Role Reversal

by SamRose

First published

Accused of something she didn't do, Sunset does the only sensible thing to prove her innocence. Accept the accusations and flip them on their head.

Sunset is accused of spreading everyone’s secrets on a Mystable page calling itself Anon-a-Miss, losing all of her friends and reputation in the process.

But it seems the school forgot one thing.

Sunset Shimmer isn't one to be easily broken.

*This story is completed and is updating daily*

A story dearly inspired by wanting something different out of the Anon-a-Miss 'Genre' of fics. Many are wonderful stories, but at the end of the day, most tend to fall into the same couple of tropes with slight alterations, and many of those tropes are ones I'm not terribly fond of.

So with my ever present desire to take a well trod genre and flip it on its head, I present my own take on this story, and one I have not personally seen. So I hope I deliver on giving you something different from the others!

Pre-Read by the Wonderful and Loveable baes: Uria, the Sacred Beast and Sunny Days


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Winter in Canterlot had always been far too cold for its own good, and this one was turning into one of its coldest.

Sunset Shimmer slammed her apartment door closed, shivering as she brushed the last of the snow and ice off her shoulders. The lights of her high-rise apartment flickered on as she let out a cold sigh. A few steps led her to her heater, where a swift kick caused it to rattle to life. She rubbed her hands together and tugged her scarf a little tighter, waiting for the room to warm up as she turned and stared out the window.

She watched each speck of snow fall past the window, indicating that it was going to be another frozen night for North Canterlot, and she would have to pray that her heater survived the night.

A ping from her phone interrupted her thoughts and caused her to let out a groan. Digging into her pocket she pulled out the offending device and looked at the most recent update.

“Rainbow Dash nearly failed her test! What an idiot!”

“Like she’s the only one in school who gets bad grades…” Sunset grumbled underneath her breath, putting her phone away.

Anon-a-Miss was the terror of the school, threatening and harassing anyone they could get their hands on. It had started with her friends, and while they still seemed to be the ‘primary’ targets, most of CHS had been targeted in one post or another since then.

From bad hair days, to poor grades, to wearing the wrong outfit, to eating the wrong kind of food; it seemed that no secret too dumb or too small was safe from being uploaded for everyone in the school to mock and scorn.

The first waves of warm air washed over Sunset, letting her finally take off her scarf and slump against her couch to stare at the ceiling.

It had only been a couple of days since Anon-a-Miss had mysteriously showed up at school, and it had only taken two of those days for Sunset to be accused of being the one behind the website.

An almost laughable thought really, given that the secrets she’d had back in her hay day against the entire student body were so much worse than whatever petty gossip Anon-a-Miss was posting about.

But that wasn’t who she was anymore. She’d given up life as the queen bee of the school to have friends, to have a place in the school. Twilight Sparkle had seen to that.

Sunset had finally begun to trust the girls, even to the point of considering them as family. And then that family had tossed her aside. All because Anon-a-Miss was back to what Sunset Shimmer had been.

A bully.

She really didn’t have anyone else to blame but herself. If what she had wanted from the beginning was to be friends, she wouldn’t have spent years bullying the girls.

She wouldn’t have shoved Fluttershy into her locker, she wouldn’t have insulted Applejack to her face, she wouldn’t have destroyed Pinkie’s party decorations, she wouldn’t have sabotaged Rainbow’s soccer practices, and Rarity would’ve likely been Princess of the Spring Fling.

A long, groaning sigh escaped Sunset’s lips as her hand skimmed down her face. Just another day of her regretting the person she had decided to be for so long, and it having only hurt her in the long run. It cost her home, her power, and now,her friends.

“This never would’ve happened to the old Sunset Shimmer…” Sunset grumbled to herself.

That thought hung in the air for a moment longer than Sunset would’ve liked it to. It was out there and now it was floating around and she wanted to swat it away, but it persisted like a gnat.

Then it grew and took on its own form. Sunset’s face twisted, her nose wrinkled, her eyes squeezed shut, she pinched the bridge of her nose, and then out a long winding sigh as the realization was dawning upon her.

She was scheming.

And she liked what she was coming up with.

Sunset let out a grunt as she pushed herself up from the couch and made her way over to her computer, plopped down onto the seat and quickly booted it up. She went straight for the Anon-a-Miss page on MyStable and began to scour it for clues. Not for the first time either, but she was looking at it this time from a different perspective.

What if she had been the one posting these secrets? How would she be doing it?

Obviously things would be different, but the biggest difference was simply the scope of the secrets being revealed.

Not only would it have been impossible for her to have gathered all these secrets on her own, the pictures and videos were all from different angles and sources. The huge variety of sources meant that it was impossible for Anon-a-Miss to be any single person, and it only made sense if the content being posted wasn’t taken by Anon-a-Miss themselves.

In fact, the posts looked like they were being submitted to the website.

Submitted by the very victims the site was preying upon.

“Well now…” Sunset murmured under her breath at this revelation. “How did I miss that before…”

There was no obvious ‘Submit’ button on the MyStable page, and anyone who was posting secrets in the comments would be opening themselves to being flayed alive. But it was possible for people to send DMs to each other if they were on your friends list.

And a quick glance at Anon-a-Miss’s friends list showed that they were friends with nearly every single student in CHS.

“So that’s how it is, huh…” Sunset mumbled to herself, leaning against her desk as she tapped her fingers.

She sat there and she thought. And the more she thought, the more she realized she had more power to stop all of this than she had realized. She had options.

If the school wasn’t going to believe that she wasn’t Anon-a-Miss, then why fight that?

Sunset stood up from her computer and made her way to her improvised bedroom. She grabbed the journal to Princess Twilight and flipped to the most recent page, skipping past all the previous conversations the two had had about the Anon-a-Miss incident. She grabbed her pen, took a deep breath, then began to write.

“Dear Princess Twilight, Anon-a-Miss shows no sign of stopping or slowing down and no one is any closer to believing me when I say it isn’t me. So, I’ve decided to do something to fix the situation I find myself in. And I’m fairly certain you’re not going to like my plan, but I want to convince you of it, because I’m going to need your help to make it work…”

Chapter 1: Set Ablaze

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The morning sun brought light to the frozen world that was Canterlot High, indicating to everyone that it was time to start yet another miserable day of school.

There were only three days left of school before it let out for winter break, and at this point the students were just trudging along, hoping to get them out of the way so they could go on Christmas vacation already. The only solace they took was that the last day of break was usually a half-long free day where everyone would be gathered to watch a movie in the gymnasium.

So it was that the students of CHS dragged their feet along towards the school, wanting to get the day over with. However, they found themselves coming to a stop just outside of the school, looking up to see Sunset Shimmer standing firmly atop their proud Wondercolt statue.

One foot resting on the horse’s forehead, knee popped up in defiance, head scanning around at the gathering crowd. Her scarf billowed in the light breeze, seeming to add to the intimidation that she was radiating from her position.

The students had been silent for a while, but the longer she stood there not saying anything, the more they began to murmur amongst themselves. Their confusion was understandable, as even for Sunset Shimmer this was confusing behavior.

Sunset’s eyes continued to scan the growing crowd, keeping an eye out for a specific group of students. The longer she stood there the more students her message would reach, but if too many showed up before she started speaking than she was likely to cause a riot just as easily.

‘Keep things under control, maintain your power, don’t give them an inch.’ Sunset repeated in her mind. Her entire plan would make or break here, and if she lost control of the students then she could say goodbye to it ever working at all.

If the girls didn’t show up soon, she was going to have to start without them-

“What in tarnation is going on here?” Applejack’s voice managed to cut through the murmurs.

Sunset closed her eyes for a moment, a bit of relief washing over her before being replaced with a looming dread. She turned her head and opened her eyes, spotting the five girls, who were the most important to her in all of CHS, standing there staring up at her in confusion the same as everyone else.

That put everyone in place, and it was time for her plan.

She took one last deep breath of the biting winter air, letting it out slowly, before she forced herself back into a mindset she hadn’t been in for some time now. Her face fell into place once more, like slipping into an old glove she hadn’t worn in some time. An evil smirk appeared on her face as her eyes set into a glare onto the student body.

Sunset Shimmer was back.

“Students of CHS!” Sunset declared, the students that had gathered around quieting upon hearing the girl speak, “over the past few days, the school has been being tormented by a MyStable page known as ‘Anon-a-Miss’, with secrets being spread carefree and without regard for your reputation or privacy. And many of you have suspected that this style of malicious secret spreading was done none-other than by me!”

Sunset paused with a smirk, lifting a hand up to her head to curl her hair around her ear, closing her eyes as she spoke.

“And I suppose I could have been a bit more subtle about it, couldn’t I?” She darkly chuckled.

The gathered students’ eyes grew wide, murmurs instantly beginning to spread amongst them at Sunset’s blatant admission. She opened her eyes to see the looks of confusion, disgust, horror, and anger spread out across the student body. She even glanced at her old friends, noting that they all seemed to be reacting with an even bigger level of shock than the others.

Sunset couldn’t help but wonder if the shocked expressions meant they hadn’t fully believed that she was Anon-a-Miss before this moment, and that there had yet been hope that she would either be proven innocent or learn the error of her ways.

A fleeting hope that Sunset was now dashing right before their eyes.

‘Time to burn the rest of the bridges I suppose.’ Sunset internally sighed, before turning back to the rest of the student body.

“I do, however, have some corrections to make,” Sunset spoke loudly above the murmuring, quieting the students down again, “you see, there’s one big mistake that everyone has been making about the website. Because while it is true that I am Anon-a-Miss, the secrets I’ve been sharing? Only the first two were actually obtained by me.

“Every single other secret on the page was submitted to the page by you, my adoring public.”

Utter silence fell over the students of CHS at the reveal. No one dared to say a word now that Sunset had revealed the truth.

“Everyone who has submitted a secret to the page knows I’m telling the truth. And if for some reason you’re not yet convinced, I’d suggest for you to take another look at the source of all of the photos. After all, do you think I’m capable of hacking your phones? Of being in every corner of the school at once? Even with magic that would be quite the feat for someone like me.” Sunset laughed, flipping her hair for effect as she scanned over the crowd.

“And I have the records of every single person who sent in secrets to Anon-a-Miss. Your name, the secrets you submitted, and even your darkest secrets that you think no one else knows about. But I can assure you, I know about them just fine.” Her grin broadened.

“I set up Anon-a-Miss as a test. A test to see if you all would turn on yourselves like a pack of rabid wolves if your secrets were revealed. And I have to say, you have not disappointed! This has been an extremely entertaining experiment, and you all played your roles as lab rats perfectly.” Sunset shook her head, tucking her hair behind her ear again as she spoke.

“So! I hope you all can live with yourselves knowing just how terribly you all betrayed your friends. My little website will remain for the time being, but I’m curious to see how you all will treat it now that you know the truth.” Sunset let out a practiced villainous laugh, one that came straight from the height of her villainy days.

With her announcement finished, Sunset jumped from the Wondercolt statue, landing with a loud crunch into the snow before standing up and dusting herself off. The students around her backed up wearily, not wanting to be near Sunset as she made her way into the school, parting the crowd for her.

No one said a word as she walked away, too stunned by that brash announcements and the reveal behind everything. The girls didn’t know how to take this news or the confirmation of Sunset’s betrayal, and most importantly of all…

The Cutie Mark Crusaders were in the most shock out of anyone.

Word spread fast about the incident that morning at the Wondercolts statue, and soon the entire school was aware about all of the confessions Sunset Shimmer had made. And so it was that she found every student was avoiding her again, just like they had when she was Queen of the school.

Not that any of it made Sunset particularly happy. She’d worked hard to dig herself out of the villain hole she’d gotten herself into and had wanted to stay on everyone’s good side. The fact that things had resulted in her being forced to play the villain role once more left a nasty weight in her gut. Anxiety and guilt frayed at her emotions, but she forced it all to the side to maintain her facade.

Her plan was working. That was the main thing she kept in her mind every time she felt her mask starting to crack or break.

The Anon-a-Miss website hadn’t updated in hours that day, when normally by lunch time there’d be a minimum of 20 new secrets spilled out about the school. Even more if it was a busy day.

Instead, the website had been deadly silent. Either the students had finally wised up and stopped sending in secrets, or Anon-a-Miss knew that they were in hot water and had decided to back off for good.

In either case, it accomplished exactly what Sunset wanted.

Secrets weren’t being spread around anymore, and that was all that mattered.

“Hey, Sunset!” A blue hand slammed against the locker she had been opening. “We need to talk!”

Sunset turned and saw a rather angry Dash glaring at her, turning further to see the rest of the girls looking various levels of upset as well.

‘Knew this was coming.’ Sunset mentally sighed, turning herself around fully and crossing her arms. She’d managed to avoid the girls up until this moment, but she knew she’d eventually be talking to them about this morning. It wasn’t a conversation she was looking forward to, but one that had to be had.

“What has gotten into you, darling?” Rarity spoke up, expressing everyone’s exasperation. “Why on Earth would you turn the whole school against itself like this!?”

“You were doing so well! You were being a good person!” Pinkie added, her eyes wide and puppy-dog like as she spoke. “Why did you turn into such a meanie-pants again!?”

“Well, I could try and explain it to you all, but somehow I get the feeling you wouldn’t believe me even if I did.” Sunset shook her head, a smirk forming on her face. “All that matters is that I’m on top of the school again, where I’ve always belonged. And isn’t that what’s most important?”

“You were supposed to be our friend!” Fluttershy spoke up, hiding behind Applejack and trying to hide the obvious tears forming in her eyes. “We trusted you, and you…! You USED us!”

“The whole school is rowdier than a bull at a rodeo, and what do you have to show for it all? Power? Infamy?” Applejack grunted, glaring daggers at Sunset. “It just ain’t right Sunset.”

“I can assure you, Applejack, that what might seem wrong to you, seems oh-so-right to me.” Sunset chuckled. “And let’s face it, it doesn’t matter whether I’m lying or telling the truth anymore does it? You girls are going to believe what you want about me, and it’s a hole I dug myself. So I’m going to continue to use my power to put myself at the top of this school, and before you realize it, things will be better off than they were before.” She lifted a hand and pointed at the five girls.

“So if you truly know what’s best for all of us, you’ll stay out of my way until this is all over, and no one will be hurt in the end.”

“You’re making a mistake, Sunset.” Applejack said simply, crossing her arms. “You’re going to end up sad and alone from all of this.”

“You make it sound like I don’t prefer it that way.” Sunset shook her head. “Now if you’re quite done giving me the ‘friendship lecture’, I have places to go and people to see.”

“...I miss the Sunset Shimmer that was our friend…” Pinkie said, visibly deflating. “She was fun to be around…”

“Life’s full of disappointments, Pinkie. You just get used to it.” Sunset said simply.

“Come on girls, let’s go.” Dash spoke up, placing a hand on Pinkie’s shoulders as she glared at Sunset. The girls all shared one last glare at Sunset as they began to walk away, until Applejack was the only one left standing.

“Princess Twilight would be ashamed of you.” She said harshly. “I hope one day you’ll see what a fool you’ve been. For your sake.”

‘I’m sure that day will come sooner than you realize Applejack.’ Sunset thought to herself, watching the farmer follow after her friends. It was only once all of the girls were out of sight did turn to the lockers and press her head against them, sighing deeply.

That had hurt her soul a little more than she would have liked.

She didn’t want to be cruel to the girls at all, even after everything that had happened, but she couldn’t let them get caught up in everything she was planning. Besides, what she’d said was absolutely true, even if she had explained to them her plan of taking the fall for Anon-a-Miss, they wouldn’t believe that she wasn’t. The end result would be the exact same, but at least this way there was less pain tossed around.

She could handle the brunt of their pain anyway. As long as they had someone to hate, their wounds would heal with time.

And so would hers. Just once this whole stupid affair was past everyone.

She wiped away the moisture forming at her eyes, pulling herself back and regaining her composure. She’d known this was going to be hard and she’d known that turning the girls away was going to break her heart. She just had to hold her head high and believe in her plan.

Stop the school from turning in on itself. Direct their hate at her and unite them through it.

The secondary goal was uncovering Anon-a-Miss’s true identity, though she didn’t feel like there was much hope on that front. She was going to put her absolute best effort into figuring out that mystery, but once the holidays started there was very little chance of their identity becoming public.

That meant she had two whole days to either uncover Anon-a-Miss’s plot and get them to apologize to the school, or return to school next year and continue the charade of being Queen Bee. And while it wasn’t her favorite option, she would do it if it meant peace for the school.

She pressed a hand against the locker and took in another deep breath, steeling her nerves once more.

She was going to look into it tonight, and she was going to have help doing so. She just had to tough it out and continue on as if this was what she’d wanted all along. Everything was still going according to plan, and as long as she kept it that way, everything would be alright.

Rarely does everything go as planned.

“Well, well, well.” Spoke the tall, angry woman who was cracking her knuckles. “If it isn’t little miss secret spreader.”

“Gilda Griffon,” Sunset sighed, backing up into the bleachers as she spoke, “I wasn’t expecting to find you here… Or Hoops. Or Dumb-Bell. Or Score.”

The three large boys stood at Gilda’s sides, looking just as pissed off as the large woman herself did. Her yellow eyes were certainly piercing through Sunset at that moment, though the smaller girl was doing her best not to appear intimidated.

Gilda had always been one of the people she had left alone during her time as Queen Bee, mostly on account of the woman being a gigantic brute. It wasn’t like Sunset had never dug up dirt on Gilda: she had some fairly juicy secrets on the girl. However, she’d always gotten the distinct feeling that her dirt would’ve been insufficient to prevent her face from getting pummeled in, so she’d never thought to use it.

This very situation was proof-enough that she had been right.

“I think it’s time you and I had a little ‘chat’ about your little ‘Anon-a-Miss’ stunt.” Gilda growled. “You put some pretty nasty stuff up on there about me, and I’d certainly like an apology.”

Sunset remembered Gilda’s particular secret being leaked. A video of her harassing another student that had been recorded from around a corner. Not that her being a bully was exactly a big school secret, but it was actually a little cathartic to see it being posted for everyone to see.

“As I said this morning, Gilda, I wasn’t in control of anything that was posted. Everything was submitted to me by other people. So if you’ve got an issue with that, you should take it up with whoever sent in your video, not me.” Sunset shook her head, hoping it was enough to dissuade the large woman.

“They wouldn’t have been sent in in the first place if you didn’t have your dumb website, dweeb!” Gilda roared, reaching out and grabbing hold of Sunset’s jacket. Her eyes widened in surprise as she was suddenly lifted off her feet and slammed into the back of the bleachers.

She hissed as her head banged against the metal bar, her ears ringing from the impact.

“So, I say you better start apologizing, or me and my boys here are gonna make sure you never have the chance to spread your dirt around again!”

Hoops, Dumb-Bell, and Score all started pounding their fist into their hands, making it clear what their intent was.

Sunset grimaced, finding herself suddenly in a very precarious situation. Gilda wasn’t the type of person to be easily reasoned with, and simply giving her what she wanted rarely meant that you were going to persuade her into not pummeling your face in. The most you’d guarantee was getting it over with quickly, something she imagined wasn’t going to be the case here.

Her entire plan hinged on the school believing she was Anon-a-Miss, and getting pummeled for having been them was certainly a way to solidify that in the school’s memory. Not that she was particularly looking forward to the idea, but it was better than trying to scream and plead that it wasn’t actually her in the end.

An apology would mean nothing, and her other options led to being beaten. So Sunset did the only thing she could think to do, and kept her mouth shut.

“Want to do this the hard way, eh?” Gilda said, an evil smirk forming on her face, “fine by me, we can do this the hard way!”

Gilda pulled her fist back, ready to wail on Sunset, the girl squeezing her eyes shut in return, readying herself for the first strike.

“HEY!” A familiar voice roared from atop the bleachers. Sunset felt her body sag with relief upon hearing it, while the bullies looked up to see a familiar figure of purple and lavender standing there. “Let her go! Right now!”

“Or what?” Gilda laughed. “You gonna sing us a song?

Twilight jumped from the bleachers, landing in the snow with a soft crunch, before standing up and glaring daggers at the bullies. To anyone outside of the situation, it must have looked like Twilight had a death wish, seeing as she was a few inches shorter than Sunset who herself was towered over by the bullies. On top of that, she was wearing a rather cute, and somewhat frilly, purple winter coat that complimented her hair and wasn’t exactly anything intimidating.

“Let her go now, or I’ll let the rest of the school know you’ve upset me.” Twilight growled. “Or have you forgotten that I’m the one who faced down She-Demon Sunset here and beat her? She was even trying to kill us!”

Twilight paused for a moment as she realized what she’d just said, turning to look at Sunset apologetically.

“Uh… No offense…”

“Hey, you know what? I’ll take it right now.” Sunset couldn’t help but laugh at that.

“I’m not scared of you,” Gilda said, letting go of Sunset, the girl letting out a short cry of surprise as she landed hard on her butt. She hissed again, rubbing her hip at the soreness. “Me and the boys can take care of a prissy little pony princess, can’t we?”

“Uhhh…” Hoops vocalized.

“Yeah, uh, I think I actually have homework that needs finishing,” Dumb-Bell offered.

“Yeah, and I think I see Coach coming, so um, we’re gonna go,” Score offered, before the three boys turned tail and fled.

“Wha-HEY! GET BACK HERE COWARDS!” Gilda roared, seething as her entourage ran away.

“Well, it certainly looks like your cronies know how to pick their battles, maybe you should too,” Sunset spoke up as she stood, dusting herself off as she did.

“Don’t think this is over Sunset!” Gilda growled, pointing at the red head. “I’ll make sure you pay for crossing me!”

With those words lingering in the air, Gilda turned and ran, quickly following after the boys.

“Yeah, you don’t gotta worry about that Gilda. Was always part of the plan,” Sunset said mirthlessly, waving at the girl who was far out of earshot by that point.

“And what was THAT!?” Twilight asked bewildered, holding her hand out in the direction the bullies had run. “THIS is why I was against this plan! I come over to help and find you about to be pummeled into the ground!?”

“Look, it was a complication alright? I knew it was a possibility that could happen, I just hadn’t really expected it to actually happen.” Sunset rubbed the back of her head, feeling the small bruise already starting to form. “Anon-a-Miss really pissed people off, and this was the only way to get people to stop tearing each other apart over it. I thought I’d done enough to prevent people from lynching me, but…”

“But it wasn’t enough, apparently,” Twilight sighed, squeezing the bridge of her nose. “Sunset, you’re putting yourself in danger for no reason! We should’ve just talked to the girls together, make them see that you’re not Anon-a-Miss! They would’ve listened to me!”

Sunset was quiet at that, adjusting the scarf around her neck.

“Yeah… They probably would have.”

“So why didn’t we-”

“Because that’s exactly the problem.” Sunset said seriously, turning to look at her best friend. “They would’ve listened to you, not to me. And even if they had believed I wasn’t Anon-a-Miss because of that, the school would still be tearing itself apart and secrets would still be being dropped.” Sunset turned around to face away from Twilight, squeezing at her scarf.

“At least with this plan I put a stop to all of that, and I have a chance to make up for what I did in the past at the same time. If the girls can forgive me through all of it, then our friendship really was meant to be. If not, then it’s not like it’s the end of the world for me. It’s just High School at the end of the day…”

Twilight was quiet at that, staring at Sunset. She didn’t like this plan at all, but there was something to Sunset’s logic she couldn’t deny. She sighed in defeat, shaking her head.

“This is a big gamble Sunset. And I’m worried that if you lose it, that you’re going to end up even worse off than when I first found you here…”

“I just need you to trust me, Twilight,” Sunset said, turning to face her friend with a sad smile. “No one else in this world trusts me right now, and I just need the support of even a single friend right now. I’m going to fix everything by the end of this, I just… I just need a little reassurance that if I screw up somewhere, that you’ll have my back…”

Twilight stared at Sunset for a moment, letting her words sink in before gently nodded. She stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Sunset, something she hadn’t been expecting Twilight to do.

“I do trust you Sunset. Maybe more than I should, but… I believe you really have changed, and that you have the school’s best interest in mind.” Twilight shook her head again. “I just don’t want to see you hurt through all of it…”

Sunset wrapped her arms around Twilight in return, closing her eyes as she spoke.

“I know Twilight… We’ll put an end to this as quickly as possible, I promise…”

Chapter 2: Sorting through the Ashes

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“Come on, just try it once. I know you’re gonna love it,” Sunset spoke in a husky voice, leaning in close to Twilight who was blushing furiously.

“I… I really shouldn’t…” Twilight said hesitantly, biting her lip nervously.

“Come on Twilight, you just gotta… Experiment a little,” Sunset said lifting her hand up. “Don’t you trust me?”

“Mmmm… I… I mean... It really is tempting…” Twilight smiled hesitantly, her hands squeezing into fists.

“Here, just… Open your mouth, and let me do. All. The. Work.” Sunset whispered huskily, licking her own lips in return.

“Aa… Aaaaa…” Twilight moaned softly opening her mouth wide enough for Sunset. The sensation hit her tongue first, a burst of flavor swirling around as her mind began to melt. “Mmmmmm…”

The gooey pizza melted against Twilight’s tongue, followed by the spicy taste of pepperoni. A delicious blend of flavors she hadn’t expected to taste nearly half as good as it actually was.

“See? I knew you’d like it.” Sunset grinned deviously, placing the rest of the pizza slice in Twilight’s hands.

“I mean… I knew I was going to like it, but I was trying to avoid it.” Twilight chuckled softly, wiping a napkin against her mouth. “On my first day in the human world I accidentally ate a hamburger not knowing what it was. I was just grabbing whatever I saw that looked good in the cafeteria, and it wasn’t until after that I found out it was meat. I was a little mortified.”

“Yeah, I understand what you mean. It was kind of hard to adjust to eating meat at first for me too.” Sunset smiled, taking a bite of her own slice of pizza. “But in the end I was won over for two reasons. The first being that it's awfully expensive to live a ‘purely vegetarian’ diet over here for whatever reason. The second being that… Well, meat just tastes good, ya know?” Sunset swallowed her bit of pizza and licked her lips, looking over at Twilight. “Humans are naturally omnivores as well, so it's easier for them to get certain nutrients from meat anyway. I ended up doing a lot of research on the subject, if for no other reason than to clear my conscious from eating meat.”

“It certainly would get you a few strange looks in Equestria,” Twilight said with a smile, helping herself to another bite of the pizza.

“Good thing we’re not in in Equestria then.” That earned a round of giggles from both of the girls.

A gentle breeze wafted through Sunset’s highrise apartment, her heater working overtime now that it had more than one guest to keep warm on a cold winter’s night. Sunset and Twilight were both dressed comfortably in their warm pajamas and having a fun conversation over a box of warm pizza that Sunset had ordered. Combining all of that with the gentle snowfall outside the window, and it created the perfect atmosphere for a fun sleepover with friends.

Even if Twilight was the only friend Sunset had at the moment.

“You know… I never really noticed how much quieter it is without the girls around.” Twilight murmured softly, pulling her knees up to wrap her arms around them. Her eyes fell to the snowflakes falling outside the window, just enraptured by their slow descent. “It used to always be like this before Celestia sent me to Ponyville. Long, lonely nights in my tower just… Studying. I used to think friends were such a waste of time because, ‘why socialize when I can study?’” Twilight shook her head with a sigh.

“It’s funny the kind of situations you find yourself adapting to.” Sunset shook her head, leaning against her couch. “When I was first stuck here in this world, the first thing I had to do was find shelter. Of course, I stayed in the library for a bit, but, for someone trying to be the true ruler of Equestria, not only was that rather humiliating, but it was easy to get caught sleeping there every night.”

The memories of her early days were not happy ones. Days of misery and being uncomfortable with the reality she found herself in… It really didn’t do anything but help fuel the bitterness and anger she had felt back then.

“So once I had my footing, I started searching for a place to stay. Homeless shelters and soup kitchens were an okay start, but having lived in Canterlot I was never satisfied with their conditions. So I ended up getting whatever job I could get to save up enough money for a real place to live.”

“Sounds like it wasn’t easy.” Twilight said, turning her attention back to Sunset.

“That’s especially true when you’re still getting used to a new body.” Sunset said, lifting up her hand and twiddling her fingers. “I swear I can still feel the grease burns from working fast food.” That elicited a small giggle from Twilight, which made Sunset smile.

“I got fired from plenty of those jobs, while I also just straight up quit others. Like hell I was going to keep working for a guy who thought I’d look better all dolled up, you know? I was there to do a job, not be his eye candy.” Sunset rolled her eyes. “But that was sort of the problem with the kinds of jobs I could afford to get, you know? Without any proper documentation everything I did was technically under the table, and so not only was the job pool limited for me, but anytime something went wrong, I was the first to get cut.”

“I couldn’t imagine having to deal with all of that…” Twilight murmured, trying to imagine herself in that situation. “How did you manage?”

“I eventually found a stable job at this sushi place in the mall. Half of the workers there are on expired visas, and at least two others are there just as undocumented as I am. They let me work part time when I’m not busy with school, and the pay is surprisingly good.” Sunset chuckled a little, brushing her hair behind her ear. “It was just sort of one of those things where people with similar hardships found each other and wanted to help each other, you know? They even helped me find this place for rather dirt cheap and helped me spruce it up a little.”

“Did they help you get the motorcycle as well?” Twilight chuckled.

“A little. They took me to a good used-vehicle dealership and I managed to get a good deal on that. It also helped that I was a ‘cute girl looking to buy a hog’ as well.” Sunset chuckled at that. “Humans can be surprisingly gullible if you give them a cute wink.”

“I do believe that’s a lesson Rarity has tried to impart several times.” Twilight giggled.

“What can I say? Men are slaves to their hormones.” Sunset said a little smugly, eliciting more giggles from them both. “But yeah, that was pretty much how I spent the first year or so of my life in this world. Once I had a stable living situation, I set my eyes on making myself the Queen of the school. I figured it would be good practice for when I finally took over Equestria, and of course that led to many lonely nights over the years focusing only on that one goal.” Sunset turned to look out her window.

“And honestly, I was just starting to get kind of used to the idea of actually having friends to hang out with at night… But I suppose things are just back to the way they were before the Battle of the Bands.”

Silence hung in the air after that, Twilight watching Sunset from her spot. The redhead seemed so distant, so lost in thought. She didn’t like it when she saw Sunset this way…

“What are you going to do once this is all over?” Twilight asked, scooting closer to Sunset.

“Huh?” Sunset broke from her thoughts, turning to look at Twilight.

“Are you going to be able to forgive the girls for leaving you like this? I know I’m not exactly happy with the way they’ve been acting myself…”

“What are you talking about Twi?” Sunset asked with a smirk. “I’ve already forgiven them.”

“You…” Twilight blinked at that. “You have?”

“Of course. I mean, yeah, it hurts like hell to have them accuse me of betraying them, but like… I also get it, you know?” Sunset lifted her hand and twirled it around. “I spent years destroying their friendships. Years of me stuffing Fluttershy in a locker, of making Pinkie think no one liked her parties, of calling AJ southern stereotypes to her face, of making Dash toxic to the people around her, of humiliating Rarity in front of the entire school. All of those memories are still fresh in their minds, as its only been like, two month since the Fall Formal. And everything Anon-a-Miss is doing is basically the same type of thing I did to them back when I ruled the school.” Sunset shook her head.

“So if I was in their shoes, seeing all of our embarrassing secrets being spread around to humiliate us, in the exact same way I had for years? I’d assume I’d have reverted to my old ways as well, unless there was some honest to goodness proof otherwise.” Sunset sighed leaning back against her couch. “It’s not an easy pill to swallow, but I get it. Trust once lost isn’t easily regained.”

“That’s… Surprisingly mature of you Sunset.” Twilight said, a little impressed.

“I wouldn’t call it that.” Sunset chuckled. “More like ‘realistically pragmatic.’ I just thought about it from their perspective and I pretty much would have reached the same conclusions. The only reason I wouldn’t is because I have the knowledge to know that I’m not actually Anon-a-Miss, something they don’t have outside of me just saying I’m not. Which is just, really flimsy evidence given our past. At the end of the day, we really haven’t been friends for all that long…”

Twilight was quiet at that, unsure of what to say in response to that. Other than the hum of the heater, the only sounds that could be heard was the winds outside. The two sat in silence for a little longer, before Twilight let out another sigh.

“I really should just try talking to the girls at least. I’m sure if given the chance, I could get them to see reason…”

“Well, we already talked about that earlier today, didn’t we?” Sunset sighed, sitting up on the couch and leaning over, lacing her fingers as she stared out at nothing in particular. “Besides, I’ve already announced to the whole school that I was Anon-a-Miss. At this point, trying to convince them is only going to make them think I’m somehow threatening you into cooperating with me. Not that I would even know where to begin to make that work.”

“Hey! That video you made almost worked!” Twilight countered.

“Hardly!” Sunset laughed. “You immediately talked to the girls about it and got them working together. A video that would’ve devastated a normal teenage girl had you using it as momentum to unite the entire school together in a single day. You underestimate how little blackmail works on you Twilight.”

“What if we filled them in on your plan?” Twilight tried again. “What if we told them this was all part of your ploy to catch the real Anon-a-Miss? I could show them the journal and everything! They’d have to believe that!”

“Even I can already feel a headache starting to form just from trying to explain that without any proof.” Sunset groaned, rubbing her temple. “No, the easiest thing to do right now is to just continue on the path I’ve chosen. You already know how everything ends if the plan works, it’s just a matter of actually catching Anon-a-Miss.”

“And if the plan doesn’t work?” Twilight asked seriously. “If you go through all of this, make yourself school enemy number one, and you never find out who Anon-a-Miss is? What then?”

“Then…” Sunset paused as she thought about it. “Then… I guess I just move back to Equestria.” She shook her head, looking at Twilight. “I mean, I’m not exactly ready to face Celestia again, but you’d be willing to offer me a place to stay in your castle, wouldn’t you?”

“Of course!” Twilight said, practically jumping at the offer. “I have like, a MILLION empty rooms with only Spike living with me! I could probably house half of CHS if I wanted to!”

“And I bet you would too.” Sunset laughed at that. She let out a sigh as she looked up at the ceiling. “I know I’ve said this before but… I’m glad you’re here Twilight. I can’t imagine dealing with all of this on my own. I probably could’ve, but… I’m glad that at least one person believes me.”

“You’re not the person you were when we first met Sunset.” Twilight smiled comfortingly, placing her hand on top of Sunset’s and gently squeezing it. “I admit, I wasn’t here for the years you were bullying the girls, but even I can see how much you’ve changed. The Battle of the Bands made that abundantly clear. The magic of friendship wouldn’t have worked if you didn’t believe in it yourself.”

“...Thanks Twi. I needed to hear that,” Sunset said with a smile, gently squeezing Twilight’s hand back.

The next morning of CHS came all too soon, and though Sunset dreaded heading back to school that day, she knew it was necessary. The previous night had been one that Sunset hadn’t realized how much she’d needed it until she was standing in front of CHS once again. Spending time with Twilight had given her the reassurance that what she was doing was the right thing, and that she was going to make everything better for everyone.

Plus, it had just been nice to spend time with a friend again. Something she hadn’t realized she had missed as much as she had until it was gone.

Sunset now stood in front of the school, just preparing herself for what was about to happen inside. She needed to prepare herself for another volley of angry glares, hurtful comments, playing it off as if she was the baddest girl in the whole school…

The thought of it all upset her stomach, but she knew it was necessary.

“Hey.” Twilight’s voice broke Sunset’s concentration, Sunset turning to look at her best friend. “I’m here if you need me.”

Twilight’s voice was so genuine, coupled with that soft smile of hers, it was nearly enough for Sunset to want to forget the entire stupid plan and just do whatever Twilight wanted to do next.

“I appreciate it Twilight, but we need to stick to the plan, alright?” Sunset forced a smile to her face, adjusting her scarf for emphasis. “We spend the day investigating and we smoke out Anon-a-Miss. That’s what we agreed on.”

“Yeah, I did agree to that… Though I still don’t like having to lie to the girls like this. It just feels… Wrong…” Twilight shook her head.

“Well… I guess just… Think of it this way,” Sunset said comfortingly, placing a hand on Twilight’s shoulder and offering her a smile, “once I walk inside, I’m going back to being the Sunset you knew when you first met me. It won’t really be a lie if you’re upset with seeing how much I’ve regressed.”

“...You were pretty awful back then.” Twilight winced a little, not wanting to offend Sunset with the comment.

“Exactly, I was,” Sunset said with a nod, “just pretend you’re here to try and stop that Sunset Shimmer from ruining the lives of the school again, and you’ll be alright.”

Twilight’s face showed that she wasn’t exactly happy with that plan, and it tore Sunset up a little inside to see her friend that way, but what other choice did they have? Sunset was in too deep to turn back now, and the sooner they could solve this, the sooner they could put this all behind them.

“Alright Twilight, game face on.” Sunset spoke up, not wanting to linger on the moment anymore than she had to. She turned away from her friend and gave her cheeks a quick slap, feeling the tingle in her flesh waking her up some. Her eyes drooped a little and a smug smirk fell onto her face. As she walked into CHS, she felt exactly the same way that she used to when she ran this school.

She immediately found her strut, her hips moving side to side like she owned the place, head held high, and her eyes scanning for weakness amongst her prey. Students in the hallway turned to look at her in surprise, going quiet as she walked by. They cowed away from her to their small social circles, or what was left of them, and most made way for her so she had no reason to stop and interact with them.

It was almost sad how easily the school had fallen back into the same song and dance routine that had plagued it for so long. Her years as Queen Bee really never had faded from the halls, had they?

“What are you looking at?” Sunset growled at a freshman. The young boy yelped before jumping into his locker, slamming it shut on himself.

She forced the smirk back onto her face as she kept walking. She wasn’t even sure why she’d done that, just that it fit with who she remembered herself being. She hated every moment of being the walking bully again, but what else was she to do?

Right now all she needed to do was wait for Twilight to make her move. The waiting was probably the hardest part, knowing full well what was about to happen. She simply tried to distract herself by making her way to her locker, and just keep herself distracted by ‘looking’ for something inside of it. She didn’t have anything she needed in there, it was just something to keep her mind occupied.

“GUYS!” A students voice cried out in the distance. “TWILIGHT’S BACK!”

And there it was.

Instantly the student body began to rush their way towards the entrance of the school, ready for their walking savior to save them from this mess that Sunset Shimmer had brought down upon their heads.

Sunset took a deep breath and let it out slowly, closing her locker as she stood there staring at it. She knew it was coming, she knew what she needed to do next, she knew exactly how this would all play out.

It didn’t make the next part any easier though.

“Sunset Shimmer.” Twilight’s voice spoke up from behind her, sounding none-too-happy. A stark contrast from the voice she’d talked all night with, the one who had been hopeful and optimistic that everything would work out.

That was exactly what Sunset had told her to do, and yet there was an awful wrenching in her gut that hated hearing Twilight of all people sound that way to her. It was one thing when it was the girls hating her, it was another entirely when it was Twilight.

Sunset turned to face the girl, noting that behind her stood her five former friends, and behind them was the rest of the gathered student body.

Gathered together to fight a common enemy, but still hiding behind Twilight.

How terribly noble.

“Well well, Twilight Sparkle! To what does this humble school owe to see your presence again?”

“You know very well why I’m here Sunset!” Twilight spoke up, doing her best to sound intimidating. To her credit, if it wasn’t for the slight crack in her voice, Sunset might’ve actually believed it.

But Twilight was playing her part just as Sunset had asked, so Sunset would play her role in turn.

“I have no idea what you’re on about, Princess! I’ve been a perfect little angel since you left!” Sunset said with a flick of her hair and an evil glint in her eye.

“Playing with everyone’s trust and secrets isn’t what friendship is about Sunset!” Twilight said, stomping her foot for emphasis. “What happened to the bond you girls had during the Battle of the Bands? The one that let you defeat the Dazzlings? Why give that all up for… For whatever this is!?”

Twilight sounded just as bewildered as she should, since what she was saying was rather ludicrous, and that should have been obvious to anyone watching the scene. Why would Sunset give up her friendships and bonds, the people she was starting to see as family, just to humiliate them in turn and isolate herself? What possible reason would she have to make the whole school hate her again?

She had none, because it had never been her doing it in the first place.

But here they were, stuck in this ridiculous situation anyway.

And so Sunset just stuck to her plan, playing off like this was her evil scheme all along.

“You really DON’T get how things work around here, do you?” Sunset chuckled, leaning forward mockingly. “You’d think after two trips to the human world, you’d at least have some understanding by now!”

Twilight’s eyes widened at that, almost as if she hadn’t been expecting Sunset to clap back like that. Sunset couldn’t help but wonder if she was laying it on a little thick? She didn’t want to insult Twilight, but if she didn’t make this sound good, people were going to think she’d lost her touch as a bully. And if they weren’t afraid of her, then everything would just devolve back into anarchy.

She couldn’t let that happen.

“Let me lay it out for you Twilight. Humans are simple, pathetic creatures that are run by their emotions. You dangle a piece of meat in front of them, then they start chomping at it like rabid dogs.” Sunset shook her head as she spoke.

“I ruled this school, and then you united everyone against me. You made a plea to their emotions and they answered you. Then, within just a few days, I appealed to their emotions in the opposite way, and they completely fell apart. So in the end, what did we gain from booting me out of the top spot? Absolutely nothing.” Sunset snickered as she tucked her hair behind her ear.

“So, I simply showed everyone who the real ruler of this school was, and one that won’t simply ‘abandon’ them when it seems convenient. They had all forgotten what they were, and so I simply reminded them. If no one had submitted a single secret to that website, none of this would be happening.”

There was an undeniable truth to what Sunset was saying, but even she didn’t believe the dribble coming out of her mouth. She just needed them to believe it.

“So what now Princess? You come at me with a big ‘friendship speech’ and we put this all behind us?”

“I’d certainly like that…” Twilight said, a little too genuinely. Sunset felt a pang in her heart, hating how miserable Twilight sounded. She hated putting her friend through this, and she needed to end it before either of them broke character.

“Well, I’m afraid that won’t be happening this time.” Sunset turned her head away, crossing her arms. “I haven’t updated the webpage in two days now, and as long as everyone is following my rules, it will stay that way.” She turned her back to the crowd as she finished speaking. “So stay as long as you like this time, it won’t make a difference. Perhaps then you’ll see why I am the way I am.”

And with that, Sunset walked away from the group, already starting to hear the whispering murmurs of the crowd about the altercation.

Sunset quickly turned a corner, making sure she was out of sight, before running down the hall for the bathroom. She slammed her way inside, before grabbing hold of a sink, running the tap, and splashing cold water onto her face.

She gripped the sides of the sink, breathing heavily as she forced herself to calm down.

That had been a lot harder than she had thought it would be. She was but moments away from breaking down while talking to Twilight that way, and the whole plan would’ve gone up in smoke.

It had been one thing to deceive her friends, they already thought she was a bad person so it wasn’t much more to twist the knife a little more into her own back.

It was another thing entirely to see Twilight like that, looking at her like she was evil, like she was betraying every lesson of friendship Twilight had tried to impart upon her. Even if it had simply been acting, it had been rough.

Sunset wiped at her eyes, taking another deep breath as she lifted her head, looking at herself in the mirror. Her eyes were a little more red than she would have liked, and she looked like she had just ran a marathon. The cracks in her mask were already starting to form and she had to put a stop to them before her mask crumbled into dust.

She wasn’t sure how much longer she could keep up this facade. When she had thought up this plan she was certain she could handle it, but being in the thick of it now, she wasn’t nearly as sure. She just wanted everything to be over with, to go hang out with her friends again and simply enjoy the holidays together like they’d originally planned to. Not fuss about with trying to keep the school from tearing itself apart, or solve the mystery of who was framing her for dumping everyone’s secrets.

She desperately, desperately needed a clue…

At that exact moment, her phone pinged with a notification, and her brain almost refused to process it.

She reached into her pocket and pulled it out, quickly unlocking the front screen and staring in disbelief at the updated Anon-a-Miss site.

Twilight Sparkle FAILS to stand up to Anon-a-Miss!

Attached to the post was a video of the argument in the hallway that had just happened. The angle of the video was clearly from behind Twilight, but Sunset couldn’t remember for the life of her who had been standing there. She could see limbs of two of her friends in the shot, meaning it had been part of the student body, but with the way the camera zoomed in on Sunset, there was little chance of determining who had taken the video.

One thing was clear though, whoever had taken the video was Anon-a-Miss themself. There hadn’t been any time to process and send the video to someone else, so it could have only been directly uploaded from the user’s phone.

“Ugh… Why didn’t I pay more attention to who was standing behind Twilight…” Sunset groaned, letting her forehead hit the mirror and just hold herself there, feeling like a complete idiot for missing that.

Obviously it hadn’t been one of the girls, as none of them had had their phones out at the time. Plus the likelihood of them calling out Twilight for her failure was just abysmally low.

There was just enough doubt in who took the video to let people think that Sunset had gotten one of her ‘minions’ to take the video, and that she had orchestrated the whole thing. This wasn’t about to convince anyone that she wasn’t Anon-a-Miss.

This was, however, a chance. It wasn’t much, but Anon-a-Miss had let their hand slip and show that they were still interested in the website, and still uploading to it. So she still had a chance to catch them in the act.

She vowed to the girls, and especially to Twilight, that she was going to catch Anon-a-Miss.

Chapter 3: Charcoal

View Online

The lunchroom was abuzz of activity upon the return of Twilight Sparkle, a spark of hope having returned to most of the students. Though they were sure to give their hero the space she needed, there was undoubtedly some electricity in the air surrounding her.

All eyes were on her and her next move as she sat and discussed what came next with the girls.

“Ah’m real sorry you had to come back just to see all of this,” Applejack explained gloomily, “Ah was hopin’ the next time ya got to visit it would just be for fun, not dealing with more high school drama problems. Least this one ain’t involvin’ any kind of dark magic.”

“It’s okay girls, really,” Twilight said with a reassuring smile. “I’m glad you’ve informed me of what’s been going on. Though it’s hard to believe that Sunset really has gone back to her old ways. Something about it just doesn’t feel right…”

“We didn’t want to believe it at first either, darling,” Rarity sighed forlornly, a hand dramatically resting atop her breast. “But after the evidence from the sleepover, it was undeniable! She’s even admitted it to the whole school at this point! What else are we supposed to do?”

“I still don’t fully understand what happened,” Twilight said, turning to the girls, “could you tell me exactly what happened from the beginning?”

“Well, we were all having a sleepover one day, where we learned that AJ used to have the nickname ‘Piggly Wiggly’ as a kid!” Pinkie began.

“It’s a plum embarrassin’ nickname, but ah trusted my friends with that secret.” AJ sighed. “But by the next mornin’, it had been posted to that site.”

“Who else knew about the name though? Isn’t it possible someone else posted about it?” Twilight asked, looking around.

“The only ones who knew about it was my kin.” Applejack said, placing an arm on the table. “Apple Bloom was the one who blurted it out over the phone, which led to me havin’ to explain it to everyone.”

“Keep in mind it really was just us at the sleepover too.” Rarity added. “No one else should have been able to hear it, yet it got posted onto that website anyway.”

“And that was enough for you guys to believe it was her?” Twilight asked.

“That wasn’t enough on its own,” Fluttershy added this time, “it was the second sleepover that convinced us.”

“It was at my house, and we were putting on clothes from my closet of shame,” Rarity explained, grimacing at the memory, “At this point Anon-a-Miss wasn’t a household name, but that changed when Sunset uploaded those photos of us in my outfits from her phone. We double-checked and verified all of the photos we took, and we know for absolute certain that they could have only come from Sunset’s phone.”

“She wasn’t in any of the photos either,” Dash growled, her arms crossed, “she only humiliated us with her posts, never herself. If that isn’t telling, I don’t know what is.”

“And there was no one else in the house at all?” Twilight asked, trying to get more information. “No one could have tampered with her phone while you were asleep?”

“It was just us, my parents, and Sweetie Belle, Twilight,” Rarity explained, “Who else could it be?”

“And why do y'all keep talking like Sunset might still be innocent?” Applejack asked, confused, “She plum admitted to being Anon-a-Miss in front of everyone! Case closed!”

“That’s just it, Applejack, something feels off about that,” Twilight said with a shake of her head, “If she was trying to keep it a secret, why just go and tell everyone that it was her all along? Why make it so obvious that it was her to begin with?”

“Like we’d know!” Dash grunted. “Why does anyone become a bully? To feel like they’re better than others! And I feel like I should understand that better than anyone!” She pointed a thumb at herself. “If I hadn’t seen just how Gilda was hurting people, I might’ve become one myself! I know I’m awesome, and I know I’m better than a lot of people, but hurting people over it isn’t cool! And that’s what Sunset did back then, and it’s what she’s doing now!”

“And I understand that, but… Hear me out on this. What if Sunset is faking it?” She looked around at the girls as she thought about how to word this. She didn’t want to give away that she was on Sunset’s side, but she had to at least try and give Sunset another chance in their eyes. “What if Sunset admitted to being Anon-a-Miss to get the person who is Anon-a-Miss to stop posting?”

“I don’t follow…” Fluttershy said, very confused.

“You all told me that the site pretty much stopped updating once Sunset announced that she was Anon-a-Miss… What if that was her goal? If she wanted the school to stop fighting with itself, what better way to do that then to unite them against her?”

“I dunno, Twilight,” Pinkie said, appearing next to her in thought. “That theory is pretty crazy, and I would know. I’m pretty loco in the coco myself!”

“Nor does it explain how our secrets got leaked originally,” Rarity offered next.

“Look, ah know you wanna believe that Sunset changed, we all did,” Applejack said, placing a hand on Twilight’s shoulder, “we’re not the kind of people to go throwin’ these accusations around lightly. We thought Sunset was our friend, that after all the years of tormentin’ us that we could put that all behind us and start something new! And she was the one who threw that all away.”

“Plus there’s kind of the whole, she’s admitted it was her, thing,” Dash said with a twirl of her hand, “kind of hard to overlook that.”

“I just… I want to cover all possibilities, including the possibility that Sunset is innocent,” Twilight said with a dejected sigh, “I know Sunset bullied you girls for a long time, but I’d also like to think that none of you would purposefully set her up as well. Which, would likely mean Sunset did do it.” She put her arm on the table, resting her head against her hand in troubled thought. “Unless it was Apple Bloom or Sweetie Belle that did it.”

“Don’t be preposterous darling,” Rarity tittered. “Sweetie Belle is an innocent angel and would never do such a thing! Plus she didn’t know about AJ’s nickname, so it couldn’t be her!”

“And Apple Bloom knows better than to go around spreading family secrets like that,” Applejack said with a shake of her head, “Nor did she have any way of accessing Sunset’s phone. So it couldn’t have been either of them.”

“Right, of course…” Twilight groaned.

Interrogating the girls had given her a better understanding of the situation, but hadn’t exactly gotten her any closer to answers. She hoped Sunset was doing better with her half of the interrogations…

Sunset’s hand slammed down against the locker, causing Micro Chips to jump in place, pressing his back against the hard metal as the redhead loomed over him.

“So, Micro Chips,” Sunset said cooly, giving him her best evil smirk. “Got a thing for spreading secrets, do ya?”

“I-I, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” He defended himself terribly, the guilt clear in his voice.

“Oh, of COURSE not! You NEVER uploaded to Anon-a-Miss!” Sunset chuckled, holding up her phone. On the screen was a clear shot of one of Micro Chips’s best friends caught graffiting the side of a building. “And your best friend just happened to be caught doing something illegal, and from an angle that looks a lot like you wanting to remember the occasion!”

Sunset didn’t actually know this for a fact, but she was very good at making educated guesses. She knew Chips’s friend had gone tagging before, and she knew she had seen Chips with him before. So really it was just a matter of putting two and two together.

“OKAY! OKAY! I DID IT! I’M SORRY!” Micro Chips confessed, cowering against the lockers.

“Good! That’s what I was hoping to hear,” Sunset said with a smile. “But I was curious, why backstab your friend like that, hm? That’s pretty cold coming from you.”

“H-He owed me money!” Chips cried out, “We’d been fighting about it and he refused to accept my feelings on the matter! So I thought I would get back at him by posting to Anon-a-Miss! I was angry and stupid and I didn’t mean to! Please don’t tell him I did that! I still want him as my friend!”

“Oh, poor Micro Chips,” Sunset said sweetly, lifting her hand up and patting him on the cheek with a smile, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell anyone.”

“R-Really?” Chips asked, confused and scared.

“Mmmhmm. I’ll just keep it as ammunition for when I need it.” Sunset chuckled darkly, pulling back. “You’re free to go now.”

Micro Chips didn’t need to be told twice, quickly scooping up his things and rushing away. Sunset watched him leave before turning and squeezing the bridge of her nose with a sigh.

That was the twelfth student she had interrogated that she knew had posted to the site, but each and every one of them couldn’t have been Anon-a-Miss. Not only were they too skittish or scared about the repercussions, but they only ever admitted to the things they had posted and swore it wouldn’t happen again.

Sunset believed them. Anon-a-Miss had been craftier than that, not to mention they’d had access to things before the school masses started posting secrets to the page. If any of the students she had interrogated were the culprits, then there would be more evidence, more signs, more hesitation in their responses.

She was at least cutting names from the potential suspects list, but she’d already been having a feeling they weren’t the culprits to begin with. She was short of ideas and was just eliminating possibilities to ensure they weren’t Anon-a-Miss.

Scrolling through the site again, she started to think that perhaps she was going about it the wrong way. The people that had posted after the initial secrets got out weren’t likely to be Anon-a-Miss themselves, and anyone who’d had their secrets revealed likely weren’t going to be Anon-a-Miss either.

It was always possible they had revealed a secret about themselves to throw her off their tracks, but she’d cross that bridge once she’d crossed off the other possibilities.

At the very least, the site still hadn’t updated again since the video of her confronting Twilight, so the plan was still working. She was at least a small step closer to figuring out who had caused this whole mess and fixing everything, but she was still missing the largest clues.

She just hoped that Twilight had been more successful than her.

“Nothing concrete?” Sunset asked.

“Nothing that jumped out, no,” Twilight sighed, sitting down at Sunset’s computer desk. She tapped a pencil against the desk in thought, “I know that none of the girls are Anon-a-Miss, and spending time with them only reinforced that.”

“I kind of figured that was the case myself, but it’s nice to have confirmation it wasn’t any of them,” Sunset sighed herself, shaking her head. She was currently laying on her couch, kicking her foot off the side repeatedly in thought. “Which leaves us with our next option of just… Figuring out who hasn’t been targeted by Anon-a-Miss at this point.”

“I do think you’re onto something with that.” Twilight said with a nod, turning back to Sunset’s computer and scrolling through the page. “A lot got posted onto Anon-a-Miss in such a short period of time, and it really does cover almost every student in CHS. If we can just narrow down who hasn’t been targeted, we might be able to figure out who Anon-a-Miss is. I just wish I had more time to get to know everyone...”

“Certainly would be handy to have Pinkie on our side right now. She’d make that part a lot easier.” Sunset groaned, sitting up properly on the couch. “But I have a fairly decent memory of student names at CHS, plus I’ve got last year’s yearbook. On top of that, most of the secrets have the students directly tagged anyway. It shouldn’t be too hard to make a list.”

Twilight was quiet at that, not even scrolling through the site anymore. She turned around, looking over at Sunset.

“...I tried, Sunset, I really did.” Twilight sighed regretfully. “I proposed the idea that you were innocent and even explained my logic, but… They were just convinced it was you. Nothing I said could change that…”

“I really wasn’t expecting it to go any other way, no offense, Twilight.” Sunset chuckled a little, smiling softly at Twilight. “I kind of dug my own grave here, so I wasn’t exactly expecting to win them over with a letter of recommendation.” Sunset leaned forward and smiled. “Thank you for trying though. It means a lot to me.”

“I still feel awful for failing to convince them.” Twilight sighed, rubbing her face. “I should’ve been able to do so much more for you, Sunset…”

“Let’s not focus on that right now, Twilight.” Sunset said, standing up from the couch and walking over to the computer. “Let’s just focus on finding out who Anon-a-Miss is for now, okay?”

“Okay.” Twilight nodded, turning back to the computer. “We do have all night. I told the girls I had something to attend to in Equestria and would be back in the morning, so we shouldn’t be interrupted.”

Sunset couldn’t help but smile, looking down at Twilight and feeling a small bit of warmth in her chest.

“Thank you, Twilight… I know I keep saying that, but I genuinely don’t know how I’m going to repay you for all of this kindness.”

“Hey, what else are friends for, Sunset?” Twilight said with a big, genuine smile. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be than right here helping you.”

Sunset felt her heart beat again and she brought a hand up to her chest. She had to swallow a little at that. She was just moved in a way she hadn’t been before. Her tongue was tied, and she felt hot. It was just…

“A-Alright, let’s get started then,” Sunset said, turning to focus on the screen. “I’ll make sure the tags are correct with who is who. You write the names down.”

“Got it.” Twilight said with a chipper nod as they began to go down the list.

Sunset didn’t know what she was feeling, but it made her insides feel warm and gooey, and they were definitely a distraction from what they were supposed to be doing. She did her best to shove them down and focus on the topic at hand at least.

Proving her innocence with her best friend.

Chapter 4: Flint and Tinder

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Sunset groaned as consciousness returned to her. The throb behind her eyes told her that she hadn’t gotten nearly enough sleep, yet that same familiar eye strain in the back of her head told her that she wasn’t going back to sleep anytime soon.

She never knew what to do on nights like this, where her mind refused to calm down and was constantly working overtime. She could always try and stay in bed and maybe hope for some extra sleep, or she could get up and do something until the day properly started.

That decision, however, was interrupted when she felt movement beside her, and she was suddenly a lot more aware of the warmth that was curled up against her body. She blinked open her groggy eyes, seeing that the sun hadn’t even risen yet, and turned to look at her side.

Twilight was curled up next to her, arm draped over her belly and head resting against her chest.

Sunset’s eyes shot open in realization, a hot blush forming on her cheeks as her best friend was nestled right on top of her. Her mouth fell open before closing again, her words lost in her throat.

She hadn’t intended to share the bed with Twilight… She didn’t even properly remember falling asleep last night. The last thing she remembered was that it had been a little past midnight when they’d finished cataloguing the list of students and then…

Maybe she had passed out at the computer? If that was the case, then that meant Twilight had carried her up the stairs to the bed and tucked them both in…

She felt her face heat up even more at the imagery of that and placed a hand against her face, internally groaning at how embarrassing that was… But especially at how much she actually liked the thought of it.

Now was not the time to suddenly be harboring feelings for her best friend. And she knew that was exactly what she was doing.

She’d dated before, she’d felt attraction before, this heat on her face and this thump in her chest was unmistakable.

She was crushing on Twilight, and crushing hard.

Running her hand down her face, she realized she was definitely not going back to sleep now. There might’ve been a chance before, but not now.

She reached her hand out to her bedside table, trying not to disturb Twilight as she did, fumbling her fingers around until she managed to grab hold of her phone. Bringing it over to her face she tapped the power button and checked the time.


Well, at least she’d been able to get a couple hours of sleep, though the ache in her eyes told her it hadn’t been nearly enough. She rested the phone against her face as she groaned again, squeezing her eyes shut wondering just how she’d gotten herself in this whole situation.

Twilight grunted in her sleep, causing Sunset to glance over at the sleeping girl. She looked so peaceful where she was, like she took comfort in resting against her friend’s body.

Sunset wasn’t sure how she was supposed to take that.

On one hand, her romantic feelings were delighted to have the pretty girl resting against her, not wanting to move an inch and just let Twilight get the rest she so dearly deserved.

On the other hand, the friend in her was telling her not to abuse Twilight’s trust like this when they hadn’t agreed to anything romantic yet.

So it was with some remorse that Sunset slowly peeled Twilight’s arm off of her body, replaced her chest with a pillow, and slipped out of the bed without waking her best friend. Twilight’s sleeping form instantly curled up around the spare pillow and mumbled something in her sleep, but didn’t wake up.

Sunset sighed in relief at that, but then couldn’t help but smirk at the image of Twilight all comfy on her bed. It was rather cute after all.

She was half-tempted to take a picture for posterity, but something in her mind told her that it wasn’t a good idea. Embarrassing photos was how this whole incident had gotten started so she was only inviting more trouble if she took any without Twilight’s permission.

A sigh escaped Sunset’s lips at that thought before she stood up and stretched out. If she wasn’t going to be getting any sleep, then she might as well get back to going over the evidence they’d been gathering.

Sunset quickly made her way downstairs, being careful to not make too much noise as she did, before sitting down in her computer chair and pulling up to her desk. The computer booted up with a familiar warm-blue screen before she pulled up the all-too familiar Anon-a-Miss website and just double-checked to make sure there hadn’t been any updates since yesterday.

The last update to the site was still the familiar video of Sunset and Twilight ‘fighting’ in the halls. Nothing new there.

Sunset was still racking her brain over why that was the last thing Anon-a-Miss had decided to post. Was it a message of some kind? And if it was, was it meant for her, or the school?

The fact of the matter was that secrets had stopped being posted, and that meant that Anon-a-Miss was aware that she had confessed to the whole school. That put Anon-a-Miss’s power in a precarious situation, one where they couldn’t just toss around secrets like candy anymore.

And yet, they’d used their power to post Twilight confronting Sunset, and had made it clear that Twilight had failed to stop Anon-a-Miss.

It was a fact that everyone in the school still respected Twilight. Both for having stopped Sunset from ruling the school, as well as saving it from the Sirens during the Battle of the Bands. Twilight was the one who could do no wrong, and the school worshiped her for it.

So if she had failed to stop Anon-a-Miss…

Did that mean this was Anon-a-Miss’s way of saying that Twilight had the wrong person?

It was 5am and Sunset was very tired. It was entirely possible that she was reading this entirely the wrong way. After all, if Anon-a-Miss was confessing to not being Sunset, why not just come out and say that for everyone to see?

Other than the fact no one would believe them, of course. Sunset and Twilight would believe them, but the rest of the school would be a harder sell.

Sunset glanced at the time once more before running her fingers through her hair. School started in two hours, and it was the last day before winter break officially started. This was going to be her last chance to find any solid evidence before school let out, and the chances of finding out who Anon-a-Miss was after the break was slim to none.

At the very least there was always the hope that all of this would just blow over next year and everyone could just move on with their lives, even if that meant Sunset was left without any friends. A small price to pay in the end if it meant everyone else could be happy again.

At that moment however, Sunset just needed to wake up. Take a shower, eat some breakfast, drink some coffee, then start reviewing the list of names they’d written down last night. With the list of people Anon-a-Miss had targeted, it would be easier to figure out who they hadn’t targeted, and go from there.

It was as good a plan as they were going to get, and with the plan firmly in her mind she made her way to the bathroom.

The gentle morning sun peeked in through the window, landing on top of Twilight’s sleeping face. The sleeping girl shifted in her sleep, before letting out a stifled yawn as her mind escaped the haze of sleep.

She sat up in bed, rubbing at her face, slowly starting to remember where she was. She blinked and looked down, seeing the pillow she had been snuggling and suddenly remember that Sunset should’ve been asleep next to her. A quick glance around showed she wasn’t there, so Twilight hopped out of bed and made her way downstairs.

Sunset was already fully dressed and typing away at the computer, glancing over the notes they’d made last night several times.

“You’re up early.” Twilight chuckled softly, impressed at the girl’s dedication.

“Had some trouble sleeping, but nothing a bit of coffee can’t solve.” Sunset chuckled in return, swiveling in her chair to look at Twilight with a smile. She then thumbed over to a bag near the microwave. “Went ahead and grabbed you some breakfast and coffee too. Should still be warm, though you can just nuke it in the microwave for a couple of seconds if you need to, should do the trick.”

“Oh! Well, thank you.” Twilight smiled gratefully, a little surprised at the show of hospitality. Sunset just grinned happily back before turning back to the computer and continued to type.

Twilight looked into the bag, pulling out a fresh cinnamon bun that was still warm and a bit gooey. She took a bite and let out an audible hum of delight as the warm flavors exploded in her mouth, not having expected such a tasty breakfast to wake up to. She followed it up with a sip of coffee, which was a little lacking in comparison to the cinnamon bun, but was still warm and enjoyable none-the-less.

“What have you been working on while I was asleep?” Twilight asked curiously, stepping over to the computer as she took another bite.

“Mostly been cross-checking CHS’s student population with the list we compiled last night, and making sure none of the names left on the list had been affected by Anon-a-Miss.” Sunset explained, double checking with the list Twilight had made last night before tapping a few more buttons with finality. “And you’re just in time, as I do believe we’ve got a final list here. And it’s a lot smaller than I thought it would be.”

Twilight leaned over to review the list as she ate, spotting about twelve names on the list. Most of them she didn’t immediately recognize, but three names stood out to her as names she knew all too well.

Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo.

“Honestly, most of the names on this list are freshmen, and as a result, really shouldn’t have any reason to hold any resentment towards me.” Sunset said, leaning against the desk and propping her chin up in her hand. “And the remaining students in the right grade ranges are ones I barely even remember. Hell, I don’t think I’ve even met ‘Wallflower Blush’, whoever that is.”

Twilight hummed quietly in thought, finishing her breakfast before quickly downing the last of her coffee. The conversation she’d had with the girls yesterday had been about trying to find out who Anon-a-Miss could have been if it hadn’t been Sunset, and two of those three names had come up back then as well.

Something about all of this was terribly familiar, and Twilight felt like things were starting to make sense for her.

“Well…” Twilight spoke softly, leaning against Sunset’s chair as she looked at the remaining list. “I might… Actually have a theory on who the suspect might be, after seeing this list…”

“I’m pretty sure I’m coming to the same conclusion you are.” Sunset sighed with a shake of her head. “But I’d like to hear what you think first.”

“...I think, given the evidence, Anon-a-Miss isn’t just one person.” Twilight said simply. “I think it’s three people.”

“Let me guess.” Sunset pointed at the list. “Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo. Am I right?”

Twilight simply nodded her head.

“The girls were adamant about how it couldn’t possibly be them when we were talking about it yesterday, but Apple Bloom was the one who told you all about Applejack’s nickname. And Sweetie Belle was at Rarity’s house the night those pictures were stolen.” Twilight shook her head. “And knowing those girls, any plan that one of them concocted is a plan that all three of them got in on.”

“I hate to admit it, but they ARE the most likely suspects.” Sunset grumbled, running her fingers through her hair. “But the girls would skin me alive if I laid a finger on them without solid evidence. Not to mention, there’s no motivation for them to do this to me. At least, none as far as I’m aware. I thought we were on good terms with each other…”

Twilight was quiet for a moment, memories coming to her mind. She let out a sigh as she leaned against the desk, looking down at the floor.

“Back in my world, there’s a paper run by the school kids called the Foal Free Press. It’s mostly a harmless thing, where the students gather up current events from around town, what’s going on at school, charity organizations, that sort of thing.” Twilight shook her head. “But, about a year ago, there was a period of time where that all changed. And there was a new section that made the paper insanely popular called ‘Gabby Gums’, that focused on spreading tabloid news. Gossips and secrets from around town about ponies. Really embarrassing secrets too, the kind ponies didn’t want others knowing about.”

Sunset listened quietly, suddenly realizing what was being said, and the parallels being drawn.

“And, eventually, it boiled to a point where everyone was terrified, paranoid, and scared of what secrets were going to end up being revealed next. Everyone was really hurt by the columns, especially when they started printing straight up lies about ponies just to keep the column going. And well…” Twilight sighed. “Rarity was the one to discover it had been the Cutie Mark Crusaders writing Gabby Gums.”

“But… Why would they do that?” Sunset asked confused. “What did they get out of sharing everyone’s secrets, and then lying about it?”

“Well, it was to sell papers. The paper got insanely popular and everyone had to have it.” Twilight shook her head again. “They let the popularity get to their heads, and they apologized to everyone for what they had done. We ended up forgiving them because they genuinely hadn’t wanted to hurt anyone with it.”

“I see…” Sunset murmured quietly. “If the CMC really are behind Anon-a-Miss, then maybe something similar happened here too. They made a blog that got insanely popular spreading rumors, and made me the scapegoat so they wouldn’t get in trouble for it.” Sunset had to chuckle at that. “Certainly wasn’t hard to make the school believe it was me either…”

“We can’t know for certain without talking to them.” Twilight explained, looking at Sunset seriously. “That should be the first thing we do today.”

“I agree… Though, instead of it being ‘we’, it should be ‘me’.” Sunset said simply.

“Huh?” Twilight blinked confused. “If it's to clear your name, shouldn’t we do it together?”

“If for some reason Anon-a-Miss isn’t them, I don’t want you getting caught up in the heat of falsely accusing the girls younger sisters. I’m already in hot water as it is, I don’t want you ruining your friendship with the girls over this.”


“Plus,” Sunset continued, interrupting Twilight’s train of thought, “If it really is them then I can go ahead and enact the final part of my plan. I was working on it while you were asleep.” Sunset turned towards the computer and clicked around a bit, before bringing something up onto the screen.

Twilight blinked and looked at it a little confused at first, before Sunset started showing her what it was. Twilight’s eyes widened at what she was seeing.

“Sunset, this is…” Twilight was a little stunned for words. “Are you sure you want to go through with this?”

“I am.” Sunset said with a nod. “But I can only do this after I know for sure who Anon-a-Miss is.” She turned to face Twilight. “Can I have you be the guarantee that the girls will be in one place, and away from their sisters while I find out the truth?”

“And how are you going to do that?” Twilight asked hesitantly.

“Well, every morning the CMC meet together in the library as part of their little ‘club’, and from there they then go to class or whatever they have planned for the day. Since this is the last day before break, most students are going to have free periods until the school assembly. I’ll talk to them before the assembly, and if everything goes according to plan, that’s when I’ll have you assist me with the last part of the plan.”

“And if they’re not Anon-a-Miss?” Twilight asked hesitantly.

“Then I go through the list as best I can until the day is over. And if I don’t know their identity, then I spend the rest of break figuring out where to go from here.”

“You’re leaving a lot up to chance Sunset… And I just want to make sure you’ll be okay through it all…” Twilight murmured worriedly.

“I appreciate it Twilight, really I do.” Sunset said with a warm smile, feeling her face flush again. “But trust me on this, things will work out okay. As long as we stick to the plan, everything will be fine.”

Twilight wasn’t wholly convinced, but she could already tell this was going to be a cyclical argument if she didn’t agree. So she let out a soft sigh, and looked at Sunset with a smile.

“I trust you Sunset.”

Apple Bloom stared down at her phone from the corner of the library where the CMC met every day, staring at the admin-side of the Anon-a-Miss page. It had been days since anyone had last sent in their secrets, and Apple Bloom had been the one to record the fight with Twilight and Sunset, but she didn’t know what else to do now.

“Are you still looking at the dumb website?” Scootaloo asked, turning around from her own pacing to look at Apple Bloom. “We haven’t gotten any new secrets, and we got what we wanted, so why are you looking that way?”

“Because it don’t feel right Scoots!” Apple Bloom said, glaring at her friend. “We just wanted to spend the Holidays with our sisters, but then the whole school went plum crazy! Now Sunset’s going around admitting she’s Anon-a-Miss when she knows she’s not and acting like her old self! And I can’t… I can’t help but just feel like…”

“Like it’s our fault.” Sweetie Belle finished for her, arms wrapped around her knees from where she sat. “Because it is… Sunset became a bully again because of us.”

“Well, how were we supposed to know that would happen!” Scootaloo said putting her arms up defensively. “It was just supposed to be a dumb website for the holidays and then that’d be it! We aren’t at fault for what Sunset’s doing now!”

“We are though!” Apple Bloom said, glaring at Scoots. “This is our fault! If we hadn’t made this dumb page, Sunset wouldn’t be a bully again! You can’t deny that Scoots!”

“Y-Yeah! But! But!” Scoots tried to defend herself, but looked between her two friends who were just staring at her. Scootaloo couldn’t think of what else to say, but deflated as she fell into a seated position as well. “Yeah, I know that but… I just wanted to spend more time with Rainbow Dash. I didn’t want all of this to happen…”

“What can we do?” Sweetie Belle asked, looking at Apple Bloom. “We can’t just leave it like this, can we?”

“No one would believe us if we told them we were Anon-a-Miss now though!” Apple Bloom grumbled. “Sunset admitted to the school that she was Anon-a-Miss, and even the dumb video I posted did nothing to get people to think she’s not…” Apple Bloom buried her head in her knees sighing. “I just wanna apologize to her and have this whole mess be over…”

“Well.” Sunset spoke up, stepping out from behind the corner of the bookshelves, causing the three girls to jump in shock. “I’m honestly pretty glad to hear that. That makes this part a lot easier for the both of us.”

“S-Sunset!?” Scootaloo cried out in shock. “How long have you been there?!”

“Long enough to hear your confession and desire to apologize.” She laughed, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “I had been wondering for a while now why someone would want to frame me for being Anon-a-Miss, but I never imagined it was because you three just wanted to spend more time with your sisters.”

Sweetie Belle’s eyes began to water over with tears, the younger girl rushing over to Sunset and wrapping her arms around her. Sunset felt the wind escape her from Sweetie crashing into her, but realized the younger girl was sobbing into her abdomen.

“We’re so sorry Sunset!” The girl bawled. “We didn’t mean to turn you into a bully again! We were just upset and angry that our sisters were spending more time with you than us and we… We weren’t thinking!”

“We really weren’t.” Apple Bloom said, walking up next and rubbing her arm in shame.

“Yeah… We… We really messed up this time.” Scootaloo said, scuffing the floor with her shoe. “We let our anger get the best of us, and I was… I was trying to justify everything we did but… Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle are right. What we did was wrong…”

“I’m sorry Sunset, could you ever forgive us?” Apple Bloom asked, clasping her hands together and begging with her biggest puppy dog eyes.

Sunset smiled at the display, just finally feeling a wave of relief wash over her knowing that things were finally reaching a conclusion.

“Well.” Sunset said with a smirk. “I’d be willing to forgive you all… Under one condition.”

“Name it! Anything!” Scootaloo said quickly.

“I want you all to delete the Anon-a-Miss page.” Sunset said simply.

“Huh?” Apple Bloom blinked in confusion. “That’s it?”

“That’s it.” Sunset said with a nod.

“But…” Sweetie Belle sniffled, looking up at Sunset. “You admitted to being Anon-a-Miss! Shouldn’t… Shouldn’t we tell everyone we were Anon-a-Miss and clear your name?”

“Honestly, at this point there really wouldn’t be any point in doing so.” Sunset chuckled with a shake of her head. “I admitted to being Anon-a-Miss to stop the secrets from being leaked, and I take it from you girls not posting any new ones, that it worked.”

“Y-Yeah…” Apple Bloom admitted shamefully. “Once we heard your confession it didn’t feel right to post any new secrets…”

“Especially since you were right. People had been sending us secrets, but no one sent in any new ones after you did that.” Scootaloo continued. “I guess we all just started to realize what a bad idea this had been all along.”

“Then I promise you, everything will be fine. The only thing I need is the website deleted, and then I can take care of the rest myself.” Sunset said with a smile.

Apple Bloom looked down at her phone. She stared at the website and hesitated a moment before handing the phone to Sunset.

“Here, you should do it. That way you know for certain it’s gone.”

Sunset blinked at that, but smiled and nodded at the gesture. She took the phone as Sweetie Belle pulled back from her hug, wiping her face as she sniffed, the three girls watching with anticipation.

Sunset browsed through the site real quick, simply confirming that it was the real Anon-a-Miss site and that the girls really were logged in with Admin credentials. Once she was certain, she navigated over to the deletion section of the website, tapped the delete button, gave confirmation, and then after a few seconds of loading, a confirmation message appeared followed by a generic MyStable page.

Sunset pulled out her own phone and double checked for herself, and got confirmation that the page was now gone forever.

“Thank you girls.” Sunset said with a sigh of relief, handing Apple Bloom back her phone. “Now why don’t you three girls run along and find your sisters. I promise everything will get better soon.”

The three girls gave quick nods, before rushing up and giving Sunset a large group hug. Sunset couldn’t help but smile and returned the hug in kind, before the three ran off to find their sisters. Sunset crossed her arms and let out a sigh of relief, glad that the biggest hurdle was now behind her.

She had found Anon-a-Miss and had gotten the website deleted in just one morning. She felt accomplished, and it meant that she could now execute the final step of her plan and clear her name before the holidays officially began.

She turned and began to make her way out of the library, but paused when she noticed that something felt… Off about the whole place.

She glanced around and noticed that, once the CMC had left, there wasn’t anyone left inside of the library. It was just her, and it was now extremely quiet.

...Too quiet.


Or at the very least, those were the last thoughts she’d had before a sharp pain ripped through the back of her skull, causing her to black out right then and there.