The Battle of the Bands had ended days ago. Canterlot was beginning to return to normal from the massive amounts of magic released during the event. The students of Canterlot High spoke of it to no one outside of the student body, of course, since even the mention of magic being real would get them committed. This did not stop them from expressing gratitude to the Rainbooms and their newest member, former Queen Bee Sunset Shimmer, for saving them from being mind controlled... again. The group celebrated another victory over the bad guy, having chased the Sirens off.
Said Sirens were now sitting at the back of a fast food restaurant, keeping to themselves. From anyone passing by, they would appear to be in serious need of a good night's sleep. Dark bluish coloring could be seen beneath their eyes and their usually vibrant hair had fallen flat, dulled in comparison to its former splendor. Normally healthy glowing skin now faded to a sickly pale. A lax observer would think all three extremely tired. However, if one were to look closer, they would notice something was... off.
Sonata held her head in her hand, forcing herself to inhale and exhale evenly. Every few moments, her breath would catch, chest halting in a rise before the blue-skinned woman coughed slightly and resumed her measured breaths. Aria wiped sweat from her brow as she leaned back against the seat. Already, a pile of napkins had formed in front of her, all soaked through as the twin-tailed middle sister attempted to quell the flow as best she could. Adagio appeared the most put together, merely rubbing her fingers against her temples, as if driving off a minor headache. In actuality, none of the Sirens were at all together, but in excruciating pain.
Death was not something beings like Sirens ever needed to contemplate before. They were creatures of Equestria, having lived over a thousand Equestrian years in this miserable world without aging a single day. To make matters worse, time moved differently in this world than in Equestria, so they were this world’s equivalent of at least two or three thousand years old. Clearly, death wasn’t something they needed to worry about before.
But that had been because of their nature as Sirens. Their pendants, assigned to each siren at birth, kept them living, kept them healthy, allowed them to gain the energy they needed to keep going. With the absence of the jewels, none of that was accessible and death became eminent. So here the trio sat, in silence and each other’s company, waiting for their final hour to end.
Adagio glanced briefly to her sisters and resisted a sigh. She was more inclined toward a humorless chuckle anyway. All that talk of power, of others adoring them? She may as well be the one pulling the rope around her sisters' necks. As the oldest, it was her duty to keep them safe, but she had only led them toward their deaths. While one could argue that it was due to sheer luck that the other band had managed to defeat them, that did nothing to soothe the ache in the flaxen woman's chest at knowing it was still her plan.
Adagio had been the puppetmaster, the one to orchestrate the infiltration and the one planning the takeover. She had played each piece carefully, had moved each pawn, knight, bishop and rook where they needed to be for her to secure victory and had even nearly struck down the king. Only for the queen to return with a fiery vengeance and shatter her pieces with a single song. Boiled down to everything... their current starvation was Adagio's fault and the helplessness she felt at not being able to at least save her beloved sisters twisted her stomach worse than the pain ringing through her head.
Aria watched the shame play on her older sister's face amongst the distinct twinges of pain. Violet eyes surveyed the self-loathing in Adagio's once-lively eyes and Aria felt a tightening in her throat. Nothing she could ever say would stave off Adagio's guilt, not when they were so close to death as it was. They had run out of chances, run out of options, and, because it had been Adagio directing the entire time, the films of their entire lives were going to burn over a coincidence. One song, one song had been all it had taken to reduce them to this, toneless Sirens, immortal beings now standing on Death's porch. At least Aria had the added padding of saying she was just following her big sister's plan. Adagio could only take all of the blame on her shoulders.
“Dagi, I don’t want to die yet,” Sonata murmured softly, laying her head down on the table. Adagio felt her heart sink at the innocence in her sister’s voice and she gingerly patted the blue hair. The day following the Battle, they had argued over who was most at fault over the ordeal. At the time, Adagio had attempted sending blame to Sunset Shimmer as, without her, they would have achieved victory. Aria had told Adagio that the entire mess had been her doing and she needed to own up to it. Neither could find common ground with the other. After much screaming, Aria and Adagio had nearly come to blows before Sonata broke in and finished the fight for them.
“It doesn’t matter whose fault it is!” she had screamed. “We all chose this path and we’re all going to die because of it!”
That had allowed the situation to fully crash on the sisters as they touched the hollows of their throats, like they were doing now. Feeling the skin rise to meet them as they fought to breathe properly, the sisters couldn’t stop the pang of loss at the emptiness in their neckwear.
“When we get reincarnated, I’m going to kill those rainbow freaks,” Aria snarled lowly.
Adagio shook her head sadly. “We’re in a different world, Aria. There’s no guarantee the siren reincarnation will work. It didn’t for… them…”
They grew quiet, thinking of the sisters they had lost long ago to the Purge of their kind. They had been too small to know what was going on then, but with time, they had understood and grown bitter at becoming the last of their kind. Their rage at knowing why they were alone had solidified in their maturity and had been the prime reason their jewels only sucked up negative energy. Not that it mattered now. Equestria would be completely free of a 'siren problem' soon. The last of them were about to take the species to the grave.
The trio lapsed into silence once more and went back to focusing their breathing. Sonata’s frequently broke into staccato beats and Aria leaned forward to help her get it back on track again. Adagio handed the violette napkins to wipe her cold sweat with. There was nothing either could do for Adagio. Her head felt ready to implode on itself and only her constant rubbing eased a portion of the pain. It was only a matter of time now.
Footsteps sounded nearby and the trio glanced up slightly in confusion. They were at the back of the restaurant. Who could be wanting to be back here? A familiar voice spoke up nearby and the Sirens resisted the urge to groan. The last thing they needed was one of their enemies finding them like this. At least if they were going to die, they would rather do it naturally than at the hand of those who hate them. Unfortunately, fate appeared to be in an unforgiving mood tonight as the voice only drew closer.
“Yeah, I’ll meet you after school tomorrow,” Sunset Shimmer murmured as she said a quick farewell to Applejack and then hung up her phone. As she was storing it into her bag, she bumped into a table and heard an aggravated groan. Turning quickly to apologize, the orange woman paused and cocked her head.
“Adagio?” she asked slowly, taking in the three sisters. “Aria? Sonata?”
“In the flesh,” Adagio huffed softly, muttering under her breath, "For however much longer."
“I’ve been looking for you three since the end of the Battle,” Sunset told them excitedly. “I wanted to see how you were doing. You ran away too fast for me to talk to you and by the time we got off the hill, you were already long gone.”
Sonata opened a lid and rasped, “Thanks for the worry, I guess…”
“We’re not interested in that whole ‘friendship is magic’ thing, though,” Aria grumbled, accepting another napkin from Adagio. “So, if you’re here to ‘convert’ us or whatever, you can leave now.”
Sunset stared at the three women in confusion. It had only been a few days, maybe a week, since the Battle of the Bands, but the Sirens looked much worse for wear. Their usually vibrant hair was limp and dull, their colorful complexions faded to an unhealthy pale gray and large bags housed underneath their eyes. While this was usually a sign of some sort of sickness, nothing else seemed to be physically wrong; they just looked like sleep-deprived teens.
Despite this, Sunset Shimmer could feel something… wrong coming off the trio. Their lackluster expressions and labored breathing told a different tale than what their appearances were giving off. Sonata’s head lay on the table and her chest only barely rose and fell against the surface. Aria’s expression oozed exhaustion and fatigue, and Adagio’s eyes had lost all of the mischievous light that once shone in them. The Sirens looked... broken.
Her staring did not go unnoticed and Aria glared up at her, snapping, “Can we help you?”
Sunset blinked at the her for a moment. “What’s happened to you three?” she asked quietly. “Something’s wrong…”
“Isn’t it obvious?” Aria growled hoarsely. “We’re dying, you moron!”
“Dying?” Sunset repeated in dawning horror. “Wait… y-you mean… your pendants d-didn’t just power you up, they kept you healthy?”
“Without the ability to feed on emotional energy, we will starve to death,” Adagio explained wearily. “Human food prolongs our lives, but even that won’t stave off the hunger much longer. We will end up wasting away.”
This made the blonde-streaked redhead swallow thickly. She and her friends hadn’t even thought about the implications of what the jewels breaking could have meant beyond stopping the Sirens from hypnotizing people. When Twilight had explained the trio to the group, she had only told them what she had gotten from the history book. None of them thought the gems meant anything more than a way to control others. Even after the Battle ended, Twilight had said they were three regular human girls now and Sunset had believed it. Once again, not thinking about the effects of her actions on others had caused someone to get hurt.
“I-I’m sorry,” Sunset breathed, hands pulled close to her chest.
Aria scoffed and lowered her head to the table to join Sonata’s. “Just leave us alone,” she grunted as she closed her eyes tiredly.
“We understand your compassion,” Adagio sighed to the standing woman. “But we would prefer our enemy not see us at the point of our demise.”
Sunset bit her lip and nodded, deciding to honor the wish. Reaching into her pocket, she laid a small box beside Adagio’s hand. “I-I got this for you yesterday,” Sunset murmured forlornly to the yellow siren. “When we first met, I noticed your nervous tic, so I bought this to help you. I had planned to give it to you if ever we crossed paths again.” Sunset turned away, but glanced back and whispered, “I’m so sorry.”
As she strode away, Adagio looked to the box curiously. “Let’s open it,” Sonata prompted, drawing a faint nod from Aria.
“Can’t hurt at this point,” the purplette agreed.
Cautiously, Adagio opened the small red box and gasped to find a shining, purple, octafaceted gem nestled in the yellow fabric. Shaking fingers lifted the little jewel that was just smaller than her palm. Sonata and Aria watched her curiously as Adagio gently clipped the gem to her neckpiece. Suddenly, a jolt shook through the trio and identical gems appeared on Aria and Sonata’s neckpieces.
With the jewels came a sudden boost in energy. The trio felt their fatigue melt away, though the hunger was still present. “We can feed on energy again,” Adagio breathed, her usual smirk slowly spreading over her lips.
“But we can’t sing,” Aria pointed out. “How are we going to get the energy we need?”
“It doesn’t matter,” her leader stated. “We’ll figure that out, but I want to know why these ordinary gems gave us a new burst of power.” Looking to the exit, she rubbed at her gem speculatively. “I think we should watch Sunset Shimmer a bit more closely.”
Her sisters nodded and the three of them stood, stretching and cracking their joints. Their bodies were slowly restoring themselves with the knowledge that the three of them could feed once more. Hips swaying, Adagio led her sisters from the restaurant and out into the clear night. There wasn’t a breeze, but the air was moderately warm. Amethyst eyes turned up to the moon, followed by violet and magenta. The three Sirens took in their second chance with their usual smirks and set off in the direction of their home.