crude, but effective. Sunset thought.
“Now I am sure you are all wondering why I called for an assembly first thing in the morning following the holidays.”
The students of CHS were all crammed into the gymnasium, watching disinterested as Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna stood on stage. Any student that looked hard enough could tell that something was wrong with the two sisters. Their posture was slumped, their appearance haggard and worn. Instead the students were too busy glaring at one another.
Celestia stood up on the stage. The christmas break had not been a pleasant one for her and her sister. After the disastrous meeting at Twilight Velvet’s house where the two had been blasted for both losing their patience with an innocent teen, as well the fact that they didn’t bother to try and narrow down if Anon-A-Miss had actually been Sunset Shimmer or not, the two spent the rest of the vacation uneasy to say the least. Thoughts of the fact that one of their students had tried to commit suicide, due to the negligence of the both of them, it was a shock for them. A slap with the resounding force of a volcanic explosion left them unable to properly sleep.
Any attempts that either of them had tried to make to get in contact with Sunset Shimmer had been stopped by Velvet, Night Light, or even Celestia’s adopted niece, Cadence. They had all made it abundantly clear, the two of them were forbidden from talking with the teen, at least until the new year had been under way for a little while. Cadence even forced Celestia to assist with the transfer of Sunset to Crystal Prep Academy.
Celestia sighed as she looked around. Not even when Sunset was at her prime as queen bitch of the school had it been like this. Unable to take it any longer, she burst.
“Sunset Shimmer is not Anon-A-Miss.”
That sure shut them up.
“Aww, stop trying to cover for her! We all know it’s her!” Cried a student from the middle of the auditorium, various students shouting out their approval.
“If Sunset Shimmer were indeed Anon-A-Miss,” Celestia said quietly, eyes narrowing dangerously, “Then how could she have posted whilst she was in the hospital fighting for her life after she tried to commit suicide?”
If they shut up after Celestia informed them that Sunset wasn’t Anon-A-Miss, then the pall of silence that passed over the crowd would make a morgue seem like a water park in the midst of the summer season.
“If Sunset Shimmer were indeed Anon-A-Miss,” Celestia continued over the din of the whispering of the students, starting to pace along rise of the stage, “Then how come I had to come in on Christmas Eve to help finish paperwork for her transfer out of CHS?”
A certain group of friends, five uniquely coloured individuals, all stared at each other.
“If Sunset Shimmer, the girl who helped save us from the Sirens!” Celestia yelled, fury starting to taint her tone, “If Sunset Shimmer were indeed Anon-A-Miss…” Celestia paused, watching as the students felt the weight of her words start to sink in, “I think I made my point.” She finished by handing the microphone over to her sister.
“Now, We are sure all of you are feeling maybe the slightest bit of guilt.” Luna started, her tone more even, though the students could tell how forced her deadly calm was, “Guilt of how you treated an innocent girl, of how you jumped on a band wagon before starting to bicker with one another. We should all be dissapointed in each other. This was a terrible display of CHS, and her students.” Luna looked around, pausing to catch her breath.
“We are in contact with MyStable, and are currently investigating who is Anon-A-Miss.” Luna’s voice carried through the vast room, “We will find out who it is, and once their punishments are set…” Luna steeled herself for what was to come next, “We are going to set our punishments for all of you.”
The students erupted into a chorus of different colourful words.
“If you disagree with this, just remember that all of you attacked an innocent girl, all because you wanted to be like your peers.” Luna silenced the crowd, having started to yell over them all without the use of the microphone, “Remember that some of you thought that words were not enough, that you decided physical violence was the answer!”
The students all sat down, wondering what was going to happen now.
“We suggest you now head to class, and prepare for what is yet to come.”
Unobserved, three young girls departed the gym first, running through the halls and up the stairs, running until they collapsed into one the girls washrooms and locking the door behind them. Delicate fingers dug a phone from each of the girls dress, unlocking it before opening it’s MyStable account. Simultaneously all three attempted to delete the Anon-A-Miss account, praying that it was enough.
Five girls sat silently around one of the many colourful lunchroom tables, all of them having been repainted by the students of CHS after the resolution of the Battle of the Bands. All five were silent, much like the rest of the students in the hall, all more focused on eating and avoiding eye contact.
Fluttershy had spent the entire morning in the nurse’s office crying uncontrollably, unable to believe how she had treated her friend.
Rainbow Dash was busy jabbing her fork into her hand, the plastic utensil probing her skin gently.
Applejack had her hat pulled over her face, hiding the fact that she was still crying.
Pinkie Pie sat strangely still and quiet, her usual frizzy hair now down and straight.
And Rarity was a mess of puffy eyes and streaking mascara, unable to bring herself to fix the look she spent over an hour preparing this morning for her first day back at school.
No one responded to the athlete, though they all shared her opinion.
“Aaargh!” Rainbow shouted, standing up and grasping her rainbow mane in her hands. “Why the hell did we do that!?”
Rarity looked up at the distraught teen. “I wish I knew why Rainbow…” She sniffled, “I think we all do…”
Pinkie pulled out her phone, delicately unlocking it and looking at the messages she had been sending to Sunset’s phone since she got out of the assembly, begging the teen to answer.
“Is anyone else able to reach Sunset?” She asked, her vibrant voice now a shadow of monotony.
“Ah honestly doubt that she would want to talk with us after what we done did to her.” Came the somber response from Applejack, the teen pulling her hat back slightly.
“What are going to do…?” Whispered Fluttershy, her voice hoarse and croaking as a result of her continuous sobbing.
The farmer reached over and rubbed her arm gently. “Ah wish ah knew, shugahcube.”
“Maybe we can get Celestia and Luna to spill the beans!”
The group all turned and looked at Rainbow Dash, an angry glare of determination on her features.
“We get them to tell us where she is, then we go and track her down!”
“What good would that do dear?” Asked the fashionista, gently patting her ruffled locks back into a somewhat proper shape. “Even if they did tell us…”
“What do we have to lose?” Rainbow said, before starting to stomp off, “If you four aren’t gonna join me, then I guess I’m gonna track her down myself!”
The four other teens rushed to their feet, chasing after Rainbow through the halls, finally catching her in front of Celestia’s office. The five of them looked at each other and nodded, before Rainbow reached a hand out and knocked on the door.
“Come in.” Came the dead tones of the school’s Principal, chilling the teens as they slowly filled in.
Celestia studied the five of them as they stood before her, observing the mess of a state they were each in.
“What do you five want?”
Her tone was curt, shocking the five teens even after her outburst of anger at the morning assembly. Applejack cleared her throat as she stepped forward.
“Ah know it may not be plausible, but we here were wonderin if you could tell us all were Sunset up and transferred ta?”
Celestia stared at the farmer for a moment before she started laughing, a cold empty laugh.
“What makes you think I would do that?” She questioned, a frenzied look in her eyes, “You five may be the worse offenders, tied with the one who actually tried to attack her with a knife!”
The group's collective hearts froze, their beatings still as ice started to flow through their veins, but still Celestia continued.
“I don’t know what you thought of by coming here, but school rules state that in a situation like this I am not allowed to divulge any information.” She sat back, hands resting over her eyes. “I’m not sure that I should wish you luck on finding her, you may only make things worse for her…” She shook softly, “Just like me and Lulu…”
She paused as she looked back up at the teens, icy gaze passing through them.
“I suggest you all head to class, don’t want to be late.” She finished as she spun her chair around, facing the back towards them.
One by one they all left the room, some to class, some to the nurse's’ office, but before they separated they all looked at each other, Rainbow taking charge once more.
The snow slowly passed out of sight as the five teens entered the mall, giggling happily as the warmth of the heaters washed over them. The bus ride had been short thankfully, none of the teens relishing the idea of walking through all this chilly weather to the mall after school. Slowly they unzipped coats and deposited mittens and toques into vacant pockets.
“So where exactly are we going to pick up this thing?” Sunset inquired, hoping to learn what store they were going to visit, so as to start planing on what the cheapest phone she could get was.
“Silly Sun-Shim!” Sonata’s natural singsong voice commented, “We can go to whichever deal you want to!”
Sunset slumped, “I don’t really know much about phones… My old one was a second hand flip phone that CHS got me with a pay as you go plan.”
“Oh! I know just the place for you then!” Twilight spoke up, hand shooting up into the air, “I know the shop owner pretty well and helped her get situated in the mall here!”
Sunset’s eyebrows raised in doubt even as she followed the girl’s lead, deciding to instead focus on talking with the other three Equestrian’s in the group.
“So…” Sunset wrung her hands together, “I know you guys said you wanted to thank me and all, but are you sure this is right?” Sunset looked to the three with worry. “I mean, you three lived off of negative emotions for the longest time right? Won’t you starve?”
Adagio grinned slyly at Sunset’s questions, even reformed she could make you feel like an insect in a spider’s web. “Aw, you do worry!” She chided, the teen paling at the response, “But seriously Sunset, in order to answer your question, let me ask one of my one.” Her voice trailed the last few words enticingly, “When did you get it back?”
Sunset’s jumped back a half step, before jumping back into line with Adagio, the other two Sirens distracting Twilight. “When did I get what back?”
Adagio wore a knowing grin, which soon faded with a roll of her eyes. “How can you be so smart, yet so slow on the uptake,” She chortled at Sunset’s annoyance, “Sorry, no harm meant! But in all seriousness, I’m talking about your magic, silly.” Sunset recoiled as the Siren booped her nose, face furrowing in response.
“W-what are you talking about?” Sunset stuttered, baffled by Adagio’s question, “Adagio, you know first hand what it takes for magic to be in this world!”
“I do, which is why I’m asking you when you got yours back.”
Sunset sighed and thought back, “It was around… Christmas I think? Twilight and her family had taken me in about a week prior-”
“After you were saved from your suicide attempt.”
“Yes, that.” Sunset was not amused that the Siren was interrupting, yet she trucked on regardless, “I finally noticed and accepted everything that the family had done for me, how they showed me kindness, generosity, friend...ship…”
Sunset paused as she looked at Adagio, the stone face of the orange haired woman unmoving.
“Are you trying to tell me that what I have is the magic of friendship?”
Adagio burst out in laughter, doubling over as she did so. Sunset had to make sure the laughing woman didn’t bump into anything while the paired followed after Twilight and the other Sirens.
“No dear, as cliche as that is, the answer is no.” Adagio eventually calmed down, wiping a tear from her eye, “No, you came in contact with a great source of vast magical energy before that, didn’t you?”
Sunset nodded, yes she was visited by Princess Twilight, but what did she have to do with this, and how could Adagio tell? Before Sunset got the chance to ask, Adagio continued,
“Plus you have been making constant use of a device that links this world,a world with a deficiency of magic, with Equestria, a world pretty saturated with it.”
Sunset stared at Adagio, reminiscent of a deer in headlights. Adagio sighed and level a straight look at the teen.
“Magic has slowly been entering this world, and while the normal denizens are unable to notice or use it, you are. But because one, you had been cut off for so long, and two, these human bodies have a hard time metabolizing magic, you are but a fraction of what you would be back in Equestria.
Sunset was sure she heard crickets. How had Adagio been unable to take over the world, yet alone the school?
“And to answer your original question, while you and your… Them… beat us and destroyed out amulets, that doesn’t remove the fact that we are also magical beings from Equestria. Probably as ancient as your solar goddess, though none of us can remember that far back. We are just like you, three Equestrians in a brave new world, struggling to regain use of our native magic.” Adagio pushed the teens jaw up, “But this time, we don’t plan to do evil. Well, mostly at least.” Adagio winked as she rushed up ahead to the other three, who were motioning to Adagio and Sunset to hurry to the elevator.
The generic jingle played over the five as they rode the elevator up to the fifth floor, where all the electronic stores were.
“So I will warn you four that the owner can be a bit…” Twilight hesitated as she searched for the right word, “Unique?” Twilight shook her head, “Look, just don’t treat her any different then you would anyone else, alright?”
The other four agreed as they all departed from the elevator, slowly making their way around the lifts and the surge of people fighting to get in and out of the tiny metal boxes, the cowards. Surely five flights of stairs weren’t that bad? Sunset peered over the railing, observing each lower row of shoppers passing through the mall in the search for deals, or wasting time.
It wasn’t long before the quintet stood before a rather garish looking storefront, native masked made of different colours of lights pulsed in the windows, the doorway covered by beads.
“Everfree Electronics. Points for alliteration.” Sunset muttered as she stood watching as Twilight made her way in, pushing the beads from her way. The four others looked at each other and shrugged, following after their apparent leader.
“Ah, welcome dear Twilight! It is odd to see you at this time of night.”
Sunset’s eyes took a minute to adjust to the different colours of light that flooded the room, washing it in an ethereal glow.
“And I see you bring guests! What are you needing to complete your quests?”
Sunset finally made out a dark brown figure with a large black and white mohawk, obviously the owner Twilight had informed them about.
“Hey!” Sonata whispered, “How much you wanna bet she’s a Zebra back in Equestria?”
“Zecora! Sorry I haven’t been around of late,” Twilight walked up and gave the tall woman a hug, “School had a bunch of studying to get done over the winter break.”
“You do not have to worry about such things, but I am guessing you are here for something that rings?”
“How did she know that!?” Sonata gasped out loud, “Is she a mind reader?”
The tall woman chortled gaily, obviously enjoying the comments from Sonata.
“I would be lying if I said yes, but we have other things that we must address.” She turned to look at Sunset, “Now seeing as your pocket is not bulging, are you the one i should be indulging?”
Sunset stepped forward, nodding. “Yup, I need a new phone, as I have been sans one since before christmas.”
“Ah, my apology! I cannot fathom living without such a handy piece of technology. Now if you would follow me, I shall assist you in finding a device that will fill you with glee.” She started towards one of the back walls. She grabbed a phone off the stand and handed it to the following Sunset. “This one has a sturdy case, it is unlikely to break even if tossed through a vase.”
Sunset looked it over, subtly glancing at the the price tag. “Hm, I think I will pass, thank you though. Would it be find if I asked Twilight and my friends their opinions as well?”
“Worry not, it is best that they are not forgot.” Zecora replied as Sunset beckoned to the other teens.
“What ones catch your eyes girls?” Sunset asked, though she immediately regretted doing so.
“How about this one?” Sonata squee'd, holding up a bright pink flip-phone that looked like a butterfly when it was open.
“A little childish for me Sonata, sorry.” Sonata chuckled as the Siren shrugged, before she proceeded to walk through the store pretending to fly with the phone.
“That girl will never grow up.” Aria said with a chuckle, before showing Sunset her recommendation. “Maybe a smartphone is more your style?”
Sunset remembered this one had a high price tag, and thankfully she was able to let Aria down softly by saying something about it being too large for her hands. Aria shrugged and put it back, but not before showing that it was the right size for her.
“Whatever you pick I can probably modify, so I don’t really have a suggestion.” Twilight said, rather distracted by some of the other gadgets Zecora had on display. That left Adagio, who stood before Sunset, arms crossed under her chest.
“I know you want cheap, but that isn’t going to cut it.” She turned to Zecora, motioning her over. “We will be taking that one.” She said, pointing to the most expensive one, Sunset’s eyes bulging out of her skull at the price tag.
“I see you intend to not twaddle, you have chosen the newest model.” Zecora unlocked the display, before reaching in and pulling out a box, “The only colour that I have is red, unless you would like something else instead?”
“It will be fine, right, Sunny?” Sunset shivered at the absolutely devious grin she received, Adagio was not to be messed with.
“More than.” She replied, putting her best fake smile on.
“Then if you will follow me to the till, I shall ring you up your bill.” She made her way to the front end of the shop, sliding up easily behind the register and scanned the device.
“Now I know likely of Twilight’s different plans, and you shall be glad to know it will result in no bans.”
That number was too high! No way she could make Adagio and her sisters pay for it!
“Is cash okay?” Adagio asked, reaching into her purse and pulling out a large stack of bills.
“Should you wish to pay with cash, there shall be no kind of clash.”
Sunset was being ignored by this point, she slowly slipped down to her knees, before laying on her side and poking at the floor.
“You’ll at least listen to me, won’t you mister tile?”
Sunset held the device in her hands, or at least she thought she did. As soon as it was out of the box Twilight had grabbed it and ran back into the shop.
“I’ll only be a moment!” She called out, as Sunset reached out in dismay.
“I suggest you just let that girl do whatever she needs with your phone.” Aria slapped Sunset playfully across her back, “When she sets her mind to something, I don’t think anybody can slow her down.”
True to her word, Twilight was out barely three minutes later, and handed the phone back.
“I just wanted to install my custom OS, so that way you don’t have to have any security worries, as well I installed my own personalized SiM card for you, so now you will have full bars no matter where you are!”
Sunset stared at the teen, the frenzied look upon her face making her look more crazed than Sunset had ever seen before. She nodded slowly before looking down at the device held gingerly in her hands.
“Thank you…” She muttered, closing her eyes as tears started to drip down cheeks. She felt three separate hands on her own, and looked up to see the three Sirens beaming joyfully at her.
“It’s the least we could do to start paying you back.” Adagio said, her two sisters nodding in affirmation.
“So what’s your number, Sunset?” Twilight asked, her phone out and ready to have another contact added.
“I don’t know, I mean, this is a new phone right? How do I find out?”
Sonata grabbed the device right out of Sunset’s hands. “Simple! She said, rapidly pressing all over the screen, “All you gotta do is go into your options and…” she died off as she peered over at Twilight, who was suddenly grinning. “Maybe she should help you, cause I don’t know what it is she has on here.”
Twilight chuckled as she received the device, coming to stand shoulder to shoulder with Sunset, their backs to the walkway. “Press this, then this, open this tab and voila!” She swept her hand over top of the screen in a dramatic fashion, “You new number is-”
“How did you get my number?” Sunset stared at Twilight, eyes wide.
“I just spelt your last name…” Twilight said dejectedly, wishing she could have made a bigger spectacle of it all.
“Oh she is just so adorable when she gets all pouty!” Adagio called out, the other two Sirens laughing at the reaction from the bespectacled girl.
“Thanks Twilight, it’s a nice gesture, and I really appreciate everything you’ve done.”
The teen pushed her glasses back up her nose as she smiled. “No worries Sunset! Anything to help you move fully past what happened at CHS!”
A meek voice called out, barely audible to the group.
“Is that really… you…?”
Sunset turned slowly, blood freezing as she adjusted her position.
Sunset couldn’t believe her luck.
“Why are you here?” Came an angry voice from behind Sunset, Adagio pushing through Sunset and Twilight and coming to pause between the amber teen and buttercream skinned girl that stood in shock. “Haven’t you and your “friends” done enough?”
Fluttershy started shaking, obviously terrified of seeing the head Siren again, only to be petrified in fear when the other two Sirens joined their leader.
“Fluttershy! We got your message! Did you…”
The other four members appeared, Rainbow Dash was way in the lead waving her phone in the air with one hand while she called out to her friend.
“You!” She cried out, “What are you three doing here!?”
The other Rainbooms finally showed up, unable to believe what they were seeing.
Sunset Shimmer, standing in a Crystal Prep uniform, beside Twilight Sparkle and the Sirens all dressed up the same.
“Didn’t we whoop your silly butts at the Battle of the Bands?” Rainbow sneered, arms crossed before her. “Why don’t you leave Sunset be and crawl back into your filthy little hole you crawled out from!”
“Oh that’s just rich!” Sonata countered, “Weren’t you the girls who used her only to throw her away when it was convenient to you?”
Sunset started backing away, before bumping into the wall and sliding down, arms wrapping around her knees defensively. Sonata’s comment obviously struck the Rainbooms hard, the group all taking a simultaneous step backwards.
“Sunset?” Twilight was kneeling in front of the sitting teen, “C’mon, talk to me.” Her only response was more silent sobs from the amber teen.
“Yeah!” Aria was next up, “Maybe it should be the lot of you that goes crawling back to your cesspool of a school! What kind of people harass an obviously innocent girl so much that she thinks her only option is to kill herself!?”
Rainbow Dash stepped back forward, “Hey! We weren’t the ones who attacked her with knives y’know!” She immediately took that step back however when she heard a slow, loud clapping from behind the two Sirens.
“I’ve got to admit,” Adagio said as her sisters opened up for her, her hands still slowly clapping together as a small crowd started to form around the two groups of teens. “I thought that in all my years on this world that I had seen the worst that your species had to offer.” She stopped abruptly, hands frozen mid clap. “Obviously I was wrong. I had never met you five. See all the other horrible people in history? They usually had some kind of reason to be such horrible, disgusting scum of this planet, but you five?” She laughed darkly.
“You five took the single pony that was willing to stand up to me and my sister’s at our most powerful moment, and turn her away. I bet she begged you to listen to her, to give her a chance to prove herself. Did any of you let her?” Adagio studied the guilty looks of the teens in front of her. “None of you… Really?”
“Hey! We’re only Human ya know!” Rainbow tried to stop the Siren from saying any more.
“Really? That old excuse?” Adagio threw her hands up as she shrugged and shook her great mane, “That’s just some weak excuse to try and allow you to get away with attempted murder.” She watched as all five gasped out, “Don’t believe me? You five abandoned this girl at her most fragile point, driving her to no longer value her Celestia blessed life, and you want to say that that kind of action is natural?”
“I think you five have done enough damage already.” Aria stepped forward, hand clenching onto her sister’s shoulder. “I don’t know why you five would even bother trying to look for Sunset after the stunts you have pulled.”
It was Fluttershy’s turn to step forward, “That’s because she’s our friend!”
The air paused, everyone silent as a small cackle started from the no longer sobbing Sunset. It slowly grew in volume, increasing as the teen stood up and made her way before her former classmates.
Sunset’s voice was different, almost as if she were speaking with two voices.
“You really have the gall to say that you are my friends?” Sunset continued to cackle madly, causing Adagio, Sonata, Aria and Twilight to start to worry, “You want to say that you are my friends, even after you abandoned me? After you had used me and tossed me aside once I was no longer of any value?”
Adagio noticed something, a dark energy was starting to pour off of Sunset, though judging by how no one else was noticing it Adagio was assuming it was magic. She heard Sunset start again, turning back to face the Sirens and Twilight, though her eyes still remained shut, just as they had been when she stood up.
“You see you five did teach me something, even if I was nothing more than a charity case in your mind's.” Adagio froze when she saw one of Sunset’s eyes crack open, the sclera no longer white, instead replaced by a dark black. This was wrong, very, very wrong. She watched in mounting horror as “Sunset” spun around, her arms out wide.
“Sunset…” Adagio said softly, “You need to calm down dear.” Adagio reached out a hand gently, attempting to grasp the teen by the shoulder.
“Calm down?” Sunset paused facing the Siren that had grasped her, both eye’s wide open, revealing that while one sclera had turned black, the other remained white. “After these five lead me along with false promises of the only thing I ever wanted, the promise of family, only to have them abandon me when it suited them?”
“Sunset” pulled away, still staring at Adagio, “No, I shall not calm down! No, I should show these five what happens when you screw over the wrong person!”
And with that she spun to her ex friends, affixing them with a dark, hateful gaze, causing the five to gasp out as they finally noticed her transformed eye, as she stalked slowly towards them.
“Sunset” paused, a look of serenity coming to her face as she turned around.
The lavender teen slowly walked forward, hand outstretched towards her friend.
“Sunset, please…” Twilight begged, tears streaming down her face, “This isn’t you…”
“Sunset” paused, hand reaching for Twilight.
The teen continued to walk forward, slowly grabbing “Sunset”’s hand with her own.
“Yes, Sunset.” She said calmly, “It’s me.”
The sclera of “Sunset”’s transformed eye slowly started to brighten, to pale back to it’s regular white colouration.
“I’m so scared… Twilight…”
Twilight pulled her friend into a soft hug.
“It’s okay, I’m here for you.” She slowly tightened the hug, “Just like my mom, my dad, Cadence and my brother.”
“I’m so alone Twilight… I don’t want to be alone anymore…”
The lavender teen continued to rock Sunset.
“You’re not alone Sunset, look around. You have me, Adagio, Sonata and Aria. You’re not alone. Not anymore, and never again.”
Sunset wrapped her arms around Twilight, openly sobbing.
“That’s exactly what they told me. Right up until they…”
“Hush, Sunset, don’t worry.” Twilight slowly pulled out of the hug, fixing a friendly smile on her face. “C’mon, we should get home.”
Sunset sniffled as she wiped away a tear, nodding slowly and following the other teen away from the Rainbooms and the Sirens.
“Sunset, wait!” Rainbow called out, starting to run towards the departing girl, before she was suddenly rushing to meet the floor with her face.
“No! You are not going to hurt my friend ever again!” Sonata cried, her hand stinging from the fist she put into Rainbow’s gut, using the athlete's moment against herself.
“Rainbow!” Fluttershy called out as she rushed forward to help her friend, the other Rainbooms close behind, “Are you alright?”
The sky blue teen coughed as she attempted to catch her breath.
“Now what did you do that for?” Applejack shouted, rolling up her sleeves.
“Security!” Came a voice from behind, “Stop right there!
Twilight supported Sunset as the two teens walked through the door, straight into the worried face of Twilight Velvet.
“Sunset! What’s wrong?” She grabbed hold of the teen as she started to slide off of her daughter, securing Sunset in a loving hug. “Twilight, I just got off the phone with Filthy Rich, he said that there was some kind of fight involving you and your friends at his mall.” She slowly guided Sunset to the sofa, helping to lay the teen across it, before turning back to her daughter with a worried look.
“Well I don’t know what happened after we left, but things did get a little…. Heated…” Twilight began, looking at the teen on the sofa, “We ran into some students from CHS at the mall, and it seems they were looking for Sunset. They claimed they were her friends.”
Velvet’s brow furrowed at the comment. Sunset may be doing better, but if students that claimed they were her friends were searching for her…
“Adagio and her sister’s stepped forward and started to lecture the five other girls, but not before those five insulted the three of them.” Twilight continued her recollection, “I didn’t hear all that they said since I had ran over to Sunset who had collapsed against a wall and started to cry, but after one particular girl came forward commenting about being Sunset’s friend something changed with Sunset.” The lavender teen shivered as recalled the haunting cackles of her friend.
“Sunset started this hollow cackling, standing up and walking over to her friends, yet never opening her eyes. She was so strange mom!” She looked up at the concerned woman, “She was so… aggressive… it worried me so much! She snapped out of it when I called out to her, but something happened to her! Her eye!” She cried out, recalling the dark abyss, “Her sclera was black mom!”
Twilight rushed over to Sunset as she finally started to sit up. “Sunset…? Are you feeling better?”
Sunset slowly wiped the tears from her eyes, gazing up to her true friend, shaking her head.
“I’m sorry for worrying you Twilight…” She sniffled and coughed, voice cracking from barely restrained sobbing, “I’m sorry that you had to see that.
Twilight grabbed her friend in a deep embrace, squeezing tight. “Don’t you dare apologize Sunset! You do not deserve the stress of having to deal with those people!”
Sunset remained silent in her friends hug, body slowly stilling.
“Thanks, Twilight…” Sunset slowly extracted herself before standing up, “If it’s fine with you two I’d, uh… I’d like to head to bed early.”
She slowly walked up the stairs, leaving the mother and daughter to watch her slow crawl up the stairs.
“Hi there!” Sunset greeted, small smile on her face, “I was wondering if my schedule was done yet?”
The lady sitting behind the counter paused for a moment, eyes scanning over the teen before her. “Your name?” she croaked.
“Just a moment please.” The lady slowly backed her chair up, dismounting it and moving back to a large shelving unit.
“Ah, Sunset Shimmer.” A voice from behind the teen alerted Sunset to the fact that she was not alone here, “Our new transfer student.”
Sunset turned and face the newcomer, studying the woman that stood before her. She was tall and lean, pale grey skin covered by neutral blue dress shirt and dark blue skirt, and carried herself with poise and purpose. A smile covered her face, though Sunset could tell it wasn’t one of kindness.
The stranger held out her hand, “I am Abacus Cinch,” she introduced herself as Sunset took the hand and grasped it firmly, shaking it, “The Principal of Crystal Prep Academy. Cadence told me that you previously studied at CHS before the Christmas break.”
Sunset regarded the woman hesitantly , applying the best fake smile that she could, and nodded. “That’s correct.”
The woman continued her soulless smile as she extracted her hand from Sunset’s grasp, “If I may ask, what made you transfer to our Academy?”
Sunset felt her pulse skip a few beats. This would normally be an innocuous question, just the head of the school introducing themselves to the new student. But this situation is anything but normal! Screamed a voice in the back of Sunset’s hand. Taking a split minute to formulate an answer, Sunset grinned.
“Well I heard that this Academy put a high focus on strong academics, and I wanted to see what level I could push myself too.”
Cinch’s face strayed for just a moment, revealing a small glare to Sunset, and confirming Sunset’s suspicions. This woman was trying to dig up some dirt on herself or CHS, though Sunset wasn’t sure which yet. She thought back to Sour Sweet’s warning the morning prior, though it turned out that student’s wouldn’t be the only ones to try and gain power over her.
“Well from what I heard from Mr. Wave it seems that you should fit in just fine with us.” The woman finished, looking over to the secretary who was watching silently. “Ah, looks like Mrs. Roz has found your schedule. I must say, it is incredibly rare for a student to take so many advanced classes in one go.”
Cinch grabbed the paper from the retreating Mrs. Roz and handing it to Sunset, the teen taking the sheet in both hands.
“Mr. Wave should be happy to still have you in his class.” Cinch folded her arms in front of her, “But I now suggest you hurry along to Homeroom, as it will be starting shortly.
Bowing as she left Sunset rushed to her locker, glad it was so close to her homeroom. She rapidly fiddled with the combination lock, before yanking open the door. A loud pop exploded from inside her locker, followed shortly by an assortment of small, squiggly shapes flying at her face as the door burst open.
“Gah!” Sunset recoiled, hands guarding her face from the flying assailants, “What the heck!?”
“Pffffft,” Sunset looked to her side as Lemon Zest peeked out and did her best to repress a laugh. “Ooooh man! The look on your face just now was priceless!”
Sunset glowered before looking down around her. A bunch of silly looking knit snakes littered the floor around her. She looked back up in time to see Lemon duck back into the room as the bell rung. Racing to grab her binder and to clean up the litter of the floor, Sunset hurried into the room, depositing the little squiggles into the trash as she passed. She took her seat beside the window, wondering where Twilight and Cadence were.
“So,” Aria stood beside Sunset, leaning on her desk, “How you holding up?”
Sunset stared at the Siren, wondering what happened after Twilight had left with her in tow. “I’m holding steady, I guess.” She smiled sadly at the pale fuchsia girl before her, “I heard there was a fight or something?”
Aria grinned and chuckled darkly, “Wasn’t much of one if you ask me.” She sounded sad as she responded to Sunset. “Sonata gave that rainbow haired girl a good palm to the gut as she tried to run after you.”
“Sonata… used violence…?” Sunset was shocked, the bubbly girl seeming unable to do such a deed.
“It wasn’t violence!” She called out from her desk, “She ran into my hand!” Sonata stood up with her hands on her desk. “I didn’t want those CHS goons to hurt you again!”
The classroom fell silent, Sonata looking around confused until she realized what she said.
Adagio face palmed, unable to believe that Sonata was able to blunder up once again. If she were an Equine her Cutie Mark would definitely be something related to messing up accidently.
The students in the class slowly looked to Sunset, the teen valiantly attempting to hide behind her hair. She registered a small tap on her back, slowly turning around to look at Sugarcoat, who had her hand pulled back.
“Is what that airhead blurted out true?” The cold voice tinged with morbid curiosity.
“I really, really, don’t want to talk about it,” She shook her red and yellow locks, “Sorry.”
The pale blue skinned girl pulled back, glancing back at Sour Sweet for some sort of suggestion. The indigo eyed teen shrugged, returning back to flipping through her notes. Sugarcoat sighed and followed the other teens lead, just in time for Twilight and Cadence to walk into the room.
“Sorry that I am late girls,” the dean’s voice slightly subdued, “I hope your first day back went well?”
Everyone around the class slowly nodded, Cadence watching as Aria slowly meandered back to her desk.
“Well since we are all here now, let’s go over the first daily memo of the new year…”
Cadence’s voice slowly died off, Sunset tuning it out as she stared out the window aimlessly. She hadn’t slept well the night before, thanks in part to the situation at the mall. She grimaced as she thought back to it. Why did they keep trying to reach her, she asked as she felt a subdued vibration against her leg. Probably another text from at least one of the Rainboom’s begging for the chance to talk to her.
“That’s because she’s our friend!”
Sunset was unsure what to think about that comment. For some reason, those five still thought of Sunset as their friend. Did they even understand what they did to her? She frowned as she watch snow start to lazily drift down from the clouds above. Did she even care about them anymore? Her phone buzzed again.
“And remember that if you are interested in participating in the Friendship Games this March that you need to get your application forms into me before the end of this month!” Cadence called out over the bell that signaled for the students to head to their first period class.
“Sunset, if you could wait for a minute please.” The teen paused as the Dean called out to her. “I just want to let you know that I am here for you,” the older woman grabbed both of the teens arm carefully, “And if you ever need to talk, I will always, always, make the time for you.”
Sunset nodded as the teacher decoupled from her, before she headed on her way to her first class.
“Welcome back, Prodigy!”
Crasher was incredibly happy to Sunset grace his attendance list this morning.
“I’m glad you decided to stick around.”
Sunset grinned at the out of placeness the teacher had, a nice ease to help placate the most likely still groggy mind of the students. “Glad to have been able to get into the class.” She nodded, “And not just cause I got a hot fudge sundae last time I was here.”
Sunset disregarded the nickname she seemed to have earned from the man, just one of his many quirks she brushed off. She slowly opened up her binder and pulled out the worksheets from the day before. Would these count towards her mark? Maybe the test would too, and it would be a nice start to her scholastic endeavours at her new school.
Once all the students were seated, none of them at all late Sunset noticed, Mr. Wave started talking once more.
“Welcome to day dos of the new year,” he started, leaning once more against the barren wall, “I have been told before that I am hopelessly optimistic, but I hope that you all got the work sheets finished for today?”
A few teens looked less than enthusiastic at the teacher’s probing gaze, causing the man to sigh. “Well it’s not like I gave you a deadline to finish them,” he chuckled, “You all have ten minutes to finish whilst I talk to Sunset here.”
Furious scribbling filled the air as the ocean skinned teacher walked over to Sunset lazily.
“So judging from the fact you aced yesterday’s pop quiz without knowing what was on it, plus the fact you seem to be done both the worksheets and,” he gazed over the sheets, grading them in his mind, “ and it seems that you did the same with these worksheets.” He smiled proudly at the new student, “If I didn’t know better you must have already studied all this stuff before?”
Sunset blushed in response to the teacher’s praise, “Yes, I studied it while I was at another school when I was younger.”
“What kind of school was that!?” Twilight exclaimed, wondering where her friend could have been studying advanced high school level math at a younger age.
“Chill out Sparks,” Crasher interjected, “it doesn’t matter in all honesty, but it does make it easier on me knowing that I don’t have to try and bring her up to scratch.”
Sunset looked down at her desk and twiddled her thumbs, embarrassed at the fact that she was farther along than advanced math in this world. Was she that smart, or was this world that behind?
Sunset stood before a new door, looking at her schedule to confirm she was at the right place.
“Home Ec,” She read off her sheet, “Teacher is…”
Sunset looked over her shoulder to see Sonata waving as she approached.
“Hiya Sun-Shim! Long time no see!”
Sunset winced when she saw the bandages around the other girls waving hand.
“That’s because of me… isn’t it?” She question when Sonata got close, only to have the other playfully slap one of her amber cheeks.
“You are going to loooooove Home Ec!” Sonata said, completely ignoring both Sunset’s question, and the flustered look that she suddenly started wearing, “We do all sorts of fun things! Like making tacos! And learning how to use sewing machines!” The other girl stood there regaling Sunset with all the fun things from Home Ec class, every other one being something about tacos, before Sunset grabbed her by the arm and dragged her into the classroom before the bell could be rung and marking them as tardy.
“Welcome, Ms. Dusk,” Came a cheery voice from right beside the pair as they entered the warm room, split into three parts of kitchen, desks, and sewing tables, “And I am going to hazard a guess that you were the one my husband was talking about? Crashy couldn’t stop raving about a new prodigy in his class.”
A large, heavyset woman stood just beside the door, her pale green skin contrasting with her deep red hair set carefully into a bun.
“Hiya Mrs. Melon!” Sonata greeted the woman with one of her winning smiles, “And you are correct, this is my bestest friend in both worlds I’ve been to, Sunset Shimmer!”
Sunset blushed at the accolades Sonata was spouting, embarrassed at how highly she was thought of. “Nice to meet you Mrs. Melon, I hope I can match your husband’s description of me.” She bowed deeply, the teacher laughing at her display.
“Relax Sunset, no need to be so formal here.” The teacher chuckled, “This class is a lot more laid back than most others offered at this Academy. Now how about you join Sonata and her partner, this way we will have finally filled out all of our trio’s.”
“Right this way, Sun-Shim!” Sonata dragged Sunset towards a large circular table, where a recognizable figure sat, nodding as the two approached.
“Look what the cat dragged in,” Sour Sweet commented as she was joined at the table, “Nice to see we will have an extra pair of hands now.”
Sunset made sure to look down at the chair before she sat down, grinning at the third girl who was whistling innocently. “Hope I can be of some real help here Sour. Though with Sonata here I think I will be mostly standing around.” The two of them giggled as the Siren looked at the two in confusion, before shrugging. Ignorance truly was bliss.
“So…” Sunset stared at Sunny Flare, unamusement pouring off of her, “Your idea of hazing was-”
“To tell you that your shoes were untied, yes.” Sunny made sure not to make a major point of such a pointless tradition. “In all honesty, I think we would be better focused on showing you how much better Crystal Prep is then CHS.”
Adagio rolled her eyes before turning back to her Advanced Social Studies worksheet. She was happy to see that Sunset was in her class, Sonata had been gushing that she got share a class with “Sun-Shim”.
Sunset’s smile froze, followed by the girl sighing. “Look, I don’t know what you think that Sonata said, but don’t worry about it. I just wanted to come to a school that better matches my academic goals.”
Sunny Flare regarded the teen and what she said. “I don’t know what you thought I meant, but Crystal Prep does have better teachers, so I would say that we are indeed better than CHS.”
Sunset facepalmed at the teens reaction. At least she seemed to not care about Sunset’s past at least. Mrs. Lime chose that moment to walk past the group.
“Please refrain from needless chatting and romourmongoring.” She said bitterly, “It is not becoming of the reputation of Crystal Prep.”
The two teens nodded and returned to their work sheets. Sunset studied the questions, most of them seeming to be about different kinds of word views. She chuckled as she thought back to Celestia, the elder Princess sister was always so open, allowing people to enter and leave freely no matter where they were going or coming from. She doubted that Celestia would be so open if she knew what the people of this world were like.
“So how has your first day on your own been?”
Sunset had just seated herself at the same lunch table as the day before, joining Twilight and the three Sirens, and just like the day before her plate consisted of nothing but a meat free salad, and apple, and a bottle of water.
“Pretty good,” Sunset started, taking a bit of the apple and relishing at how crisp and juicy it was, “Nothing too complicated so far thankfully.”
“Seems like Sour was right about the hazing though,” Adagio said as she put down her carton of milk, “At least Sunny Flare did something that wasn’t too aggressive, compared to what Twilight said about Indigo yesterday.”
Sunset looked at the teen beside her who was busy poking her forefingers together and blushing. “You guys don’t want me to have any sort of secrets, do you?”
Aria hiccupped into her can of pop, setting it down to avoid spilling it over her uniform. “I’m pretty sure we will know everything about you Sunset, all the way down to which people you wanna buck.”
Sunset blushed at the dirty comment from the Siren. “Dangit Aria!” Sunset spluttered, playfully through a small crouton at the cackling girl, “Must you be so crass?”
The other two sirens laughed at the embarrassed former unicorn, while Twilight was starting to look more and more like she was part cherry tomato.
“So what other classes do you got coming up Sun-Shim?” Sonata asked as the laughing reduced to periodic giggles.
“Let’s see…” Sunset started digging around in her backpack and pulled out her schedule. “After lunch I have Gym with…” She paused in dread as she saw the name of the teacher in charge of her gym class, “Mister… Sombra…?” She looked at the Sirens with a look of dread.
“Nothing like what you think dear,” Adagio said, “Trust us.”
“Nice!” Aria called out, “Someone other than Indigo that I can team up with!”
“Followed by Advanced English with Ms. Storm, and finishing with Advanced Chemistry with Mr. Vial.”
“That’s a pretty heavy schedule there dear,” Adagio said, worry dipping into her voice, “Are you sure you can handle that much of a workload after everything that has happened of late?”
Sunset nodded, cocky grin coming to her face, “Before I came here I was the top student ever seen at CSGU.” She patted her chest in pride.
“You were a student at Celestia’s school!?” Sonata blurted out, her soft taco falling from her hands.
“Her personal pupil, actually.” She said, looking over to Twilight, “Different Celestia Twilight, don’t think anything of it.”
The five girls finished the rest of their lunches, making sure to keep to light banter for the remainder of the free period, before depositing their trash in the proper receptacles and gathering at the threshold of the great hall.
“Ready to kick some butt?” Aria was obviously excited at having Sunset in the same class as her, shadow punching with Sunset.
“Well, I didn’t know that I was going to have gym, so I don’t have any sort of gym clothes.” She looked down at her uniform, it was definitely not work out attire.
“Oh, they have gym uniforms here, don’t worry about it,” The teen said, guiding her friend towards the proper gymnasium. “Just remember that Sombra always uses the large gym, never the small.” Her tone shifted, “Pity what happened to him back home, eh?”
“I barely know anything, Celestia had very little information on Sombra and his reign, and I only managed to sneak a few snippets before she found me.” one of her hands massaged her right thigh gently, “Couldn’t sit properly for a week after that.”
Aria burst out laughing as they paused before the doors. “First things first let's talk to big, bad, and handsome himself and track you down a gym uniform.”
Sunset paused as she looked down, toes hidden, before looking back up at Aria sheepishly.
“Do you think they have something in my size?”
Sunset crossed over the line, as she finished her last lap, and leaned over steadying herself on her knees. Sweat drenched her face as she panted heavily, attempting to cool down and stop the burning in her lungs. She wasn’t prepared for a 10km run around the gym as the first thing she would be doing after lunch. Sure she had made sure to take good care of herself, actively going to the gym and eating properly, but with winter and Anon-A-Miss she didn’t have the time to keep up her regimen.
“Forty three minutes…” She panted to nobody in particular, “and twenty… seven seconds…” She had made sure to memorize the clock on the the far wall as she crossed the line. She used to be able to do just over forty minutes at her peak.
She walked over the one of the many benches and collapsed into it, thankful for the reprieve. She closed her eyes and listened to the steady steps filling the massive auditorium, beating in time with her thumping heart. Not long after she collapsed on the wooden seat she felt somebody join her.
“Holy… crap… Red…” Indigo joined her fellow moisture ridden competitor on the cool seat, “Are you… some kind… of monster?”
Sunset chuckled between slowly calming breaths. “More like… a daemon.”
“I think… that applies… to both of you…” Aria joined them shortly after Indigo, “Damn Sunset… what are you on…?” Her pigtails were stuck against the sweat stained material of her back.
“Out of shape…” She said, groaning as she stood up, “That’s what i'm on.”
“Bull...Shit…!” Indigo cussed as she stood up, legs screaming in protest. “At least we can get out of class now.” She gingerly made her way towards the girls change room, “Best thing about Mr.Sombra… He frequently lets you out early if you can complete… his insane standards…”
The trio made their way into the cool change room, elating at the chance to take a quick shower.
“Woah…” Aria wolf whistled as Sunset peeled off her top, “Got any tickets to give us, Sunset?”
Sunset paused and stared the the other teen in befuddlement. “What are you talking about?”
“For the gun show, Red!” Indigo had walked up and grasped one of the amber teens firm arms, giving it a playful squeeze. “Look at these things!”
“Ack! Hey!” Sunset flushed as she broke free from the grasp, “At least take me to dinner first!”
Aria appeared out of nowhere, twenty dollar billed held in one hand towards Sunset who eyed it suspiciously.
“What are you doing?” She asked, glaring back at the Siren who offered no response but to shake the bill. “Seriously?” an eyebrow peaked in amazement.
“Aweeesooome!” Aria exalted as Sunset ripped the bill from her hand, before rushing forward to grasp Sunset’s free arm.
“So I figured that taking Advanced English would help me with figuring out lyrics and stuff!”
Lemon Zest seemed to still be talking, Sunset having sat down beside the music lover at the start of class. She came off innocently enough at first, just greeting Sunset and apologizing for the snakes and noise maker in her locker at the start of the day, which Sunset responded was no big deal. Lemon took the lack of aggression as terms to start telling her life story, which caused Sunset to roll her eyes.
“So why are you in this class? The other’s all mention that you’ve been in their advanced classes as well.”
Sunset turned to regard the audiophile with a queer look. Why did she care?
“Cause, I wanted to see if how much I could push myself.” She shrugged. “Nothing fancy really.”
Lemon stared before chuckling somberly, which intrigued Sunset that the girl’s mood could change so suddenly.
“I envy your dedication to being smart…” She muttered, Sunset tilting her head in confusion.
“Pardon me?” What had brought this change about?
“It’s part of the lyrics for the song I’m working on, wanna listen to the bass line?” The teen immediately returned to her loud bubbly self, thrusting her wireless earphones at Sunset just in time for the teacher to walk by.
“Come get them back after class, Lemon.” Ms. Storm said, shaking her head.
“Maaaaan, that is so lame…” Lemon complained, digging around in her pocket before producing a small set of earbuds, “These don’t carry the beats anywhere near as well.”
The last class of the Day was Advanced Chemistry, and Sunset was really excited for it. Back in Canterlot Sunset loved to practice alchemy, mixing the potions using exact measurements was strangely calming to the young filly at the time. And she was looking forward to what sort of formulas she would be mixing the remainder of this year.
“Here’s your periodic table.” Sugarcoat said as Sunsat sat beside the teen, “It’s mandatory to always have one, unless you want Mr. Vial on your case.”
Sunset thanked the teen as she reached out for the offered sheet of paper grabbing it from her. Only to have it slip from her loose grasp and remain firm in Sugarcoat’s.
“Heh,” Sugarcoat smiled slightly, “Never gets old.” She deposited the sheet onto Sunset’s binder. “Oh, don’t give me that look,” Sugarcoat said in response to seeing Sunset’s playful glare, “At least mine was more complex than Sunny Flare’s.”
Sunset chuckled, “True, but that still wasn’t much of a hazing, you know that right?”
Sugarcoat shrugged apathetically, “I agree with Sunny Flare, this whole hazing the new girl thing is kinda silly.” She looked back at Sunset with half lidded eyes, “I’m sure you’ve spent more time trying to ignore the stares that most of the guys are giving you,” the blunt statement causing Sunset to blush slightly, “as well as some of the girls. I don’t think anyone here is even close to you.”
“Welcome class.” A cold voice called out, “I hope you have your worksheets finished and ready for hand in.”
Mr. Vial stalked to the front of the room, pausing in front of Sunset and handing the teen a booklet, and a few loose sheets of paper.
“I want the worksheets handed in tomorrow with today’s work.” He departed without suffering the teen a second look.
“That was better than his average treatment of new students.”
Sunset groaned at Sugarcoat’s comment.
“So how was your first full day?” Velvet called out as she heard the front door open, stepping out of the kitchen with two mugs of hot chocolate. “Sunset…?”
The teen looked absolutely frazzled. “Oh I’m just golden!” She was shaking and her teeth were chattering, though not because of the cold. “Just got four different unit exams by the end of next week, as well as fifteen different worksheets due tomorrow!” She paused and looked at Velvet, “Yup! Everything is just fine!”
The two women sat with a stunned look, trying to process the information that was just imparted onto them, sharing looks of shock with the person sitting across the desk.
“Sorry it took so long to finally come through, but with Cyber Laws still in their infancy it took awhile to work things out with MyStable.”
The man sighed as he sat down, kneeling onto the table.
“I still find it hard to believe that three girls of such a young age would do such a thing.” He looked over the upside down paperwork, “What sort of motive did they have? By all accounts they are three well liked grade nine students.”
“I don’t know…” Celestia was lost at what to say. Of all the possible people, it was hard to say she ever considered them to be Anon-A-Miss. They even posted some of their own secrets after all! Or… maybe they were just fabricated?
“Lulu… what do you think we should do?”
Luna shrugged, “We don’t know what can be done,” She said solemnly, “Mayhaps you can assist us, officer?”
The man looked at the two women, before he shook his head. “Unfortunately there is not much that can be done.” He watched the two women slouch down, “They are all minor’s, are first time offenders, and this is a cyber crime, which would make things incredibly hard to try and get through.” He stood up, regarding the two sisters, “I’m not envious of your positions, but if there is anything I can do, get in touch with the station, they’ll know to patch you through.”
The door shut, leaving the two haggard women alone, contemplating on why these three girls would do such a thing?
Luna had reached out and touched her sister’s shoulder.
“Sister, we need to work this through. This crime cannot go unpunished.”
“Well what do you suggest then, Lulu!?” Celestia yelled, at wits end over the whole thing. Ever since the assembly where they revealed that Sunset Shimmer was innocent, tons of student’s have come forward giving suggestions on who they thought was behind the account. Thing’s may have appeared to quiet down, but in the shadows everything had raised to a fevered pitch.
“What do we do!? They caused the entire school to turn on itself! To turn on Sunset Shimmer and drive her to the point of suicide!”
“Well… what options do we have?” Luna didn’t react to her sister’s lashing out, knowing how far she had been pushed, “Expulsion? But then where would they go? I doubt Cinch would take them and risk tarnishing her precious reputation, and this was their first ever incident.” Celestia had calmed down slightly as she listed to Luna, “I definitely think they should take the course on cyber bullying from the police department.”
Celestia’s mind started to piece together a plan. “Luna, I think I have it.” She stood up and started walking towards her coat, “Something that will hopefully solve everything!”
She dug through her coat, retrieving her cell phone and punching in a number. Slowly it rang, before being picked up on the other end.
“Hello, Cadence? We need to talk.”
“Why did you ask to see us?”
Sweetie Belle looked around the office, Principal Celestia was seated behind her desk with Vice Principal Luna standing just beside. The curtains had been pulled shut, leaving only the lights in the room to attempt to illuminate everything. Around her stood her friends, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom, who also looked confused as to why they had been called down to the office.
Celestia had been studying the three young teens since they entered, trying to deduce as to why they would make the Anon-A-Miss account. What did they stand to gain? She sighed, raising up from behind her hands.
“We know it was you three.”
All three adolescents paused, a worried look starting to appear on each of their faces.
“W-what are you t-talking about?” Scootaloo asked, slowly attempting to back away in fear.
Celestia’s tone was cold and level, freezing the girls in their places. They attempted to look around, but Luna stopped their wandering eyes as she spoke up.
“You may wish to continue to play innocent, but we just finished getting the paperwork not but a half hour ago that linked the MyStable account of Anon-A-Miss to your phones.”
“We didn’t mean for it to go this far!”
“Sweetie Belle!?” Apple Bloom watched in shock as Sweetie rushed forward.
“We just wanted out sisters back!”
Celestia stopped, her mouth open. What did she just say?
“Yeah! Rainbow Dash kept hanging out with Sunset and never had time for me anymore!”
She looked over at Scootaloo, who confirmed Sweetie’s statement.
“You. Were. Jealous!?”
Celestia could swear she felt her hair ignite! Of all the possible reasons, her school had been nearly destroyed by jealousy!? Because their sister’s wanted to spend time with their friend?
“What the actual-”
Celestia felt Luna’s hand clamp across her mouth, causing the woman to glare at her sister, watching as Luna shook her head.
“We want you to know that you are going to be punished severely for you actions.” Luna stated, her voice as chill as ice, “As well, there will be an assembly tomorrow morning, where you three will be presented as the ones behind Anon-A-Miss.”
The three girls had started crying, salty tears running down their young cheeks. Luna knew they felt sorrow at their actions, guilt of what they had caused. But this outpouring of emotion would not change what had happened.
“Yer gonna punish the other students though, aint’cha?”
Celestia turned to Apple Bloom, who was holding onto her sobbing friends.
“They ain’t innocent either.”
“There will be some restrictions placed, that is correct.” Celestia started, only to be cut off by Applejack’s sister.
“No, what I meant to say was, Yer gonna punish the student’s that sent secrets ta us to post, right?”
Celestia sputtered. “What!?”
Sweetie Belle rubbed her eyes, “Apple Bloom is right! We got tons of stuff from all sorts of different students!”
Scootaloo joined in, hoping to help alleviate their as of yet determined punishment, “Yeah! We can show you! Here!” She rummaged around in her pocket, pulling out her phone and opening MyStable. “Thankfully MyStable has an account recovery option, in case something were to happen.” She followed through on the instructions provided, before opening the message tab and showing her phone to the two heads of the school.
“Email accounts are all right there. All of them CHS student accounts too.”
Celestia and Luna looked at each other, then back to the three girls.
What do you mean you want me to meet you at CHS!?
Because, they found out who Anon-A-Miss was, and they are going to have a big assembly to reveal what was found, as well as how they are being punished.
You gonna tell me who it is?
You probably aren’t gonna believe me…
Who. Was. It.
Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo…
Sorry Sunset, just thinking about how those three did something similar over here, though things were never as bad as what you suffered through.
I guess these worlds are more mirrored than we thought~
What time am I supposed to meet you there?
8:30am this world’s time, so 11 hours roughly from now.
Are we going to be talking to anyone?
I really don’t want to. I was promised that I could remain off stage, hidden from site. Heck, the only reason I’m going is because Cadence, Twilight, and Velvet insisted so hard.
I still find it funny that you are living with the me from that world.
Laugh all you want, but I think I know more of your habits then I ever should have.
She’s a total slob when she eats, isn’t she?
That’s just the start… You aren’t gonna come over as a pony again, are you? I don’t want to risk causing a major scene.
Oh, Celestia no! It was enough of a strain when I forced an apparition of myself through the last time!
You mean you didn’t physically come over?
Nope! You see, I’ve been studying the magic of the mirror, trying to find how it ticks! I’ve found out that you can stop the change of form, but only if you can find some way to anchor the aetherial-
Equestrian please. It’s been a long time since I had the joy of studying magic you know.
Sorry! Long story short, I anchored myself over here and forced magic through the portal. Think of it this way. I tied a bungee cable around myself and entered a lake that was blocked off by a dam. I created an opening in the dam to allow the water to suck me through, but only as far as the cable, my anchor, would allow.
So you are why magic is slowly coming back to me and the Sirens then.
Ehehe… I doubt much will come of it! Still, I can’t believe what the stories failed to tell about the Sirens! I feel kinda bad for them in all honesty…
Don’t worry about it, they’d love to talk with you face to face some day. But I gotta go Twilight, gotta be up early to meet you at the portal. Night night!
Sunset yawned as she stepped off the bus, inhaling cold January air and exhaling some of her precious body heat. Whose bright idea was it to have the portal come out somewhere that wasn’t warm and tropical? Shivering, she paused before the building.
Canterlot High School.
The snow hung lazily from it’s frame, great mounds of the white fluffy stuff had been trampled down to the concrete by students coming to and from the building. Standing in front, the vanguard and symbol of the school, stood the portal statue, and just on the other side was where Sunset was supposed to wait.
“Why did they have to make the assembly so early?” the girl complained, arms wrapping around herself as she trudged forward. Probably because they just want to get it over with, she thought, making her way around the statue. She paused as she stood before it, running a hand down it’s chiseled shape. A tear came to her eyes as old memory’s poured forth. Having lunch with the Rainboom’s. Watching Princess Twilight step through and help save them from the Sirens. Her booted foot coming down repeatedly on her own phone…
She shook her head. Now was not the time for the past. It was time to move forward, to close this sorrow and lie filled chapter in her life. This was her rebirth, like a phoenix rising from it’s ashes.
“Philomena…” Sunset thought back to the bird that she had hatched for her entrance exam to Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. She wondered if the bird was still around?
Twilight stepped through the portal and instantly slipped on a patch of ice, causing her to slip forward onto the cold pathway.
“Twilight!” Sunset rushed over to help the Princess up, noticing that the mirror failed to give her proper winter gear. “Let’s get you inside before you catch a cold!”
The pair hurried in, through the pair of doors and into the blessed warmth.
“Glad you could make it, Twilight.” She hugged her friend before helping to brush the snow off her attire. “I doubt I could do this myself.”
“Well what are friends for?” Twilight said, shivering slightly as she assisted in removing loose bits of powder from her clothes. “Brr, sure wish the mirror gave climate matching clothing!”
“I bet!” Sunset was barely better, only thanks to the fact that her Crystal Prep uniform had a blazer, though the skirt allowed cold air to breeze through, and thigh high socks didn’t do much to help keep her body warmth where it was supposed to be.
Pulling off her toque and depositing her mittens into it, Sunset stretched and grunted. “Man, this was too early to be up…” She groaned, “Maybe I should have accepted Velvet’s offer for a ride here.”
“You mean you walked!?” Twilight looked in shock at her partner, “In this weather? Are you crazy!?”
Sunset burst out laughing, “Jeez, calm down, Twily,” Sunset winked as she used the nickname this world’s Shining Armour used on his little sister, “I took the bus, no way I would make it here on time otherwise.”
Twilight blushed as she looked down, shuffling her feet. “Sorry, just…” She trailed off.
“Anxious?” The lavender girl nodded, “Can’t say I’m doing much better. I feel bad just being here… So many bad memories…”
Twilight reached a hand out to comfort the teen, smiling and reassuring her the best she could.
“Ah, Sunset, glad you could make it.” Principal Celestia greeted her guest, her face failing at being a welcoming smile. “And I am guessing this is the other Twilight Sparkle?” She held out her hand to the Princess.
“You may have the same name as her, you may even have the same colour of coat and mane and have a sister just like Luna,” Twilight’s voice dripped with venom and hatred, “But you are not the Celestia I thought you were.”
The Principal’s hand dropped, stunned at the malice radiating from Sunset’s guest. She never thought the girl could be like this, she always seemed so calm when she was saving the school in the past.
“You are negligent and assuming, thinking the worst without bothering to try and find out the truth!” Twilight had stepped away from Sunset, dodging the hand that shot out to pull her back. “You are lucky I haven’t told the real Celestia about what you have done, otherwise you would be dealing with a goddess who could control the sun itself!”
Twilight slowly stepped her way right up until she was face to chest with the doppelganger of her idol, boring through her with a steely gaze. “I will be relocating the portal to Equestria, and Celestia help you if you ever find yourself in dire straights because of some magical problem.”
Twilight stepped past the reeling Principal and down the halls, while a silent Sunset Shimmer stood still, trying to compute what just happened. Celestia turned her head and watched the back of the school’s unexpected visitor, before turning to face Sunset.
Sunset’s legs would not stop jittering, her heels tapping a steady rhythm on the wood of the auditorium stage.
Twilight reached over with a hand, patting the amber teens leg softly, slowing the movement as Sunlight attempted to calm down. Then suddenly it stopped altogether. Twilight observed Sunset’s face icing over as she stared across the stage. Following her friend's gaze, Twilight found out wide. In another world, the three girls would have the nickname of “Cutie Mark Crusaders”. But here, they were just Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle. Or as they had been cherading as weeks, Anon-A-Miss. The one’s who had ruined Sunset’s life.
Behind them stood security officers, two large men and one moderately sized female. Each of them had the professional stance of standing still with their arms in front, one hand grasping the wrist of the other arm. They were obviously here to keep an eye over both the three young teens, as well as the assembly. Twilight shook her head in disappointment as she saw the three of them notice her and Sunset.
“It’s time.” Celestia stood up, walking part way towards the microphone set up in the middle of the stage, “Are you sure you want to stay behind the curtain?”
Sunset nodded, though Twilight stood up and walked towards the head of CHS, causing her to tremble in concern.
“I’m going to be standing there with you.” She stated, refusing to take no for an answer, “I have something that these people deserve to know.”
She looked back at Sunset, grim smile of determination spreading across her delicate features. “Don’t worry Sunset. You can handle this.”
Sunset gulped, her legs starting the motion of bouncing up and down again. This was going to be a long half an hour…
“Welcome students, to another surprise assembly first thing in the morning.” The Principal's voice held no cheer or joy, instead drilling home that this assembly was not to be snuffed off. The students all remained silent, but started whispering when they saw Twilight step out of the curtains to their right. What was she doing here?
“I have been unfortunate enough to be the one that some of you came to, trying to get me to buy into your version of who you thought Anon-A-Miss was after our last assembly.” She paused and looked over the sea of teenagers, noting how some seemed to hide away at her mention, “I am unsure whether I should be glad that you all decided to believe me when I informed you all that Sunset Shimmer was not Anon-A-Miss, or sickened that you all decided to start pointing fingers at one another again.”
Luna grabbed the offered mic from her sister, bringing it up to her thinly drawn mouth. “You are all about to learn who the real Anon-A-Miss is.” The assembled teens all started to watch the stage in morbid curiosity, who could it have been? “But first, We must inform you of a few things. We have been in contact with CPD since the end of December, reaching out to MyStable to help with our investigation into these heinous crimes. The cyber police of CPD helped immensely in the search for the perpetrator behind these spite sharings of personal secrets.” Luna slowly walked over and pulled down a massive projection screen, before reaching into her pocket and pulling out a small remote. “We are now going to show you who is behind the spreading off all of your secrets, and We think you should all prepare yourselves.”
With that the lights dimmed, a projector from the roof spit out a small beam of light that spread out across the screen, illuminating it but revealing nothing. Suddenly, letters began to appear.
The assembled teens looked around in confusion, what was this?
“You see,” Luna stepped back out in front of the screen, addressing the befuddled mass, “All of you are guilty of being Anon-A-Miss.”
Cries of shock and outrage tore through the students like a wave. What was Luna talking about? They weren’t Anon-A-Miss!
“During our investigation, we gained access to the Anon-A-Miss MyStables account, and thanks to the parent company of MyStables, we gained access to any messages sent, and most importantly, received during the accounts lifespan.”
Large amounts of teenagers suddenly sat down, their vitriol replaced with consternation. This wasn’t what was supposed to happen!
“We prepared a slide show, to help list out those of you who submitted secrets to the Anon-A-Miss page. But before we begin We highly suggest you all remember, you are all guilty here and any actions taken against fellow students shall result in immediate suspension, if not expulsion.”
Everyone present went silent as name’s started to scroll down. Very few were not named, people looking at those who were supposed to be their closest friends with looks of utter spite. Students soon learned, everyone had been a part of this. They were all to blame.
“I hope you all are happy.”
A voice called out over the crowd.
“I thought you all better than this.” Twilight had managed to take the mic for addressing of the gathered mass. “I thought that I could trust you all to be better people, to nourish the friendships that I saved when I first arrived.” She slowly turned to look over the crowd. “I had help, I will not deny that, though seeing as they are involved in your disgusting display of petty animosity, I doubt that I will bother to remember them. Instead, I will remember this school, full of sad, hateful people. People who would rather hate, than understand. People who would rather cause pain, than make friends.” Twilight felt tears start, but brushed them away with her free hand.
“People who would first verbally then physically assault a girl for no other reason than they were too lazy to care. You all should be guilty of attempted murder, for causing Sunset Shimmer to try and commit suicide. You all should never be forgiven for not only driving her away from this school, but causing her life to become a living hell, wondering which student would be the next to pull a knife out on her.”
“I cannot verbally express how disappointed I am in all of you, students and teachers. You all let yourselves be consumed by the lies and the hatred. She saved your lives for bucks sake! How could she be the one who was spreading secrets? How did you still not trust her? Do you all lack common sense? Was her begging on her knees not enough to convince any of you that maybe she was innocent?”
Twilight paused to catch her breath, panting heavily from her burst of anger. She drew a grim frown, “I am going to pass this mic back to Celestia, and she is going to talk to you for a little bit. You should all be prostrating yourselves before her for how lightly she is going to punish you. If this were Equestria…?” She trailed off, “You’d all be going to Hell.” She walked off and deposited the mic into the shaking hand of Celestia, not bothering to pass her even the minutest of glances.
“Now, while you are almost all indeed guilty of assisting Anon-A-Miss in destroying this school worse than Sunset Shimmer ever did, you were not the ones to start the account.” She motioned to her right, causing three small figures to come out of stage right. “These three here are the ones responsible for starting the account. They are the ones who took in your messages and reposted them. I want them to introduce themselves to you.” She said as she handed the mic to the first one.
“My name is Apple Bloom, and I am Anon-A-Miss.”
“My name is Scootaloo, and I am Anon-A-Miss.”
“My name *hic* is Sweetie Belle and…” Sweetie Belle started sobbing loudly, crying out, “I am so sorry Sunset!” She looked over towards the far side of the stage, right into the eyes of the innocent young woman. “We never meant for any of this to happen, we swear! We only wanted our sisters back!”
The Rainboom had sat in the front row, their eyes either full of tears or looking down in utter shame. They had failed Twilight. They had failed Sunset. And now? Now their kin had been outed as Anon-A-Miss. Scootaloo had looked down at Rainbow, her teary eyes begging her idol to look at her, while Apple Bloom couldn’t even look at the disappointment on Applejack's face. Rarity held her face in her hands as her shoulder wrenched in sorrow, Fluttershy reaching out and rubbing them even as her own eyes leaked down her cheeks.
“We were so jealous that you were getting so much time to spend with them! We were feeling ignored, so we made the account to break you apart! But we never meant to *hic* drive you to… *hic* Oh god…” Sweetie collapsed onto the cold, uncaring wood of the stage, slamming her fist against the wood and cursing what she had done.
A deep voice reverberated through the auditorium, freezing everybody as it’s split tones wormed into their heads.
“You ruined my life!”
Someone stalked from the house right side of the stage, eye’s literally ablaze with hatred.
“You made me nearly kill myself!”
The students all gasped as Sunset Shimmer, clad in the uniform of Crystal Prep, moved across the stage.
“All because you were jealous!”
Everybody froze, noticing what was wrong with Sunset. Twilight rushed forward to confront the teen, horror stricken face calling out the teens name.
“I saved your lives from the Sirens! I donated my time and what little money I had, to try and repent for my actions. Yes! I was a bitch! Yes, I was a bully! But I had limits! Line that I refused to cross even if it meant it made me harder to control all you pathetic little vermin! But you… You three crossed over those lines! And you did it because you were JEALOUS!?”
Sunset batted away Twilight, send a shock of terror through the student’s. The Rainboom’s were on their feet in a flash, rushing up to the stage to protect the girls from Sunset. The memories of the event at the mall just nights prior fresh in their minds.
“You ungrateful little swine! I should show you what proper punishment is!”
Sunset turned her eyes, both stained black with slitted pupils dividing aquamarine iris’, her fury now turned on the five standing before her. The five people who had at one time meant the world to her. They were her world. They had been all that she had. And they betrayed her!
“What are you doing here?” she bellowed, malice threatening to burn through the stage around her, “Are you here to betray me again!? To lie and manipulate me, only to toss me away after I’m not longer of any use!?”
“Sunset please, this isn’t you!” Rarity was doing her best to walk towards the girl, her mind yelling and screaming to run away from the Daemon before her, hand outreached in a sign of peace.
“You all created me! If you had actually been honest to Twilight, told her that not a single one of you gave a flying FUCK about me, then maybe we wouldn’t be here right now! Maybe I wouldn’t be regretting not killing myself after you attacked me at the Sweet Shoppe!”
While Sunset was focused on Rarity, Applejack and Rainbow Dash rushed over to stand between their sisters and their aggressor. The one who had once stood shoulder to shoulder with them against the Sirens. Who had save the band from infighting to help save the school.
“And what about you five huh? Some Elements of Harmony you all turned out to be, am I right!?” She stuck an accusing finger out at the five friends, “Equestria should be embarrassed that you five were the ones chosen to be the representatives on this world of the single greatest power imaginable!”
Sunset spun around to look at Applejack, molten abhorrence dripping from her piercing glare. “You were supposed to be Honesty! You’re never supposed to lie, so how come you kept telling me I was your friend? That I was FAMILY!? How could you be Honesty when you can lie so easily to another person Applejack!?”
“And Rainbow Dash!” her detestation turning its teeth to the athlete, “Loyalty, a strong feeling of support or allegiance. Yet you were the first to turn on me? How could you turn your back and betray me? Wasn’t I supposed to be your “Friend”? Or was that line as forced as your fake smiles!?”
Soft sobs came from Sunset’s left, Fluttershy had slid to the ground as she watch what had become of her friend.
“Rarity the lay-dee,” hostility evident on the extending of the fashionista’s preferred title, “The Element of Generosity. You sure couldn’t be spared a FUCKING TEAR WHEN I WAS ON MY KNEES! You couldn’t even spare a moment to allow me to try and prove I was innocent! You have given the time to complete strangers and absolved them even when they are at fault! So why couldn’t I get any kind of consideration?”
The tone was shifting as Sunset moved to the normally pink ball of cheer that was Pinkie Pie. Ever since the assembly at the start of the week her colours and hair had been lifeless. Grey and flat, just like her mood.
“I bet the only Laughter you spread was behind my back Pinkie Pie! Never bothering to try and cheer me up when I was at my lowest point.” The being that was Sunset started to sniffle, tears blossoming forth at the edge of her eyes. “You said I was a secret stealer, that I had more or less been playing you all to get close and learn your secrets… Guess I didn’t learn the biggest secret that you all hated me, huh…?”
Fluttershy had been reduced to a small pink blob as Sunset turned to her, kneeling down as she faced the animal lover.
“I've seen you show more Kindness to people who would use you Fluttershy…” Tears were actively streaming down the amber teen’s face at this point, her voice cracking from trying to not break into pathetic sobbing. “Was I not *sob* worthy? Could I not be shown just a single small act of Kindness?”
Everyone present remained silent as they watched the girl in front of them sob quietly, her arms constantly wiping away tears onto her sleeves.
“I don’t want to feel this anger anymore… This hatred!” She looked around at all those gathered, some starting to stand as they cried tears of regret, “I had to live so many years filled with nothing but hatred and spite… And look where that bucking got me!? Tossed away by those I tried to save! Assaulted by those that I tried to show repentance towards! *Sob* Why do I have to suffer at the hands of those around me?”
Slowly, Sunset felt a pair of arms wrap around her, hugging her in a caring embrace.
“I’m so sorry Sunset…” Twilight whispered, “I am so sorry that I caused you to have to experience all of this…” She slowly unwrapped herself from the former apprentice to Celestia, standing up and offering her hand. “Let’s get out of here. They don’t deserve the chance to fail at apologizing.”
Slowly, shakily, Sunset got up, assisted by Princess Twilight Sparkle the whole way. The two departed stoically down the stairs, ignoring any one who was foolish enough to reach out towards them, those who did not watch as Twilight looked down upon them all with derision.
“Sunset!” A voice called from the stage, a sky blue girl with rainbow hair running to the edge, “We will make this better! We promise!”
Twilight paused, grabbing hold of Sunset as the girl started to break down again.
“No, you won’t,” Twilight shouted, turning around and staring at the sports girl, “In fact, you five will no longer have access to the Elements of Harmony! Nor the Magic of Friendship! You have proven that you are not worthy of such honours! With you all as my witness I vow this! With my power as the Princess of Friendship, one of four Princesses of Equestria, I revoke your privileges! The portal in the statue shall be no more! Moved to somewhere that will hopefully better understand the meaning of Friendship!”
She turned around, not bothering to look back as she departed with her sobbing friend, “I pity you all should some other magical being find this school.”
Slowly the doors creaked open, the threshold allowing two friends from another world to leave the assembly hall, leaving hundreds of people to watch as the girl they destroyed and her closest friend left their lives.
“So when were you going to tell me that your corruption had started resurfacing?”
The two friends sat in Sunset’s room, the teen having been unable to muster the composure to go to school, one amber skinned girl, and one purple coated alicorn.
“This is only the second time it has happened…” Sunset whispered, one of her sclera still reverting to white. “The first time was at the mall when those five found me…”
“The fight at the Crystal Empire, yes. So it has only been resurfacing the last couple days then, and only so far only while they are nearby.” Twilight attempted to comfort the teen with her wings, but they passed right through Sunset’s body, leaving an electrical tingle as the passed.
“I guess so…” Sunset’s eyelids were massively swollen from the the immense shedding of tears she had been doing the whole time they headed to her home.
“The only thing I can suggest is to avoid them until you can make time to come to Equestria to allow me to check you over…” Twilight said quietly, “I am so deeply sorry Sunset… I wish I had been able to help you more with this…”
“They wouldn’t have listened anyways Twilight… They probably would have thought I was tricking you into believing me…”
Twilight was having a hard time not sobbing herself. Her friend had been through so much, more than any one pony or person should have to experience.
“I’ll be here Sunset… Just like the other Twilight and her family… Even the Sirens I bet. You do have good friends, just allow them into your heart.”
“But what if they aren’t any different Twilight?” Sunset stared through the projection of her friend, “What if they are just trying to use me as well…?”
“Well from what you have told me, they are showing good signs that they do care about you. I’m not saying that it’s not a risk, but sometimes you gotta jump out of a chariot without a flight spell and trust in others.”
Sunset chuckled slightly, “Your grasp of analogies sucks, Twilight…”
“At least they can make you smile…”
“Could you do me a favour next time you see Celestia?”
The weekend was coming to a close for Sunset, the teen not leaving the safety of her home for the entirety. She was slowly recovering from yet another tumble back down her climb to recovery, the assembly from the prior week shaking her fragile psyche. Velvet had spent the weekend letting Sunset know how proud she was of the teen, the mother making sure to never stray too far away. Night Light had brought some drafts of old applications for the University of Canterlot, insisting that he could help the teen gain admittance, as well as a bevy of grants to study, causing the teen tear up at yet another show of compassion from the family that had already done so much for her.
The Siren’s had stopped over to check on her, surprising Velvet by their sudden appearance. They arrived while Twilight was out walking Spike, and the mother had thought her daughter had came back early.
Sonata had grabbed the perceived gift from the grey hands of Velvet, quaffing it down without restraint as the woman looked over the three.
“Sonata!” Aria chastised as the bubbly Siren finished off the hot drink, “I have a feeling that wasn’t for you.”
Sonata looked down at the mug, observing Twilight’s name written over it, and then looked up to the mother. “Err… Sorry?” She gave the most adorable looking apology that had ever been seen by the mother, and that was considering every look of the same breed she had ever received from Twilight.
“Don’t worry about it,” she chuckled, “Come in you three! Twilight didn’t inform me that you three were coming by.” She grabbed their coats from them and hung them up, mittens and toques secured within safely. “Not that I’m complaining! That girl of my mine has improved wonders since you three came into her life, loathe as she is to admit it.” The playful grin on Velvet’s face caused the three girls to giggle in amusement.
“Truth be told Mrs. Velvet,” Adagio stepped forward, “Twilight doesn’t know that we were coming over.” She smiled as disarmingly as possible, they were so close to their intended target, “We are actually here to see Sunset.”
The matriarch paused in place, worried smile crossing her face, before she nodded solemnly. “She did the right thing going to that school, as much as it hurt her.” She sighed and looked up the stairway beside her, “She’s up there, second door on the right.” She looked back down to the visitors, “Would you all like something to drink?”
Adagio shook her head softly, “We will let you know if we do, thank you.” She turned around and headed to the stairs whilst dragging Sonata away from the prospect of free food, much to the aqua girls dismay. The trio eventually stood before their target’s room, the girls name plate hanging slightly off skew.
“Well?” Aria said after a moment, “We gonna do this?”
“She’s hurting!” Sonata whispered loudly, “We gotsa help her!”
“Shh!” Adagio silenced the bickering underlings, glaring at them, “Would you two quiet down? She’s going to hear us at this rate!”
“Maybe she already has.”
The unenergetic voice of Sunset Shimmer matched the worn out appearance of the former unicorn, the matted locks of crimson and gold blended together to create a display of orange reminiscent of her name. The bags under her eyes spoke of multiple night’s lacking sleep, her ocean coloured irises dull and lifeless. Her normally vibrant skin had become muted, somehow paling after only two days in her room. The nightwear she wore completed her look, worn and wrinkled, the hem of her top peeking through one of the leg holes of her rather lacy panties.
“Hello you three,” She nodded slowly, “How are you doing?”
Sonata gasped as she lunged forward and embraced the teen, squeezing her tight.
“You look like shit, Flex.” Aria said in a bluntness that would have made Rainbow Dash proud, her arms crossed before her as she continued to study the young woman.
“Seriously?” Adagio hissed, “Do you not understand anything about the word ‘subtlety’?” She had nearly reached over and slapped her pigtail sporting sister, though the laughter that came from the girl wrapped stopped all three of them in surprise.
“Don’t worry about it Adagio,” Sunset said with a single tear of happiness running down her cheek, “She means well, and she is right.” Sunset pulled away from Sonata, “I haven’t had a proper shower in a couple days.” She made a disgusted looking face as she held her hands up, wrists bent down, “One of the things I miss about back home, everything was easier with magic.”
The Sirens nodded in agreement. Being creatures so at home in water, they were used to always being more or less clean, so it came to a shock when they arrived in the ancient history of this world and had to start worrying about smell. Not that anyone seemed to mind depending on the century.
“How about I got take a quick shower, and meet you three downstairs?” She walked past them and grabbed a towel out of the linen closet, “I’m sure Velvet would appreciate me not stinking up the place.”
The three Equestrians made their way down the stairs, coming to rest in the kitchen as they heard the shower above them start.
“I hope she switches to wearing a tank top,” Aria whispered in a crass tone, “That girl has some serious pipes.”
Sunset hummed as she got dressed, relishing the cleansing feeling she got from the shower, all the sweat and grime being blasted away by blessed heat. She dug around and grabbed lazily at clean clothes before selecting a short sleeved baby tee and a pair of men’s swimming trunks. She never understood why she liked the style of them, the loose bagginess oddly appealing to her. Shrugging as she pulled them up, she made sure to grab a headband from her atop her dresser, pulling her hair through and leaving it as a long ponytail.
She made her way down the steps, picking up on laughter echoing from down in the basement. She paused in the kitchen, stopped by Velvet who handed the teen a mug of hot chocolate.
“Isn’t that more fitting for summer wear?” She had an eyebrow raised playfully, swatting the teens arm.
“Well, I haven't done laundry yet, sooo…” Sunset looked down at the mug in her hands, suddenly very interested in the little air bubbles along the rim of the cup.
“Just admit that you are lazy, stop being in denial.” Sunset let out a cute meep as she felt Velvet lay a quick swat across her backside, “Now get down there, they’ve waited for you long enough!”
Blushing deeply, Sunset rushed down the stairs. There was definitely more to the woman than met the eye, something that tickled the back of her mind. Though not as much tickling as what was occurring on the sofa in the basement. The Sirens had poor Twilight Sparkle stretched across the sofa, Aria sitting on the teens legs as she ran her fingers along Twilight’s sides relentlessly, while Sonata sat on the teens arms and dug her fingers into the underside of the teens delicate shoulders.
“Hahaha - Stop! Plea-ea-ease! Hehehe!” The teen cried out, her face more akin to the red of Sunset’s mane than her standard lavender tones, “I-I-I can’t - Bwahahaha! - take it!”
At just that time, Adagio arose from the teens feet, a smile more devious than Sunset had ever witnessed during the Battle of the Bands spread across her face.
“Oh, I don’t think so…” she intoned breathily, a careful amount of seduction dripping from her honeyed words, “I think you need to be punished for worrying us so much, darling.”
“Jeez you three, you should be doing this sort of intimacy in her room, not in a public place.”
Sunset’s arrival had distracted her fellow Equestrians long enough for Twilight to wrestle herself free, attempting to run over to her saviour in a blind haze. Sonata had been wearing the girl’s glasses on her head as some sort of prize, but handed them over when Sunset held her hand out. Twilight was just about to grab the glasses from Sunset, when suddenly the amber teen’s arm shot straight up, holding the glasses above the much shorter teen’s flailing hands.
“Not you too!” Twilight half wailed half laughed, arm unable to reach her much needed glasses. “Please, Sunset, give them to me!”
Sunset relented and lowered her arm, just barely within reach of her friend though, chuckling as Twilight stuck her tongue out at her. The Sirens had been killing themselves laughing at Sunset’s action, caught as out of sorts as the now glasses wearing teen herself. Sunset was starting to worry that they weren’t breathing, unable to tell if at least two of them were starting to go blue in the face.
“Alright ya dang hyenas!” Twilight lashed out with playful jabs of her slippered feet, “You were supposed to help me pick out a movie to watch!”
“But all you suggested were documentaries! Those are so boring!” Sonata complained, “I wanna see something silly!”
“I’d rather watch something with a little action,” Aria said, “Maybe some guns to rival Sunset here, if ya know what I mean.”
Sunset giggled at Aria’s little obsession with how fit the unicorn was. Maybe she should look into a gym membership again, maybe go with the purple Siren?
“I do not understand how I have put up with you two for so long,” Adagio was massaging the bridge of her nose, “I cannot understand why you two wouldn’t want to see something will a little class. Something classical?”
“Not everybody was a well known actor back then Dagi!” Sonata said, staring at the leader of the pack, “Some of us prefered to make drawings!”
“Um… What is Sonata talking about?”
Twilight was watching the little debacle and rotating through a small circus of emotions before settling on curiosity.
“Well, you see Twilight,” Adagio strode closer with a calm look on her face, twirling a strand of curly hair around her forefinger, “Sonata, Aria, Sunset, and I are all beings from another world filled with magic and talking equines and long before Sunset’s great-great-great-great grandparents were even thought about me and my sister’s were banished to this world, and we have been globetrotting since the start of all recorded history.”
Adagio finished with a small smile on her face, watching as the other girl’s brain melted.
“Uh, Adagio… Was that wise?” Sunset asked, but got her answer when Twilight started belting out laughter that felt like it shook the entire room.
“Oh jeez,” Twilight was a sniffling mess, eyes blurry from the tears streaming down her cheeks, “You almost had me there Adagio.” She wiped away at her eyes, “Hehe, another world full of magical talking ponies! Where did you come up with that?”
Adagio merely gave a small, knowing shrug, winking at Sunset when Twilight was preoccupied.
“Well how about we go to the cinema in the mall?”
Sunset stared apprehensively at Sonata, not eager to return again so soon.
“Really? After everything that has happened there? What about Sunset you nincompoop!” Aria locked Sonata under her arm, delivering a blistering noogy to the wiggling girl.
“Eh, I can’t let the past chain me down.” Sunset shrug, “We surely couldn’t run into a group of people we already know again, right?”
Whoever Murphy was, they needed to be shot before they was born.
“Heya Red! Fancy meeting you here!”
Indigo Zap, Lemon Zest, Sour Sweet, Sugarcoat, and Sunny Flare all stood before Sunset and her group.
“Wow! Small world!” Sonata responded chipperly as usual, waving at her fellow students, “What were the chances?”
“About one in one…” Sunset slowly wiped her hand down her face as she whispered to herself. “Hey Indigo, girls,” she nodded at her classmates, “What are you all here for?”
“Well, we were all bored and had finished all of our assignments, so we got in touch with one another and decided to meet here at the mall.” Sour Sweet started, before her tone turned cold, “What are you doing here? Especially after you skipped school on Friday?”
Aria took a step forward, “What does it matter? She’s here with us just so ya know!”
“Aria, sit.” Adagio said as she stepped forward, “Look, Sour, I get that you like to act just like your name, but really? Can’t you just drop the act for one day? We are all here to watch a movie, so what do you say we all decide on one together, and I’ll buy us all snacks, deal?”
The two groups looked inward, free treats? How could they say no!
“Deal!” Lemon Zest shouted before spinning around, “Okay, so! We got all these choices here,” her arm panned dramatically in front of her, “We just need to narrow it down to one choice, and all the gummy worms I can eat will be mine!”
The two groups departed from the theater, apathetically disrupting fellow mall shoppers with their gut busting laughing.
“Oh man!” Indigo said, wheezing as she bent over double, “And-and that part! Where he!” She burst into fresh laughter, just like all the other teens who crowded around outside the entrance.
Even the normally cold Sugarcoat and stoic Sunny Flare had tears of enjoyment rolling down their faces.
“Well what about,” Sunset could barely stop laughing long enough to start her sentence, “What about when whats-her-tits reached down into that tiny little thong of her’s,” She had to pause as her raucous laughter echoed through the air, “And pulled -hahaha!- pulled out…” She was unable to finish her train of thought, all the girls hammering on their thighs as they tried to stop laughing.
“Seriously Sonata,” Twilight said, attempting to wipe the tears from her eyes, “You seriously know your movies!”
Slowly the two groups calmed down, small fits of giggling still pulsing through them occasionally. At least until Adagio’s stomach growled in hunger, causing all of them present to burst into laughter once again save Adagio.
“How about we all go get something to eat?” Adagio said, pausing before including, “Dutch treat though! Lemon and her obsession with gummy worms…” The mentioned teen only smiled sillily, all the girls starting to head towards the escalators down to the floor housing the food court.
“So what are all you girls thinking of getting?” Aria asked as the escalator started it’s slow crawl down, not struggling in the slightest even as ten teenage girls packed in all at once.
“Oh! I am totally hitting Taco Taco!” Sonata burst out, “I need to get my fill before Tuesday!” It seemed even Crystal Prep had the tradition of “Taco Tuesday”, much to the undefinable joy of the pale Siren.
“I swear to god Sonata, if you get another one of those ‘Super Bean and Cheese Soft Tacos’ again, you will be walking home!” Adagio said shrilly, still remember the mess Sonata had made of her car the last time. “I think I will be getting something from that little Neighponese outlet.” She licked her lips, reminiscing. “Their Sushi is to die for!”
“You and your raw fish! Even before all this happened you always had your strange fish fetish!” Aria commented, her face a mix of disgust and dissapointment, “What I need is a nice, big, juicy “Freedom Steak” in my belly from that 40’s era place.”
“Well I demand a sandwich!” Lemon yelled excitedly.
“I think you missed what kind of one dearie.” Sunny Flare snarked in reply.
“PB&J!” Lemon said, as if the answer was obvious, “What else?”
Sugarcoat sighed, “I am surrounded by morons…”
“Well what do you want then, smartypants?” Lemon stuck out her tongue at her friend.
“Something diet I bet!” Indigo threw a playful punch at the white haired teen, Sugarcoat not reacting or responding to the girl.
“Well I’m getting a sub, I need something nice and spicy!” Indigo rubbed her belly as she stated her decision.
“A ‘Blue Wendal’s’ hot dog for me.” Twilight said, her shyness starting to kick in as she realized how many people were around her.
“I would prefer something nice, like a full course Prench meal,” Sunny said as she sighed forlornly, “But I suppose a frozen yogurt will have to suffice.”
Slowly all nine other girls turned around and stared at Sunset, their eyes telling her to spill her food choice.
“Well?” Indigo said, “You gonna tell us or what?”
Sunset chuckled abashedly, “Well, I’ve only been to this mall twice before, and have only ever gotten a small drink from “Blue Wendal’s” before, but I don’t think they offer vegetarian options.”
“Wait!” Indigo blurted out, shocked at what she just heard, “Your a vegan?”
“Vegetarian.” Sunny Flare responded succinctly.
“Six one, half dozen the other.” Indigo shrugged flippantly.
“They are actually different,” Sunset said, “But yes, I am a vegetarian.”
“Then how did you get those pythons?” Aria asked incredulously, “I thought you said you weren't an Earth?”
“Proper exercise, not skipping over specific types of vegi’s cause they might not be some kind of silly organic thing, and small amounts of supplements.” Sunset had run through this all before, and did it quickly to make people ignore the ending of Aria’s sentence. “I may never get bodybuilder big, but I’d say I’ve done well.”
Everyone stopped and watched as Aria dug around in her pocket, before pulling out her wallet and fishing around in it, withdrawing a twenty dollar bill and handing it to Sunset. Everyone else, save for Sunset herself and Indigo, gave Aria many confused looks as they tried to figure out what was going on.
“I’m paying for my tickets to the gun show ya hippies!” Aria snapped, before a giddy smile came to her face as Sunset grabbed the offered bill and stashed it in her pockets, proceeding to strip off her jacket and hoodie to reveal the tank top she wore.
“Aweeesooome!” the purple Siren exalted, stepping forward and firmly grasping one of Sunset’s offered arms.
So far, none of her teachers were the least bit perturbed by her missing school Friday. They both mentioned that Cadence had informed them that she was unable to make it due to personal issues. She made a mental note to thank Cadence for covering for her.
She continued the long trek around all the lunch tables full of Crystal Prep students eagerly digging into their academy provided lunches, some taking the time to take silly pictures to post onto some sort of picture sharing website. Sunset shook her head, wondering why people tried to make something big out of food that they were about to ingest.
Sunset paused as she rounded the last bend to the table she and Twilight oft shared with the Sirens, now with five additional girls seated in normally vacant seats.
“What are you standing there for?” Indigo asked, staring at the unmoving teen, “Hurry up and sit down already.”
Sunset looked at her regular table mates, three of which shrugged nonchalantly while Sonata waved adorably, before strutting over to the table and taking the last open seat between Twilight and Sour Sweet and across from Indigo.
“So how has your morning of catch up gone?” The google wearing teen asked, voice muffled from a cold cut sandwich, “I hope it didn’t tucker you out too much, ‘cause I need an actual challenge in our dodgeball game that Sombra announced for today.”
Sour Sweet scoffed at a small bit of food slipped from Indigo’s mouth, “My god! Do you lack any sort of etiquette?”
“Stop being such a tsundere, Sour,” Adagio called out, causing the ponytailed teen to look at the Siren in utter bewilderment.
“What did you just call me?”
“Tsundere.” Came the curt response from Sugarcoat, eyes never leaving the food on her tray, “A Neighponese that combines both the descriptions for someone who is cold and blunt, tsun, and one who is secretly lovestruck, dere.”
The rest of the table burst out in laughter at Sour’s reaction, the girl crossing her arms and giving a might “Hrumph!” as she looked away, crimson tinging her cheeks.
Sugarcoat probably didn’t hear Sour Sweet’s remark, her eyes closed as she slowly took a small sip from her diet pop. The table returned to small talk with Lemon gushing about this new album she downloaded online from someone called ‘DJ Pon-3’ whilst Sunny Flare was walking Sunset through what she had missed in Advanced Social Studies from Friday in preparation for the unit exam the next day.
“Oh! I knew I forgot to tell you something!” Sonata said, realization flashing across her face, “We got a baking exam on Wednesday!”
Sunset looked at the Siren with a grin, “I’m gonna guess that you forgot cause it doesn’t involve tacos?”
The Siren stuck her tongue out, only for Adagio to reach over and pull on it, causing Sonata to flail around as she tried to free herself.
“That wasn’t funny, Dagi!” The Siren wailed, tears coming to her naturally puppy dog looking eyes.
The team mom shrugged, before casting her eyes down the rest of the table. “Anyone else got anything for Shimmer here know about this week’s classes?”
One of Lemon Zest’s hands shot up, the other holding an empty water bottle. “There’s an English exam on Thursday!”
“We are supposed to be doing a lab exam in Chem on Friday.” Sugarcoat monotoned, “That way if someone messes up the school can aerate over the weekend and not make anyone sick again.”
Twilight had remained silent through the whole thing, counting on her fingers each time a girl informed Sunset about an upcoming exam.
“So wait,” She said, looking at the teen beside her, “Including the Math exam you did today, which you more or less went into blind and finished before me, you have exams in each of your classes?” she pushed her glasses back up her delicate nose, brows furrowing in concern, “And not only that, but they are all Advanced level classes?”
“Don’t forget about gym!” Indigo blurted out, standing up and smashing the table with her hands in excitement, “Sombra does dodgeball as version of exams! You get graded on how many people you hit, how many balls you catch-”
“Okay so all your classes have an exam, or the equivalent in the case of gym. Are you sure you can handle this, Sunset?”
The table watched as the teen regarded her concerned friend, before reeling in shock as the crimson and gold crowned girl leaned back with mirthful laughter.
“That’s so -hehe!- precious!” Sunset mused, wiping a tear from her eye before her features set in a deviously cocky grin, “I’m gonna tear this week a new one!”
“Trenderhoof! Out!” Mr. Sombra yelled out whilst he jerked a thumb over his shoulder.
The dodgeball game had been going fast and furious, the two teams slowly whittling one another down over time. Sunset took a moment to rebalance herself after striking out the blond haired teen, who was now leaving the playing field dejectedly, scanning over the enemy team before her. Sombra had done his best to separate the class evenly as far as members were concerned, though with Sunset transferring in he now had thirteen on one side, twelve on the other, and Sunset was feeling the tiredness of playing a person down.
Indigo had looked incredibly pleased at the start of the match, Sunset had been placed on the other team allowing the two of them to gaze at each other from across the pitch. Aria on the other hand complained when she was put on Indigo’s team, bitter that she had to try and knock out her friend.
The game had started out incredibly fast with a blitzkrieg of small foam balls pelting the weakest members of each team, though the weakest of them could easily pass as Wonderbolts on an average day. Indigo looked like a woman on a mission, pelting member after member of Sunset’s squad with amazing accuracy, whilst simultaneously being impossible to hit. Aria meanwhile carried herself with an air of indifference, slugging teens with deadly force and catching anything near her with an air of boredom.
Sunset grinned grimly, finally coming to realize the plan of Indigo.
“Come on, Red,” the goggles over the indigo haired teen’s eyes glinting and reflecting the light of the gym, “Make it easy on yourself!”
Sunset chuckled, “Two versus one!” She yelled back, her ponytail flitting behind her, “I feel bad for your odds.”
“Don’t make us have to hurt you, Sunset!” Aria called back, a pair of the foam balls gripped by her side. “Let us hit you with an easy one and we can all get out of here together.”
“Nah, I’d rather see you two leave in bodybags!”
The one sided mexican standoff drew silent, all three teens stopping to recover their breaths. Sunset was grimacing internally, not only did the other two have all of the balls stockpiled on their side but she had twisted her leg painfully with the last throw, making it hard to move at her previous speed. Her two opponents watch her carefully, taking a moment to strategize it looked like, before nodding and starting to pile the balls around them.
“You’ve given us no choice, newbie!” Indigo said, fake sad smile flitting across her face, “Guess we have to do this the hard way.”
“The only thing is hard is how you will hit the floor!” Sunset replied, dangerous glint in her eyes. “Now shut up and hit me, if you think you can with those lousy arms of yours!”
Sunset had mere moments to come up with a plan, before the two teens across from her started to level deadly volleys at her, pushing her to her limit as she dodged, ducked, dipped, and dove through the storm of foam. They were being smart about it, keeping balls back and doing their best to throw with enough to ricochet back to them when they missed the amber teen.
Sunset felt her twisted leg scream at her, demanding she stop and end this, but she grit her teeth. She had to find some way to get back at them, but they were making it impossible to find any sort of ammunition without risk of being pelted. Eventually the other teens had ran short on their first wave of projectiles, leaving Indigo staring down Sunset while Aria went foraging. Indigo had slid her goggles down around her neck, their fogging starting to blind her.
Sunset took stock of the floor, noticing a few balls close to the line of scrimmage, though Indigo stood over them, ready to pelt her should she risk it. Taking a deep breath, Sunset prepared for her hail mary. Getting down into a sprinting stance, she looked at the teen before her.
“I win.” She stated calmly, before leaping up and towards the precious balls.
“Not today, Red!” Indigo shouted, launching her projectile with blazing speed.
Sunsted grimaced as she fell down, sliding painfully on her sweatpants encased knees as she passed under the ball of defeat, reaching out and picking up the first ball to come within range, torquing her shoulder and releasing the ball at the shocked girl. Only for it to spin past her knees harmlessly.
“You missed!?” Indigo shouted, before feeling something contact her back, Mr. Sombra’s shrill whistle calling out.
“Aria! Indigo! Your out!” He jerked both ebony grey thumbs across his shoulders. “Good throw, new girl.”
Indigo slowly turned around, noticing in shock that Aria was laying down on her back, arms splayed out and surrounded by balls she had been carrying. She had been directly in front of the Siren, screening Sunset from the girls view and allowing the amber teen to ricochet a ball off her purple legs and into Indigo’s back.
“Woo!” Sunset breathed heavily, adopting a stance similar to Aria’s though her hands were held up, forefingers declaring her rank.
Indigo could only start laughing, though she was overcome by the noise the rest of the class was making at the amazing play of Sunset. She slowly walked over to Aria and helped the beaten girl up, and the two of them headed over to their still motionless friend.
“What the shit was that, Shimmer?” Aria asked in pure shock, “By Celestia’s beard! I don’t know how the hell you pulled that stunt off!”
Sunset grinned in joy as she was slowly picked up off her back, the other two teens slinging her arms around their shoulders as they walked over to the gathering of students in front of Mr. Sombra. Sunset’s team made sure to all give the girl a firm pat on the back, everyone present still reeling from the display.
“Sunset,” rumbled Mr. Sombra, “Never in my days have I seen anyone, let alone a student, attempt such a stunt. And never would I have assumed that it would have worked!” He let out an uncharacteristic bark of laughter, before returning to his traditional grim state. “For that, you get a perfect score for today’s class. Now all of you, go get changed and hit the showers. New girl here just saved you all from doing laps for the last ten minutes of class.
Sunset grinned as cheers rang throughout the class.
“Could you try not showing off so much in front of Indigo?” Sour Sweet hissed as the trio of Sonata, Sunset, and herself left, their very successful baking exam. “She would not shut up about how you, and I quote, “absolutely destroyed physics, as well as melted her brain, with how badass your game winning play was.”. I mean, seriously?” She affixed Sunset with a glare, the teen shrugging as she limped along.
Her leg was still bothering her from yesterday's dodgeball game, and Mr. Sombra had been nice enough to let her only do light duty in gym class for the rest of the week to make sure she didn’t hurt herself more. Twilight had tried to convince the teen to get some crutches, but Sunset shut her down saying that it would only make things worse.
“Aria said that she wasn’t sure what was wetter, her underwear, or her skin,” Sonata chimed in innocently, happy little smile on her face, “I wonder what she meant?” She was looking away in thought as the other two stared at the Siren incredulously.
“I didn’t know that you were such a cook, Sonata!” Sunset said, hoping to distract the airhead from pursuing any more thoughts into Aria’s crass comment. “You really saved our bacon in there!”
“There was no bacon, silly Sun-Shim!” The Siren ruffled the teen’s hair playfully, “Just a delicious recipe I remember inventing long ago!”
Sour Sweet rolled her eyes assuming Sonata was being her usual self, not realizing that the ancient Equestrian was telling the truth.
“For realsies! I don’t know how people keep messing it up, it’s so simple!”
Sunset laughed at the bounce that the teen had, before turning her eyes to Sour.
“Hey,” she bumped the Shadowbolt with her shoulder, “Thanks for all the help today. Appreciate you helping keep Sonata there in line.”
Sour Sweet grinned haughtily, “But of course sweetie,” she brushed her ponytail dramatically, “Who else but the best to keep you all in check?”
Sunset shrugged, knowing the girl meant no harm.
“So how do you think you did, Sunny?” Sunset asked as the two of them sat down to eat while Adagio was still in line ordering.
The mulberry haired girl glanced back at the question bearer and shrugged, “Pretty good, I think. Just had some concerns with that long answer question on the fifth page.”
“Oh yeah!” Sunset snapped her fingers, “Prance de Leon! Hard to think people would believe in something like a ‘Fountain of Youth’, huh?”
Sunny Flare looked back at Sunset, eyebrow raised, “How did you know that? We passed over that section of the textbook well before you showed up.”
“Probably cause this girl may as be a unicorn with how magical she is.” Adagio said slyly as she joined the two at their empty table. “Not only have you enchanted Aria, but now you have also enthralled Sonata as well!” She jabbed her fork at Sunset, “Thanks to you, I now have to deal with two bumbling idiots, one of which could be used as an image to describe the word blithe!”
Sunny Flare regarded the grumbling Siren, before returning her attention to Sunset. “So if I remember correctly, you were studying at CHS, correct?”
Sunset slowly finished chewing the lettuce in her mouth before nodding, “Yup, though they didn’t have any really advanced classes like here, so it’s nice to be able to push myself with my academics again.”
“And where did you study before that? My parent’s looked at enrolling me in Canterlot High, but they decided on Crystal Prep because of the fact that the teachers here were actually intelligent.”
Sunset watched as a small flicker of something passed through the Shadowbolt’s eyes, breaking the normal shell of cold calculation she portrayed.
“Well, I was at a school for ‘Gifted U… Youth’ before I came to CHS,” Sunset cursed at herself in her mind for almost mentioning Equestria.
“And where was it situated?” Sunny Flare pressed on, as if she was trying to find out Sunset’s secret. Did she suspect something? No, couldn’t be.
“Does this really matter?” Adagio cut in, annoyed at being ignored. “She’s crazy smart, super athletic, and puts all the rest of girls here to shame in the looks and personality depart. She’s perfect, so just deal with it.”
Sunset blushed at how Adagio so calmly described her. She wasn’t perfect, in fact Sunset was more of a buck up than the Siren knew of.
“Whatever.” Sunny Flare shrugged, turning back to her food, before peering up towards Sunset, “Would you, uh…” she trailed off as Sunset glanced back.
“Would you mind being study partners with me for Mrs. Lime’s class?”
“Man! That album Pon-3 released at the start of the week is killer man!”
Lemon Zest was incredibly exuberant today, now that the exam was finished and the two were allowed to leave early. They had decided to relax in one of the secluded empty club rooms, which should have been vacant except for the various things Lemon and her group of fellow Shadowbolt’s have stashed around the room.
“Like this song right here!” She tore a set of earbuds out of some packaging, the new bulbous ends glinting in the light. “Here, you gotta jack in and listen to this!”
Sunset took the offered item, popping them gently into her ear. She remembered Vinyl well, her and Octavia had let Sunset know that they didn’t think the girl was Anon-A-Miss, but they couldn’t offer to speak out about their feelings on the matter.
Vinyl had been a maven of the turntable, able to mix and remix beats that could make anybody start to jam out. Her usual affair was lively, energetic. What she was listening too was deep, somber, as if…
“Is that morse code?” Sunset wondered aloud, the high frequency beeps barely heard over the bass.
“Who knows?” Lemon yelled as she moved her head to the beat, “All I care is that this is a nice change of pace from the rest of the album, something very few musicians seem to try.”
Sunset rifled around in her binder, tearing out a piece of loose leaf and grabbing a mechanical pencil as she waited for the ‘chorus’ of the song to repeat again. She was ready when the beeps started, making sure to carefully mark the beeps, clicks, and whistles on the paper.
“So why do you think that is morse?” Lemon asked when the song finished, hands closing around the earbuds fresh out of Sunset’s ears. “And how do you even know morse code for that matter?”
Sunset shrugged sheepishly, “I’ve had a lot of time to study random things, and morse code seemed really interesting for some reason, so I decided to take a few online courses in the past.”
“But why do you think that is morse?”
Sunset looked at the teen, her normal extrovert appearance disturbingly calm. “Just a feeling I guess. It probably isn’t, and I’m probably looking into something way more than is necessary.” Sunset watched the amber eyed girl, “Do you know morse?”
The teen sat back and sighed, “Parents were military, so some leaked down into my life. Now what do you think this says?”
Sunset looked over the mess of dots and dashes. “Hell if I know.” She said as she crumpled it up before tossing it into the trash. “Got any more music recommendations?”
As if nothing had happened, Lemon thrust the earbuds back to Sunset. “This one should knock your socks off!”
Sunset tried to ignore what she had read, attempting to use the loud music to wash away the message playing in her mind, only to have a steady set of beeps play over and over again.
... --- .-. .-. -.-- / ... ..- -. ... . -
“Acceptable work you two.” Mr. Vial looked at the small beaker of fluid on the table between Sunset and Sugarcoat. “You may leave, just make sure to clean up first.”
The two went to work tidying up their lab station, the other groups still messing around with trying to figure out how to not blow up the chemicals they were mixing.
“So…” Sunset started as the pair finished washing their hands with distilled water. They had worked incredibly well, though Sugarcoat never said more than a few words, generally instructions on what went with what even though Sunset knew what she was doing.
“Is he always that…”
“Down putting? Yes.” Sugarcoat removed the safety goggles and hung up her lab borrowed lab coat as the two left. “He thinks he should be teaching at Canterlot University, and is angry at himself for accepting the contract offer from Cinch.”
Sunset watched the unmoving visage of the pale blue teen. “How do you know that?”
The Shadowbolt shrugged, stating, “I did a little bit of digging into him. Nothing too fancy.”
Sunset looked on in shock, wasn’t that illegal? Mind you she had done it in the past as well, so who was she to judge? “Nothing too fancy? Why did you feel the need to?”
“Because knowledge is power.” Sugarcoat replied succinctly, “With knowledge, comes power, and if you have knowledge then you can know when someone is lying to you. They say ‘ignorance is bliss’, but that is only an excuse used by the weak to justify their stupidity.”
Sunset was shocked to see the girl actually displaying emotions, anger and… disappointment?
“Why do you say that?” Sunset asked, reaching a worried hand out and placing it on the other teen’s shoulder.
“It doesn’t matter.” Sugarcoat responded, shaking the hand off after a moment. “I know that you trying to be considerate, but I don’t need any sort of falsified compassions.” She started walking off, only for Sunset to call after her.
“Well what if I do some digging into you?”
The white haired teen stopped, looking back at Sunset with yet another unexpected display of emotion, this time of slight joy if her eye’s were to be believed.
“You’re welcome to try.”
There was a large crowd in the basement of the house, two teens sitting in front of a large television set whilst hammering away on their controllers.
“You’re goin down, Sonata!” Indigo Zap yelled, throwing a devastating combo at the Siren’s avatar. Only to have it reversed on her.
“Ya right! Your desert is mine!”
Sugarcoat and Sour Sweet burst out in fresh laughter as they watched the indigo haired teen’s character get absolutely demolished by the skilled button presses of Sonata. They jeered at the display, giggling when Indigo stood up and glared at them in mock frustration. Sonata had decided to do a little victory dance, ending with a small lap around the room, nearly knocking into Aria and Lemon Zest.
The two girls of contrasting colours were listening to music, discussing who they liked the most.
“It’s totally the Stones!” Aria called out, arms raised out in frustration, “They’re still freaking touring to this day!”
“Yeah,” Lemon said, grinning cockily, “touring retirement homes! They should just turn it in, let the new generation prove how much their better then those old farts!”
The debate raged on between the two, each teen throwing verbal jabs and counter jabs at the other, music blaring from the headphones around Lemon’s neck, gaining the ireful look of both Adagio and Sunny flare, the two of them seated in fancy looking recliners as they discussed world history.
“I don’t know about you dear,” Adagio said as she rolled her eyes, “But as amazing as technology is, there’s just something about the classic’s.”
Sunny nodded her head, “A time where musicians actually had to compose their own music, not pay someone else for it.” She said knowingly.
“A time when a man would woo a woman by serenading her in the middle of the night from outside her window, describing how much she reminded him of the blazing glory of the sun.”
Sunny Flare chuckled as the Siren, Adagio flashing back in time to when she would receive such attentions, gazing at the stairway lost in thought even as Twilight Sparkle descended it. She wove her way through the room, before depositing herself on the sofa right beside Sunset, the teen wearing a massive smile.
“So how was your first full month?” Twilight asked, hand patting the jeaned thigh of her best friend.
“Pretty good,” Sunset said smiling at her couch partner, “Being able to make friends, real actual friends this time, was really nice. For once, I feel like I have a purpose, a home that is more than just somewhere where I sleep, a family that cares about me, even if I am not related by blood.”
“I’m glad that everything has come around for you.” The teen whispered, pushing her glasses up her nose, “And you seem to be doing incredibly well at school as well, which is amazing given the course load you took.”
Sunset grinned. She may have been tied with Twilight as far as marks in Math was concerned, but she was top student in all of her other classes. The worries of her friends and family were proven wrong, Sunset enjoying the chance to prove her intelligence once more.
“Yo, Lemon!” Indigo called out, “I think Twilight has a bigger T.V. here than you!”
Twilight giggled as Lemon started to explain how Indigo was wrong. She had never expected that she would be able to make friends at Crystal Prep, thanks to how much of a shark tank Principal Cinch had been growing it as. She looked over the multitude of teens, each enjoying one another’s company in the dimly lit room.
“So, you gonna sign up for the Friendship Games?” Twilight asked, turning back to Sunset, “Might be a good chance to show them up? Though I wouldn’t blame you for skipping it entirely like me and the three sisters.”
Sunset sighed as she looked up at the roof. “I dunno Twilight… After the fiasco of that assembly, I kinda promised myself that I wouldn’t return. I mean, I closed that chapter right? No more reasons to go back.”
“That’s good.” Twilight gripped the teens hand in a caring embrace, “You shouldn’t have to worry about going back there, I mean, what’s gonna happen? Principal Cinch blackmailing us into going?” Twilight chuckled at her joke. “She may be evil, but she’s not that evil!”
Friday, December 18th - Fall of Harmony: Fall from Grace Saturday, December 19th - Fall of Harmony: From the Ashes Monday, December 21st - Fall of Harmony: Under Warm Covers Tuesday, December 22nd - Fall of Harmony: Desire for Absolution Thursday, December 24th - Fall of Harmony: Cacophony of Emotion Friday, December 25th - Fall of Harmony: Cacophony of Emotion Monday, January 4th - Fall of Harmony: The New Girl
- Fall of Harmony: Hazy School Day
- CHS: Revelations of Innocence
- Fall of Harmony: Interactions of Opposites Tuesday, January 5th - Fall of Harmony: From the Fall Thursday, January 7th - CHS: No More Hiding Friday, January 8th - Fall of Harmony: Overflow of Truth Saturday, January 9th - CHS: Opinions of Restoration Sunday, January 10th - Fall of Harmony: Out with Friends Monday, January 11th - Fall of Harmony: Week of Comradery Tuesday, January 12th - Fall of Harmony: Week of Comradery Wednesday, January 13th - Fall of Harmony: Week of Comradery Thursday, January 14th - Fall of Harmony: Week of Comradery Friday, January 15th - Fall of Harmony: Week of Comradery Saturday, January 16th - Equestria: The Prodigal Daughter Sunday, January 17th - CHS: Reconvening the Orchestra Saturday, January 30th - Fall of Harmony: Week of Comradery Sunday, January 31st - Equestria: Time Heals All
“For the last time Pinkie, I don’t think a “Sorry-That-We-Didn’t-Believe-You-About-You-Not-Being-Anon-A-Miss-And-Are-Really-Sorry-For-Not-Standing-Up-For-You” Party is gonna make things better with Sunset!”
The sky blue teen stopped to catch her breath. Why did the party planner have to make such obtuse names for her parties?
“Well I don’t see you coming up with any suggestions, Rainbow Dash!” The pink girl snapped back, crossing her arms as she glared at the other teen.
“Would you two please calm down?” Rarity asked, trying to stop the group from getting kicked out of the Sweet Shoppe, “I understand you both are trying very hard to try and decide how we are going to let Sunset know how sorry we are, but shouting is not a good way to communicate with one another.”
Fluttershy had been cowering for the last few minutes behind her hair, refusing to risk her neck.
“Rarity is right y’all,” came the stern tone of Applejack, her feet kicked up on another chair casually, “We need ta talk this thing out, not shout at each other.”
Fluttershy chose that moment to pipe up, mustering as loud a voice as she could. “I don’t think Sunset would like to see us fighting like this… I mean…” She saw four pairs of eyes glance back at her, and her immediate response was to give a small “meep!” and duck away again.
“Sorry shugahcube,” Applejack reached out a well calloused hand to the animal lover, “Didn’t mean ta scare ya er nothin’.”
“Yes, please continue dear.” Rarity replied, staring down Rainbow Dash who was about to open her mouth again.
“Well, uhm…” the buttercream teen started up again, “I was just meaning to say that it won’t, um, help us to apologize to Sunset if we are fighting about what to do…”
“But what are we supposed to do?” Rainbow muttered exasperatedly, “And no Pinkie, a party isn’t gonna make this all better.”
“Then what’re ya suggestin’, RD?” Applejack was probing the rainbow maned teen.
“I don’t know, alright?” She threw her hands up, “There! Happy? We fucked up AJ, worse than I think we can fathom.” She skulked under the glare Mrs. Cake was giving her from the counter.
The farmer sighed, “Sorry, Rainbow… Ah think ah can speak fer all o’ us when ah say we are all pretty bummed about all this.”
“I still can’t believe that we did that…” the normally frizzy hair of Pinky was flat and lifeless, “What were we thinking?”
“I don’t know dear, none of us do.” Rarity reached out a gentle hand to her friend.
“I still can’t believe that the girls were the ones behind it all…” commented Fluttershy quietly.
“Don’t remind me...” responded Rainbow Dash curtly, “I can’t believe Scoot’s would do something so petty! Next time I see her…” Rainbow unconsciously clenched her fists.
Rarity and Applejack both averted their gaze. Rainbow had been lucky in the sense that Scootaloo wasn’t actually related to the athlete, but Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom had both gotten some pretty harsh punishment from their sisters.
“I still can’t believe all of us got punished as well though!” Rainbow was still running her mouth in frustration, “No phones and no internet? How am I supposed to record my awesomeness!?”
“Fer land’s sake, Rainbow!” Applejack had launched to her feet and slammed down on the table, “How dense can ya be? Look at what we did to Sunset!”
“I know we are quiet at the moment dearies, but please do restrain yourselves.” Mrs. Cake called out from her post.
“At least it’s not as bad as the girls…” Rarity commented when everybody sat down again after calming themselves, “Detention for the rest of the year, no extracurricular activities, and suspended for the rest of the month!”
“Plus tha Cyber Bullyin’ Awareness classes they have ta attend in tha mean time.”
“I think we may, uhm,” Fluttershy piped up once more from behind her mess of hair, “getting sidetracked again?”
“Only ‘cause we can’t think of anything.” Pinkie said grimly. The rest of the group had been surprised at the change in the teen since the announcement of Sunset’s innocence. “And I agree with Rainbow, a party isn’t going to fix this, but what else can we do?”
“Last time we saw her before the assembly we were quite rude to her.” Rarity looked disappointed in herself, “And she was right at the assembly. We betrayed her, Twilight, and what we are supposed to represent.”
“Generosity, Laughter, Honesty, Kindness, and Loyalty.” Rainbow called out as she pointed around the table, “Or more like Selfishness, Mocking, Falsity, Spite, and Treachery…”
All five teens looked down, unable to deny the tags Rainbow had applied to them.
“I’m sure Twilight would be able to help us.” Fluttershy stated, breaking the silence, “But she’s almost more angry at us than Sunset…”
“Can ya blame her?” Applejack said incredulously, “We betrayed her, an’ pushed tha person we were given by her ta help ta tha point o’ offin’ herself.”
“I’d be cross at us as well.” Rainbow said, scratching at the table absentmindedly. “I just wish we knew how to make it up to Sunset…”
“Maybe we should try talking to her?” Pinkie said halfheartedly, “Doubt it could go worse than yesterday.”
“Well I doubt that we would be able to ask Crystal Prep to allow us to talk to her,” Rarity stated, “and I don’t know if any of you have had better luck, but she has yet to respond to my texts.”
“She probably blocked us…” Fluttershy muttered in defeat.
“Well I say we find someway to get ahold of her.” Rainbow stated as she stood up, “We have to talk to her, let her know that we are sorry even if she doesn’t accept it.”
“Ah think we should give ‘er some time to herself, RD,” Applejack said, “Ah have no doubt that she don’t want to see any o’ us anytime soon.”
“Well I’m still gonna keep sending her texts. She gotta read one eventually… right?”
Rarity pitied at how hard her friend was grasping at straws, not unlike everyone else present herself included. How do you make amends for something like this? It’s not like you can just hug and all of a sudden everything is better! You’d have to be childish to believe such an absurd idea.
“I think we should all head home for the time being.” Rarity stood up and grabbed her purse, “We should all rest on this and reconvene at a more opportune time.”
All present noded, each rising up to leave, but not before apologizing to the shop owners. They had a lot on their plates to think about, and were unsure if there even was an answer for this situation. Rainbow paused before she followed after the rest of her group, digging her phone out of her pocket and hammering out a quick string of taps before returning the device to it’s resting spot.
Sunset’s bleary eyes cracked open as she felt her phone buzz beside her head, hands gingerly grasping the item and bringing it in front of her blurry vision.
Sunset stood and peered at the restroom door. Why did Twilight have to chose a girl's washroom of all places, let alone one at Crystal Prep? Thankfully it was surprisingly easy to get into the academy, as there were weekend study options available for students to partake in. She had slowly made her way through the school before ending up in front of the girl’s washroom on the third floor. This one never saw much use, being in a corner surrounded by club rooms made it so that this was a nice little spot to take a breather.
“Guess I should let her know I’m here…” Sunset muttered, digging into her backpack for the journal that crossed the two worlds.
Ready on this end!
Awesome! Find somewhere to stash your journal and we are good to go!
Let me run it down to my locker, it’ll take like 2 minutes~
Careful not to trip! Whoever the janitor is there used waaay to much wax…
Sunset did indeed see what looked like scuff marks when she peered at the floor, and chuckled softly as she departed the restroom towards her locker. She hurried her way down two flights of stairs and jogged to her locker, stopping just before it as she raced to unlock it. A strange feeling of giddiness was rushing through her, she was going back to Equestria! After all these years! And to top it off, Celestia was waiting to see her!
“Sunset?” came a startled voice, “I didn’t expect to see you here today.”
“Oh! Hi Dean Cadence! I was just stopping by quick.” Sunset gave the best smile she could, even if she was sweating bullets on the inside.
“I was going to stop by this evening but seeing as you’re here, could I borrow a couple minutes of your time?”
Horseapples. “I don’t see why not, what’cha need?” Sunset frowned when the woman turned her back to the teen, following while cursing her obedience.
“It’s about the Friendship Games,” Cadence said as she sat down behind her desk, motioning to Sunset to sit on the other side, “I know you are really hesitant on going back to that school, but Crystal Prep could really use you! Especially since Twilight refuses to participate.”
Sunset frowned, looking around carefully before beckoning the cerise skinned woman close.
“Did Principal Cinch put you up to this?”
The Dean of Students grimaced, nodding in confirmation.
“Can’t she take no for an answer?” Sunset complained, “I mean, really? From what I’ve seen Crystal Prep should wash the floor with CHS!”
“Not everything is based on straight questions and answers though, Sunset.” came the response from Cadence, who was obviously understanding of the teen’s predicament. “The Games will have all sorts of events, and from what we have scouted it seems like it may not be so easy this time.” She sighed as she reached out a hand to the silent girl, “I’ll tell Cinch I talked to you about this, you get back to whoever is waiting on you. Judging by your look at your locker it must be someone very special.”
Sunset gaped at the teacher, blush coming to her face. She slowly stood up, bidding farewell as she departed the room hurriedly. She made good time through the halls, certainly drawing the ire of students who had to waste their weekends studying with her loud rushing. It wasn’t long before she stood before the washroom stall once more.
“Okay, Sunset, you can do this! You are just returning to your native land full of talking equines all with different magical powers, with your teacher who controls the literal sun awaiting to see you after you betrayed her.” Sunset chuckled nervously. “What could possibly go wrong?”
She slowly reached forward to grasp the door handle, only to pass through the door with a yelp of surprise. The strange sight of rushing face first towards something believed to be solid was shocking, but not as shocking watching her entire body pass through it.
Sunset was overwhelmed by the feeling of stretching around in a spiral, the feeling of rushing through an immense ocean of nothing while magic suffused everything. She could feel magical enchantments falling off her, revealing-
“Owww…” Sunset groaned, slowly flickering eyes peering at the… crystal floor? “That was not as comfortable a ride as the first time…”
“Sunset! There you are!” came a worried voice, “I was just about to come through the portal and look for you!”
A steady clop filled the air as four lavender hooves appeared in her vision. She slowly craned her eyes up to take in the appearance of Twilight.
“Hiya, Princess!” Sunset reached an arm out to shake the girl's hand, only to realize that what instead reached out was a hoof. A brilliant amber hoof. Her hoof. “Oh, right… no hands here in Equestria.” Sunset slowly got up, wobbling slightly as she assumed the four legged stance that her Pony body demanded. “Just like riding a bike!”
“What? Riding a… bike?” Twilight gave her friend a perplexed look.
“Human expression, don’t worry about it.” She shook her head, revelling at the shortness of her mane here. “Sorry I was late, Dean Cadence sidetracked me just as I was dropping off the Journal in my locker.”
“What’s a… Dean, was it?” came a familiar voice, not one Sunset expected to hear on this side of the portal.
“Dean Cadence?” Sunset cried out in response, before shaking her head, “No, wait. Princess Cadence? What are you doing here?”
The alicorn made her way over to the wilting unicorn. “Don’t be so worried, Sunset. Twilight invited me and Shining Armour to come down and see you. Sadly Shiny is stuck taking care of the Empire, but I managed to sneak away for a little while.”
“Don’t be worried?” Sunset exclaimed as she slipped in her rush to backpedal. “But I broke into your castle! Knocked out some of your guards even! Plus I stole Twilight’s crown! Why aren’t you trying to imprison me?”
Twilight and Cadence both looked at each other, before falling to their backs in furious bouts of laughter. Sunset could only stare in utter disbelievement at the reactions of the two princesses.
“Ummm…” Sunset continued to watch the pair as they rolled around in laughter, surprised that they didn't injure their wings. “Am I missing something here?”
“Hehehe, sorry Sunset!” Twilight was having a hard time calming down, giggles still tearing through her body, “I guess I should explain the situation. You see with the exception of Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, Princess Cadence, my friends here in Ponyville, and myself, nobody knows or even really remembers anything about what happened when you showed up through the portal while it was up in the Crystal Empire.”
“And while Celestia gave us a basic understanding of why you fled,” Cadence continued, “No one really judges you about it. You have a clean slate here by all of our accounts, and if what Twilight says is true, you have definitely improved since you originally left.”
Sunset peaked an eyebrow as she looked at Twilight. “What did you tell them?” She asked, trying to keep worry out of her voice.
“Just that you have made an amazing amount of friends, and became a really great pony- er, person?” Twilight’s face changed from feigned innocence to furrowed in contemplation in an instant, letting Sunset relax her body. She slowly turned around and looked at the mirror, the gateway between two different worlds, and an amber unicorn with a short styled mane of gold and crimson stared back at her.
Slowly Sunset brought a forehoof up to touch her horn, gingerly pressing along it as old instincts started to come to the front again. She looked to the side and saw a small pile of books, before concentrating on one that lay shut. Slowly she felt energy start to build around the tip of her horn, and though she failed to see it a pale turquoise aura surrounded it, and she reached out to the book mentally. It was slowly enveloped in the same pale turquoise aura as her horn, and it slowly started to disobey gravity by floating up into the air, before pausing.
“Ah, right! You probably haven’t had the chance to use your magic over there much, have you?” Twilight asked, watching as her friend started to manipulate the book in different directions. “That world was pretty magic barren now that I think about it.”
Sunset didn’t even respond, instead setting the book down gently. The feeling of a long unused muscle stretching washed over Sunset, as well as a small euphoria from the amount of raw magic all around her. She never realised how much she missed this! She slowly scanned around the room, eyes locking on a vacant area near the front door. She slowly smiled, a smile that Twilight had wore once before when she thought she was forced to make a friendship problem. The two Princesses noticed only in time to watch as Sunset popped out of existence, only to have the same popping sound come from behind them moments later.
“Hehehe!” Sunset cackled maniacally, before bursting out the door and into the hall, leaving the two alicorns to stand and stare, the sound of more popping echoing through the halls.
“After her!” Twilight called out, breaking into a hurried run.
The pair eventually found Sunset outside the castle, laying down and rolling across the grass, not much unlike Winona did in snow in the winter. They slowly cantered towards the extremely giddy unicorn, making sure to pause a fair distance away.
“Y’know, I guess the humans were right,” Sunset said, craning her neck to look at the two watchers, “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone!” She slowly stood up, coming to stand before the pair. “Sorry about that, kinda had the sudden urge to just go crazy.” She blushed as she kicked the ground with a hoof.
“Nothing… a good breather… won’t fix.” Twilight panted, collapsing in a gangly mess onto the grass, as Cadence chuckled.
“Well I’m glad you got it out of your system,” the Princess of Love said, “because I don’t think it would be good to have that kind of an outburst when we meet with my aunt.”
Realization slowly dawned on the unicorn. One of the main reasons for this cross world trip. To meet with the ruler of the entire kingdom. The one who rose the sun and the moon themselves.
“Princess Celestia…” Sunset said softly, staring at the ground. “I wonder how she’s actually going to react…”
“I told you how worried about you she was, Sunset.” Twilight said, finally standing up from her momentary breather, “She cares deeply about you.”
“I know that, Twilight… It’s just… How can I expect another to forgive me if I can’t even forgive myself?” Sunset stared at Twilight, tears starting to run down her muzzle.
“But how can you not forgive yourself? We all have. We know that you are a better pony -person, sorry- then you were in your youth.” Twilight said as she walked forward, wrapping her neck around Sunset one way, while the opposite hoof came up and completed the hug.
“But I tried to kill you Twilight! I stole your crown! And Celestia… I betrayed her, everything she ever taught me… I went and threw it in her face!”
“I can vouch with Twilight there, Sunset.” Cadence said, stepping beside her sister in law once the two younger ponies ended their embrace. “Celestia is quite anxious to see you again. Maybe it would be best if we headed there right now? That way there is less time for you to ruminate.”
Sunset was about to comment, but before she could she saw Twilight’s horn light up brightly as an immense surge of magic wrapped around the three of them. The light flashed, a loud deafening pop cutting through the air as the three vanished from Ponyville, only for reality to spit them back out before a great grey door, devoid of any sort of metalwork or decoration.
“Phew! That was more taxing than I thought!” Twilight commented, sweat beading down her face, “Thanks for the help Cadence!”
Sunset tuned out the two sisters as they made small talk, her eyes slowly widening as she realized where she stood. It hadn’t changed in all the years since she left. She slowly raised a single hoof, lightly pressing against the door. The same cold feeling washed through her as it had when she was a filly. She looked back and saw the two were paying her no heed, Twilight backing up and blushing as Cadence delivered some sort of compliment. Squaring her shoulders, Sunset took a deep breath. Now or never, Shimmer. She thought, as she pushed the door forward, the same weightless response followed as it slowly swung open.
Light poured into the room, both from the numerous ornate glass windows, but also from the massive chandelier that hung overhead. The red carpet ran along the cool marble floor, guiding the stride of any who entered towards a large golden dais, large vibrant violet displays of flowers say in golden planters while water flowed from one basin to another seemingly without end. A throne sat at the top of the third level, if it could be called a throne as the humans would know one. A large back rose up, deep crimson fabric lined it, along with a large cushion of the same material.
But everything else in the room failed to measure up to the figure who sat upon the throne, eyes closed as she breathed softly. The universe, however, hates any kind of quality nap, and so decided to have the door finish swinging open with a loud boom, causing the resting figure to shoot up in alarm and attempt to raise up to a proper stance, only to slip and fumble her way down the throne to land in a mess of sprawled limbs and flowing ethereal hair.
“Princess Celestia!” Sunset cried out in shocked horror, starting to gallop to her former mentor, praying that the alicorn was alright.
As soon as Sunset stopped in front of the downed Celestia, a single impossibly white hoof, capped with an immaculate golden shoe, pressed softly into the snout of Sunset, freezing her in place. The ruler of Equestria looked up at her former student, a smile so warm the room grew chilled emanating from the royal’s features.
“You always seemed to fall for that trick, Sunset.”
Sunset remained glued in place as Celestia rose, her neck craning up to keep eye contact with the ruler of Equestria.
“Sunset?” Celestia asked, unsure how to read the expression on Sunset’s visage.
“I’m so sorry…” was all that Sunset could mutter, still unable to look away from the Princess.
Slowly the alicorn stepped forward, sitting down as she reached out with her front hooves and pulled Sunset close, wrapping the unicorn up with her great wings. “Do not ever be sorry. Sunset. You are not alone in the guilt of your actions.”
Sunset felt tears come to her eyes as she felt the overflow of love and compassion from her teacher, the same feeling she felt so many time’s in her fillyhood. “But I betrayed you… Let my ambition and pride consume me and drive me to throwing everything you taught me away…”
“But it was I who lead you down that path in the first place,” Celestia responded, “I was the one who ignored your cries for something more than just a teacher.”
“You did nothing wrong!” Sunset beat a hoof helplessly against the shoulder of her mentor, “I was the one-”
“Sunset Shimmer.” Celestia’s calm tone stopped Sunset’s struggles, “When I first brought you in from off the streets of Canterlot, I made you a promise. Do you remember what it was?”
Sunset sniffled as she shoved her muzzle into the great white body in front of her. “Please… this is all my fault…”
“I promised you that I would take care of you. I would give you a shoulder to cry upon, and ears to listen to your problems.” She pulled the crying unicorns face to her own leaving them forehead to forehead, or at least as much as their horns would allow.
“I promised that I would be your adoptive mother. And I failed you. First when I stopped listening to your troubles. Second, when I started pushing you away instead of comforting you. And finally,” Celestia paused as she pulled her face away to look at her wayward daughter, “When I let my failures cause you to run away.”
Sunset collapsed to the floor, trying to hide away from the mother she had thought lost to her. She shuddered as sobs tore through her, the actions redoubling when Celestia lay down beside her, one large wing laid over top like a blanket.
“Sunset, will you let me into your life again? Will you let me try and be your mother, one more time?”
Sunset steadied herself as much as her sobbing would allow, nodding as she wrapped her mother in a tight embrace.
Sunset studied the slow swirling of the coffee, mind void of errant thoughts. Slowly she rose one hand up, palm facing her, and wiggled the fingers. Having returned from Equestria late last night she was still somewhat stuck on a Pony’s train of thoughts. If she weren’t a unicorn, she would no doubt hold the digits in higher praise.
“I’m telling you Bon Bon, relax. It was her who wanted to set this meeting up in the first place.”
“And all I’m saying, Lyra, is that doesn’t it seem a little suspect? I mean, you saw how she was at the assembly last week!”
“Would you two calm down? It appears that she is waiting for us.”
“You mean someone is even more punctual than you, Tavi?”
“Oh hush, Vinyl.” The slate skinned teen snarked, as she pulled a chair out from the table Sunset was seated at. “I do apologize if we are late dear. I do hope you haven’t been waiting long?”
“No worries, Octavia.” Sunset replied with a smile, before nodding at the other three girls accompanying her. “Lyra, Bon Bon, Vinyl, how are you four doing?”
“Can’t complain, Shimmy.” Vinyl said, purple shades flipped up on top of her head as her carmine eyes studied the amber teen.
“Been surviving,” Lyra started, before sighing. “That no cell phones punishment is a drag!”
“Lyra! Would it kill you to have even a modicum of social understanding?” Bon Bon whispered harshly, “Plus, I think that we got off a little lightly all things considering.”
“You are aware that she is sitting right before us, right loves?” Octavia stated as she watched the two “best friends” shrink down. “Sorry Sunset, though you must forgive us. We never expected to hear from you again, all things considered.”
Sunset held her hands up disarmingly, “No worries, Octavia. Truth be told, it was Vinyl that inspired me to call this meeting.”
“Me?” A snow white finger pointed back at it’s owner, who had set down the menu she was looking at. “What did I do?”
Sunset grinned, before reaching down and producing a certain set of knocks on the wooden table.
“You, uh, heard that, huh?” The snow white fields of Vinyl’s cheeks were replaced with red as she blushed in embarrassment. “I never thought you would hear that honestly, never took my mixes as your sort of tunes.”
“A friend from Crystal Prep lent me an earbud when that tune came up. Truth be told, I wasn’t certain it was intentional or not but seeing as how you are reacting I guess I was true?”
“Vinyl, what is she talking about?” Asked Bon Bon.
“Well, ya see-”
“Can I get you four anything to drink?”
Vinyl was cut off by an incredibly peppy voice, the table’s server having come over to help it’s new guests.
“I would just like a cup of earl grey, if I may.”
“A french vanilla for me.”
“Virgin Irish coffee for me.”
“Coffee, two cream and four sugar.”
“Vinyl, this is not some sort of drive through!” Octavia admonished as the the waitress departed, “You have to add it yourself.”
“Yes, quite!” Vinyl snarked, attempting to dictate in an over exaggerated posh accent. “Pip pip cheerio! God save the queen and what for.”
Octavia face palmed, if only to hide the giggles she was having a hard time controlling.
“And you, Lyra, what’s with this virgin crap?” Vinyl continued, “You scared of having your world rocked again like your first time with Bon Bon there?”
Lyra’s mint skin shot pure red as she spluttered in confusion, while Bon Bon wore a shocked appearance. “What the- Vinyl! We are in public!” the confectioner whispered harshly.
“Whatever, we’re all of age here so what’s wrong with enjoying it a little?” Vinyl asked, as if the answer was obvious.
“Well I still got a couple months before I can.” Sunset pipped in, not wanting to tell the four present that she was actually older than them by quite a bit.
Vinyl harrumphed as she scowled playfully at the amber teen, and was about to start talking again before Octavia cut her off. “I do believe that this get together was more to discuss then just drink tea or coffee,” She reached out and rested her hand on Sunset’s forearm. “Would I be wrong, love?”
Sunset chuckled, “Ever the purposeful one, huh Octavia? I must say that you got yourself a winner, Scratchie.” Vinyl beat her chest is pride as Octavia blushed lightly. “But yes, I did have a reason to call you four here. You did remember not to tell anyone else, correct?”
The other four nodded in agreement, letting Sunset sigh in relief. “Good, because I didn’t need to deal with anyone else from CHS anytime soon.”
“So why did you ask for us, and us alone?” asked Bon Bon, quizzical look on her face.
“Well, to thank you four really.”
The three musicians and single candy enthusiast looked at Sunset in silence.
“What?” came the short reply from Lyra.
“Really, you four were each one of the few who didn’t attack me, to believe me when I said I wasn’t Anon-A-Miss, and I really appreciate it.”
“But we could have done more.” Octavia said calmly, taking her tea from the waitress who had just delivered the groups beverages. “We could have stood up for you.”
“It’s fine. I think we all expected the Others to do it, so I can’t fault you for not. And by the time it became obvious enough for you four that I needed it, I was probably already gone from the school.” Sunset smiled warmly at the four that sat with her.
“Yeah, those bitches should be ashamed at how they treated you! Toying you along for so long only to throw you away when-”
“Bon Bon! Public!” Lyra had to reach out to calm down her friend, who appeared ready to shed blood.
“Yes, I must say I do not know what has come over you, dear.” Octavia said, looking at her friend in concern. “We all agree those five were particularly heartless, but no need to slink down to their level.”
Sunset cleared her throat, drawing attention back to her. “I’d prefer if we didn’t bring mention of those five, if it is fine with all of you?”
The four nodded, before Sunset opened up again, “So how did you four know it wasn’t me?”
They shared glances, before looking back at Sunset.
“Because,” Vinyl said, “None of the secrets we told you were ever spread.”
“The fact that me and Bon Bon had our first time was a pretty big secret we trusted you with, but not a soul in the school outside of the five of us knows.” Lyra stated with a friendly smile.
“Or the fact that me and Vinyl are dating.” Octavia said, “The public outcry would likely be immense that someone who is prim and proper as I would be dating someone who appears so opposite like Vinyl.”
“Or the fact that you two are actually sisters.”
Octavia and Vinyl both did rather spectacular spit takes, ones that Lyra would take to her grave as some of the best she ever saw.
“Damnit, Bon Bon! Not everyone is as understanding as you lot!” Vinyl was glaring furiously at the pink and blue haired friend.
“Love is love,” Sunset said shrugging, “as long as a mutual understanding between all involved parties is achieved, I don’t see why it should be such an issue.”
“While we deeply appreciate your understand, Sunset, you do understand why it is we keep it so… under wraps, as it were?” Octavia said calmly.
“Well, I mean how many others have you told that you two are related? I doubt most people would care that you two are dating if they didn’t know that fact.” Bon Bon asked, as though the statement was obvious.
Vinyl and Octavia shared a long stare, before they both did double face palms, so perfectly in sync that it was like they were mirror images.
“So obvious!” Octavia grumbled.
“Would make so much sense!” Vinyl groaned.
The other three laughed at the sudden understanding of the two musicians. “Now that that crisis is averted, I do have to say again that I deeply appreciate that at least some of my friends understood me.”
“We’re sorry that we didn’t do more.” Lyra said, hands reaching out and cupping Sunset’s own. “And we are glad that you are still willing to talk to us.”
“Yeah! Who else would I get for my awesome guitar lines for my mixings?” Vinyl said boisterously.
“And who else would I enjoy cappuccinos on hot summer days with?” Bon Bon added.
“Or someone that actually cares about their academics?” Octavia added as she stared at the other three.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever miss valedictorian.” Vinyl huffed, arms crossed.
“I know it seems like a big deal to you four, but I’m doing my best to move past it.” Sunset said, “I just wanted to let you four know how I felt and such.”
“Well does that mean you’ll get Celestia to let us have our phones back during school hours?” Lyra’s face lit up in barely repressed hope.
Adagio Dazzle had seen and heard much in her long life. Kingdoms risen only to crumble. Great philosophers martyred for their beliefs. She and her sisters had sown disharmony and negativity across two different worlds.
“I am.” Sunset responded, “Celestia has given me permission to bring you three back to Equestria.”
Adagio Dazzle had seen and heard much in her long life.
But nothing would prepare her to return to the world of her birth, one that she had been banished from because of what she had to do to survive.
Is everything in place on your end?
Yup! We have moved the portal to just outside of Ponyville so as to cause little to no damage when they cross.
I’ll go and let them know it’s time then.
Sunset closed the journal emblazoned with her cutie mark, stashing it lovingly in her locker.
“So…” Aria never seemed like she could emit such soft and quiet tones, her regular crass and blunt nature a complete opposite. “After all this time, we finally get to go back home, huh?”
Sunset nodded, smile on her face as she looked at her three friends. “I’m envious of you three, y’know? You three get to experience something that CHS stole from me. Redemption.”
“But we already forgave you!” Sonata said, blindly missing the point.
“I think, Sonata,” Adagio interjected, “Sunset means that we are getting to go and enjoy Equestria again, free from the dark magics that we used to survive for so long.” The shortest Siren turned her eyes, much more aged than they should be, to look at the unicorn. “It’s going to be strange, going back after so long. Even though we had tried so hard to drain that cesspool of a school of it’s Equestrian magic in hopes of going back, we all sort of knew that it wouldn’t have been enough.”
The other two Sirens nodded, Sunset smiling sadly at them. “Well I think we should hurry, they are waiting on us after all. I’m also envious of you three that you know so much about ancient Equestria!” Sunset was leading her three fellow Equestrians through the hallways of Crystal Prep, “I also wondered what it would be like to wake up in someplace I knew, only to find out that I had been asleep for hundreds of years! Everything I once knew had changed, and I now had to try and fit in again.”
“I, uh,” Sonata said looking down sadly, “I don’t remember much about Equestria… I remember we lost and got sent here by that bearded unicorn, but I only have little glimpses of what life was during or even before that.”
“We all have difficulties remembering our pasts,” Aria added, “Me and Adagio remember a little bit more, but we have a hard time recalling anything before we started feeding on negative emotions.”
“The best thing to say,” Adagio added solemnly, “Is that we have no past there. We will be lucky if people don’t ask your royalty to banish us once again.”
Sunset listened quietly to each of the three. This really was much more than returning home for them, this was going to be them attempting to find their pasts. She stopped in front of the washroom door.
“Really? A washroom?” Aria asked indignantly, “Whose idea was that?”
Sunset chuckled as she herded the three in, “Well it’s kinda hard to lock a portal location in from another world, just be happy Twilight managed to get it here at all.” She stopped in front of the closed door, watching as the three other women reacted to the Equestrian magic that was flowing from the door.
“I’ll be going last, just to make sure that this room is locked up and such, you three head on through and I will be right behind you!” Sunset gave a friendly smile as she shooed the three towards the door. “Go on, don’t be scared.”
“Doubt it could be worse than what Star Swirl did.” Aria shrugged as she passed through.
“Not a fear in the world, that one.” Adagio commented as she walked through.
Sonata went last, turning to look at the back of Sunset who was fiddling with the lock to the room. “You’ll be right behind me… right?”
Sunset turned and looked at the puppy dog eyes the former villainess was giving her. How could she have ever been evil? Sunset wondered, nodding and smiling. “I’ll be right behind you.”
Sonata gave one last look before she took a deep breath, before a large smile came to her face.
“Geronimo!” She bellowed as she jumped into the portal door, causing Sunset to shake her head at the sudden one-eighty of the girls emotions.
“Best not to keep any parties waiting.” She muttered to herself, before walking slowly through the portal herself.
Light blinded Sunset as she was spat out from the portal, causing her to flail blindly before collapsing in a pile of limbs. Collapsing in a pile of limbs on something soft and… warm?
“Ow! Why are you so big and heavy?” Shouted a naturally singsong voice from underneath Sunset.
“I-I beg your pardon?” Sunset said, as she slowly cleared her vision and stood up as she continued to blink, “I am not heavy! Nor large! You’re… just…” Sunset stopped talking as she realized what she had landed on. “S-Sonata…? Is that… you?”
“What do you mean, ‘Is that you?’? Did the history books not properly show what us Sirens looked like?”
“I think,” Adagio’s voice came from behind Sunset, “she means the fact that we are Ponies, Sonata.”
Raspberry eyes slowly blinked open, staring at the pale cerulean limbs spread in front of her. Limbs ending in hooves was not that surprising to the Siren, however she soon noticed the lack of fin-like membrane between her cannon and forearm, causing her to rapidly stand up. Or at least attempt to, as she fell again into a mess of gangly limbs.
“Really?” Aria’s voice asked, Sunset noticing as a light fuchsia earth pony walked into view. “How could you fail at standing on your own legs, Sonata?”
“Bwaaaah?” Sunset let out a confuzzled sound as she tried to comprehend what she was seeing. Or rather, what she wasn’t seeing. All around the clearing just outside Ponyville stood a rather strange assortment of characters. Sunset Shimmer stood closest to the portal, noticing Princess Twilight as well as both Princess Celestia and Princess Luna off to the side. Twilight looked like her mind was utterly boggled at the sight before her, while Celestia and Luna looked at the three ponies standing just ahead of Sunset, a light fuchsia Earth Pony, a pale cerulean Pegasus, and a golden Unicorn, who seemed more interested with hoof studying the horn jutting out of her head.
“Well excuse me, Aria!” Sonata grumbled as she stood up, huffing at her sister. “It’s not like it’s been thousands of years since we were last here!” Sonata soon paused as she realized what she was looking at, before looking down at her own four legs standing steady on the ground. “What the hell!?” She shouted as she started dancing from leg to leg, “What’s going on? I thought we were Sirens, not Ponies!?”
“I have the feeling, judging by the reactions of our hosts,” Adagio had finally started talking, walking forward and standing beside Aria, “that this was unexpected, though maybe,” her eyes peered over at the royal sisters, “not entirely so?”
Everyone present, Sonata having been forced to stop moving when Sunset used her magic to freeze all four of her hooves onto the earth, stopped and stared at Equestria’s diarchy, questions filling the air even though nothing was being said.
“You would be correct, Adagio Dazzle,” Celestia started, striding forth as Luna followed closely behind, “that Luna and myself had held hopes that maybe something like this would occur.”
“Something like this?” Sunset asked, utterly baffled at what was starting to unfold. “Do you mean you had a feeling that they would appear like this? Did you set up the portal to give them these forms?”
“We did no such thing,” Luna stated, “though you are correct to guess that mayhaps we had. Nay, this is merely the same as when you or Twilight Sparkle travel from one world to the other.”
“Um, what?” Twilight said, “The portal gives you a form natural to the world you travel to such as me and Sunset turning into Humans, or Spike into a dog, but then we turn back into our natural forms when we return to Equestria. So why are they not Sirens?”
“Maybe this is what they mean.” Adagio said, “though I have no recollection of our… ‘natural form’ being that of Equines.”
“That is not to surprising.” Came Celestia’s calming tone, though it carried hint’s of knowledge into the current events. “Dealing with dark magics for that long can cause lasting effects.”
“Can someone please tell me what Celestia is talking about?” Sonata asked lamely, “And in, like, something simple?”
“She means, apparently, that we are ponies, numbnuts.” Aria stated dully, “Though like Adagio says, I’m not sure if I buy it.”
Celestia looked over the three Sirens, before looking to Sunset and Twilight. “Twilight, may we borrow your library? I think it is time we talk about some ancient history.”
The thought of hosting Celestia, talking about ancient history of all things, was enough to cause Twilight’s head to reach terminal velocity as she nodded. She led the delegation through her hometown, taking it slowly to allow Sonata to get used to having to walk on four legs instead of two.
“Now, where to start?” Celestia started after all present had taken seats around the room. “As I am sure Twilight and Sunset are aware, there is indeed a myth about the Sirens from ancient times, of how they threatened to ensnare Equestria and how they had to be banished.”
“That really hurt!” Sonata cried out, absentmindedly rubbing her head with a hoof as she remembered the pains of the event.
“We do apologize on Star Swirls actions,” Luna commented, “but you must understand we had no other choices available.”
“But what about the Elements of Harmony?” Twilight asked, “Couldn’t they have been used?”
Luna looked down in shame, as Celestia rubbed a wing over her sister’s back. “At that time, Luna and mine’s control over the Elements were starting to waver. Luna had started down the path to Nightmare Moon, and I was blind to see it happen. As such the Elements refused to help.”
“So you had to have Star Swirl banish them? Why couldn’t you two? Or either of you for that matter?” Sunset asked, perplexity crossing her muzzle. “I mean, you two are two of the most powerful beings in existence, right?”
“You must understand, we were not immune to the powers of the Sirens, as I am sure that our counterparts proved on the other world.” Luna said, “They had caused us to start our own bickering, which preoccupied my sister, so we called upon Star Swirl one last time.” She turned her ethereal maned head to the three fellow ancients, “That was the last action Star Swirl took, sadly. The magic he used took his very life.”
“That still doesn’t explain why we look like ponies.” Aria said with all the subtlety gravitas of a rocket launcher.
“That because, Aria Blaze,” Celestia said as she leveled her gaze onto the three sisters, “just like your sisters, Adagio Dazzle and Sonata Dusk, you three are indeed ponies. Naturally born Equestrians from a time long ago.”
Sunset let out a tired sigh as she pulled the collar of her leather jacket up, attempting to wrap her face in as much protection as possible from the raging of the wind and ice that was whipping around her face, freezing the slow tracts of her tears on her reddening cheeks. Pausing from her endless march, her leaden legs thankful for the pausing of motion, Sunset turned her eyes upwards, attempting to pierce the veil of snow and sleet that was hiding everything past her nose. She sighed again before starting once again to lift and place one frozen leg in front of the other, wondering where she went wrong.
Not even an hour ago, she had attempted to meet her friends- or rather former friends it seems from their actions- and give one last argument as to why she was innocent, that she was not behind this Anon-A-Miss on MyStable. She thought back to the start of her week, her emotions high from the enjoyment of the sleep-over at Applejack’s, and how much she now wished that those emotions could have continued, unsullied by the threat of fellow students attacking her, first verbally then physically, and the scorn of those she thought of as more than just friends.
They were family. They said it themselves.
Obviously it meant nothing, as come Wednesday, the day after the Rainboom’s sleepover at Rarity’s, she had been disowned. Somehow the photos of the group’s little fashion show had been uploaded onto the internet, somehow acquired by Anon-A-Miss, and used to both embarrass her former friends, and to slander the good name that Sunset had attempted to gain for herself since the Fall Formal. Everything she had done, ranging from community service, to donating what little time or money she had… She thought it was getting somewhere.
Then the Battle of the Bands happened, and it appeared that it was all for naught. In the end she helped save the school from the Sirens, playing a major part in the final defeat of the three Equestrian beings, and it seemed like she was finally forgiven…
So why was she slogging through ankle high snow drifts in the middle of the biggest blizzard the region had seen in years?
The Rainbooms made it clear that they no longer wanted her.
The students of CHS made it abundantly clear that they shared that opinion, as Sunset had spent all of the day skipping school, afraid she would be attacked again.
One of her hand sorted through one of the pockets of her leather jacket, before bringing the object that caused her so much panic that she skipped school. It was a simple piece of black plastic with a little yellow slide that, when pushed, caused a small, thin, but very sharp blade to come out. Commonly known as a box cutter, this item had been used by a student to attack Sunset, attempting to gain vengeance for the spreading of a secret that she had once again been framed for. Sunset managed to avoid the attack, the student heavyset and obviously not used to such motion, and used the student’s charge to trip the forward moving youth, causing the knife in his hand to fall to the ground.
Sunset had scrambled to pick up the small blade, holding it shakily in front of her, brain frozen for a moment in shock at the fact that someone had just tried to attack her, before she ran away from the school, away from students so hellbent on getting rid of the fiery haired young woman. She flipped the item over in her hands, sliding the blade out and looking at the sharp glint of the blade from the overhead streetlights.
She should have let the student finish the attack.
Fresh tears assaulted her eyes, as she paused once more, looking around and trying to get some kind of landmark to help her recognize where she was. Bright light poured out of a building ahead, a business perhaps she thought, still open even as the blizzard tore through the city.
She couldn’t feel her legs, yet still she tried to will them forward, slowly rising from one shaky leg to the other before, without warning, the frozen ground rushed up to greet her. She laid face down in the snow for a moment, just trying to find something to grasp onto. Her former friends had abandoned her. The princess who reformed her refused to respond to desperate pleas. If she attempted to return home…
Sunset slowly rolled over onto her back, her arms flopping uselessly around her before contacting something. It was small, her fingers slowly grasping it and bringing it before her eyes. The box cutter. Sunset made her decision. If no one wanted her, if no one cared about her, then she would leave. Leave everyone, and everything. She slowly reached her freezing, aching fingers across, up to the cuff of her sleeve, before pulling the pop together clasps apart and rolling the leather down her arm.
She took the blade, broken from the fall somehow, and drew the ragged, chipped blade down her arm.
We trusted you, Sunset.
Crimson liquid bubbled and pooled around the blade as it broke her skin.
We thought you were our friend!
She drew the blade down, the crimson continuing to bubble up in a maddened rush to meet the frozen air.
How could you do this?
The blade continued its slow path down the frozen skin of the teen, who was completely unaware of any feeling now, everything having gone numb.
After all we’ve been through together?
A single tear came to Sunset’s face, freezing instantly from the cold.
You must’ve just been pretending to be our friend, when all along you were just after our secrets!
Sunset pulled the blade away and held the arm above her head, unfazed as she felt droplets fall onto her face, splattering sloppily across the pale flesh. She put the blade down momentarily, using the now bloody arm to tear the sleeve down her other arm, before grabbing the blade once more.
You’re not our friend!
Sunset brought the cold metal down her arm, quicker than she had with the previous arm.
Yer not welcome here, Sunset!
The instrument clattered to the ground, followed by her arms, as she stared up at the falling snow. At least here, in some unknown part of a city, on a world that she wasn’t even born on, she could make things right...
The cerise skinned woman waved farewell as she exited the business, a long black bag protecting the coat that she had just picked up from the elements that were raging outside. She hoped that her old beater of a vehicle would start in this cold, suddenly regretting not listening to her boyfriend of many years when he suggested she buy a new one. Shaking her head she started down the road, before pausing. There was something laying in the snow, judging by the way the fluffy white flakes were piled. She slowly crept forward, wondering what it was, before pausing in shock when she noticed what it was. She screamed as she dropped her bag, rushing forward and kneeling as she dug the sunken figure out of the freezing snow. Her cries went answered by the shopkeeper, and older, portly gentleman, who rushed out, broom brandished to help defend his customer. Instead he found her cradling a young woman.