Since the day of the fall formal, Sunset came a long way from finding her family in the human world and fixing her wrong doings at the battle of the bands. But is it the end of Sunset's adventures?
After the Fall Formal, Sunset found the one thing she always wanted. A family. She got a loving mother, a great aunt, a sweet little sister, and the kindest soul in the world, who is her girlfriend. But her journey is not over yet. Let's see, where her destiny will bring her while finding out some secrets of the elements of harmony, that no one knew before.
"Apparently, Princess Celestia felt lazy and didn't want to get out of the bed. Princess Luna had to get her out," Sunset read Twilight's response in her journal when she was Celestia's student.
"So you all panicked, thought something happened to her, gathered everyone to rescue them, only to find Princess Celestia was just being lazy? That's something I never thought I would hear of her," Sunset wrote back with slight amusement and complete disbelief.
"Well, she's a lot different when she's not tied down by princess duties," Twilight wrote before continuing. "So, you still don't want to talk to her?"
Sunset drummed the pen on the page. Merely thinking of talking to the Princess again caused anxious thoughts to fill her head. Suffice it to say, it took a while before she found herself responding back.
"Sorry, I'm just not ready yet." Now it was Twilight's time to wait.
"Well, it's your choice. But Sunset, she really wants to talk to you," Sunset bit her lip as she looked at the massage for a while.
'Did she really? I failed her. Why would she want that?' she thought.
"Oh, Sunset, I just remembered. Celestia said she felt something change within the elements."
"What do you mean, she felt something?" Sunset wrote back, already suspecting what it was.
"Yes. I first thought it was because of the battle of the band. But she didn't felt anything the night at the fall, the night the portal closed."
Sunset already knew what it was. It has to have something to do with what happened to her at the battle of the band. She didn't tell anyone about it yet. She looked behind to see Fluttershy walking towards her from inside the school.
"Gotta go Twilight. We'll talk about this later. I promised Fluttershy that I'll meet her parents today."
"Good luck with that, see you," Twilight wrote. Sunset smiled at that. "See you," She wrote before closing the journal and getting up.
"Was that Twilight?" Fluttershy asked, pointing at the journal.
"Yeah, it is," Sunset said before looking away. Seeing the normally confident Sunset be nervous, Fluttershy smiled before speaking.
"You don't have to worry, you know. My parents are very sweet. I'm sure they won't say anything bad."
"Well, they did know I bullied you. It's not exactly the best first impression."
"No, it is not. But they didn't meet you yet. It's the old Sunset that they know about," Fluttershy said, holding Sunset's arm.
"If you say so," Sunset said, though she still had fear in her voice.
"I know they'll just love you."
Sunset bit her lip, "Are you sure you don't want to go to the animal shelter first?" The deadpan she received from Fluttershy was her answer. "Right. Okay, you got this Sunset Shimmer. You've faced down a whole different world, learned how to use hands, turned into a demon, got a new sister, saved the world from power-hungry sirens hellbent on conquering this world. You can meet the parents of the girl your dating."
They made their way to the bus station and took a bus. The bus ride was relatively silent as they got comfort from their presence. Though Fluttershy did hear Sunset trying to keep herself brave. Before long, the bus came to their stop, and the two got off the bus holding hands, or more like clutching in the case of Sunset. Fluttershy led the way to her house with Sunset beside her. Fluttershy's house, compared to Celestia's house, was a lot smaller. It was a small two-story house. Fluttershy walked up the stairs and open the door. Sunset gathered her courage, and with a deep breath, she stepped inside behind Fluttershy.
"Mom, I'm home," She shouted. "And I have a friend with me," Sunset just stood tensely, slightly hidden behind Fluttershy. Sunset normally wasn't a coward, but Fluttershy's mom would at least wait for Fluttershy to move out of the way before throwing the knife her way while she escaped through the front door, right?
"Hold on, sweetie, I'm coming," They heard a woman call out from the back of the house. Before long, a woman with crimson hair showed up and looked at the girls. "Sweetie, how was-" She stopped herself when she saw Sunset standing there. Sunset looked up at Mrs. Shy. She smiled nervously as she slowly waved at her before she grabbed her elbow nervously.
"H-hi… Mrs. Shy…" She slowly said, in a nearly perfect impression of Fluttershy.
"Mom, this is Sunset," Fluttershy said, introducing her. Not that it is was necessary as Mrs. Shy already knew who it is.
"I thought that's who it was," She said, eyeing Sunset with a suspicious glare. Sunset shrunk down under the intense stare of Mrs. Shy as she nervously looked at her. Thankfully, Fluttershy came to the rescue.
"Um… we'll be up in my room. We have some homework to finish," Fluttershy said before grabbing Sunset's arm and pulling Sunset with her.
"Okay, I'll leave you, girls, to it. Call me if you need anything," Mrs. Shy said without taking her eyes off of Sunset.
"Yep," Fluttershy said as she pulled Sunset up the stairs.
"Fluttershy?" Her mom called.
"Yes, mom?" Fluttershy said as she looked back at her mom.
"I mean it, anything."
"Yes, mam," Fluttershy said as she pulled Sunset along.
The first thing Sunset saw when she entered Fluttershy's room is all the animal posters and plushies. The walls were green, and everything was cleaned perfectly, unlike Sunset's room, which was a tiny bit untidy. The whole room screamed Fluttershy.
"You got a nice room there," Sunset said.
"Thanks," Fluttershy said, blushing. "Let's finish our homework first. W-we can hang out… l-later."
After that, they began to work on their homework. While working on their school work, Mrs. Shy came into the room with two glasses of orange juice and cookies for the girls to enjoy. But Sunset knew there's more to it than that when she saw the judging eyes of Mrs. Shy. After they finished their work, Sunset got a call from Celestia saying she'd be there around 6.00 to pick Sunset up. The girls decided to spend the rest of their time hanging out. Fluttershy showed Sunset her pet bunny Angel. Though Sunset was a little wary about him because she could swear he is plotting something behind her back. She would bet money she saw him glare at her and draw his paw across his neck. Overall, the day went perfectly, until they heard a car parking in the garage.
"Oh, dad's here," Fluttershy said.
"He is?" Sunset asked.
"Yeah," Fluttershy said before looking up at the clock. They have half an hour before 6.00 pm. "So, do you want to meet my parents now?" She asked.
"Um… I… o-okay…" Sunset said nervously. They left the room, and Fluttershy led Sunset down the staircase into the living room. Inside they found Mr. and Mrs. Shy talking over something in hushed tones. They stopped when they heard the girls coming.
"Oh, sweetie, are you done with your homework?" Mrs. Shy asked.
"Yes, mom, um… Sunset… this is my dad," Fluttershy said, introducing Sunset to her dad.
"H-hi… Mr. Shy…" Sunset said nervously.
"Hm… so you are this Sunset girl Fluttershy's been talking about, huh?" He said.
"Y-yeah…" Sunset said.
"Hm-hm… Fluttershy, can we talk with Sunset for a bit. Alone?" He asked, looking at Fluttershy. Sunset quickly looked at Fluttershy with pleading eyes. Fluttershy looked at her for a moment in doubt before smiling slightly.
"Y-yes," She said before turning to Sunset. "Sunset, don't worry. Everything will be fine," She said before leaving Sunset with her parents. On the other hand, Mr. and Mrs. Shy glared at Sunset when Fluttershy left, which startled the fiery-haired girl when she looked back at them. After they got seated, Mr. Shy started the conversation.
"So… Sunset huh? I Gotta give it to you. I never thought I'd see the day where you were inside my house," Mr. Shy said. From the looks of it, it was Mr. Shy that was going to talk.
"Um… thanks…?" Sunset slowly said, unsure.
"You know, when we first find out that Fluttershy had a girlfriend, we were so happy for her. But then we found out it was you," he said. Sunset said nothing and kept holding her head down, slightly wincing at his tone. "Do you know how many times Fluttershy came home crying for what you did to her?"
Again Sunset stayed quiet though her wince was more pronounced.
"So tell me, Sunset, do you really love her?" Mr. Shy asked. But Sunset didn't answer. Instead, she kept her head down, with her hair covering her face in a shadow. "That's what I-"
"I do," Sunset said.
"...What did you say?"
"I said that I love her," Sunset said, lifting her head up, looking at Mr. Shy, determination filling her face.
"You do? Okay then, answer me this. I need a true, honest answer. Why did you bully her? Why were you a bad person before, and what changed you that made someone like Principal Celestia want to adopt you?" Sunset's face turned into panic. Only her parents and her friends know about her true origin. All the students knew about her was that she and magic were tied together somehow and nothing else. But now Fluttershy's parents ask about her past.
"Well, are you going to answer me?"
"Um… well… that," Sunset didn't answer. She couldn't tell about her past. But for Fluttershy, she had to. And she knew the only way to gain the Shy's trust was to come clean. It's a risk, but she has to take that risk.
"Um, well, this may… sound a bit crazy, but I'm telling you the complete truth. If you need, you can ask Fluttershy or any of her friends. Or you can just talk to my mom about this when she picks me up," Sunset said.
"Okay, we're listening," Mr. Shy said.
Sunset took a deep breath before exhaling. She repeated the action to calm herself down. She thought she best begins from the beginning. So that's what she did. She started with Equestria, that she was an orphan back in then, how Princess took her in as a student, their fights and eventually the last fight, the first few months in the human world, and all the way to the day of the fall formal.
"So after that, principal Celestia adopted me. And I swore to change my ways," She finished. Sunset kept her head low, fearing what the Shy's might think. After a while, she gathered her courage and looked up at them.
Mrs. Shy looked confused. Mr. Shy had a poker face. No one spoke for a while, after what felt like an eternity, Mr. Shy spoke.
"Do you really expect us to believe that?" He asked.
"She's telling the truth," They heard Fluttershy saying from the staircase.
"Fluttershy? What are you doing here?" Mr. Shy asked.
"Um… I'm sorry, but I couldn't help but listen in on you. Plus, you were taking a really long time," She said shamefully. "But she's telling the truth. I-I didn't tell any of you about that because I was worried."
"Worried of what, sweetie?"
"I-I thought you wouldn't let me hang out with my friends anymore. W-we just got together and-"
"Oh sweetie, it's okay," Mrs. Shy said, walking up to Fluttershy.
"It's okay, dear. But please do talk with us about things like this, okay? We are just worried about you."
"I agree with your mother, My Little Butterfly."
"Dad!" Fluttershy said, embarrassed about her childhood nickname.
"So Sunset? If what you are telling is true, then I'm assuming you will one day return to your world, right?" Mr. Shy asked. Sunset, for the first time, answered without hesitating.
"No, I will not," She said.
"No? But it's your home,"
"It's where I come from, but it's not home. This is my home now. Everyone I know, my family, friends… they are all here. I can't leave them. I won't," She said.
They then heard a car pull in the driveway outside their home.
"I guess that's mom. I'll go get my stuff," Sunset said before walking up the stairs with Fluttershy.
Mr. Shy walked up to the door and opened it. Sure enough. It was Celestia.
"Principal Celestia, good evening," He said.
"To you as well. So, how was the interrogation? Did Sunset pass?" She asked, smiling.
"You were going to interrogate her, didn't you?"
"He-he, it's all right. You have all the right to. You were just looking after your daughter."
Just then, Sunset walked down the stairs, and she looked at her mom before walking to her side. Celestia threw an arm around her and held her closer in a side hug. Sunset, for her part, looked at the Shys in slight embarrassment.
"Mom!" She whined.
"What?" Celestia asked playfully. She turned back to Mr. Shy. "It's nice to see you. I'm guessing we'll be seeing each other more often in the future?"
"Yes, of course," Mr. Shy said. They said their goodbyes and parted ways. Sunset got in the car, looked back at the house, and saw Fluttershy looking at her smiling. Sunset smiled back and waved to her before Celestia drove away.
A week has passed since the battle of the bands, and life for Sunset was improving beyond her imagination. The whole school stopped their torment on the fiery-haired girl. She was on friendly terms with everyone, except for a few, but they kept it civil. Trixie would always be Trixie, and Lightning Dust, always had a chip on her shoulder, so it wasn't a surprise when they were always aggressive to her and others. The result of meeting Fluttershy's parents went well. Thus Sunset found herself meeting with Fluttershy at her home and vice versa more frequently. Despite everything going well for Sunset, she found herself thinking back on certain events. Sunset wasn't too sure as to what that place was, but she knew it contained the Tree of Harmony. Sadly, she didn't get a chance to investigate the last time she visited it, which was only during the Battle of Bands. Unfortunately, she didn't know what to do about it as she was unsure if she should tell anyone about the incident. That what lead to her current position. Sunset was sitting at her desk as she brainstormed. At the moment, no one knew anything about her astral journey, not her mom, her sister, her friends, or Luna. She told no one, not even Twilight. She brought up her right hand and looked at it.
'Why did you give me this?' She asked no one in particular. She focused her mind, and suddenly, a flicker of fire appeared on her palm. The flame danced beautifully and lit up her face as it curled in on itself, shifting between the colors of orange, yellow, and a bright red.
After talking with Twilight about what Princess Celestia felt, Sunset deduced that the Tree of Harmony gifted her some of her magical talents, primarily her mastery over flames. Her cutie mark represented her affinity for Pyrokinesis, which explained a lot about her current situation. She couldn't help but feel as though she could use more spells like teleportation and telekinesis when she pony-upped during her practices with the girls.
Deep in thought, Sunset unconsciously tried to increase the flame in her palm but stopped herself quickly. 'No, don't. I have no idea why the tree gave me this, but let's not try anything for right now. I need to understand these powers more before I begin to experiment inside my room with something that can burn down the house. That's the last thing I need right now.' She then heard a knock at her door. Sunset quickly swatted the flame from her hand and it disappeared in a whisp of light.
"Sunset, are you ready?" She heard her mom say, opening up the door.
"Yep, everything's packed up," Sunset said as she breathed out a silent sigh of relief that the flame vanished.
"Good, get some sleep. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow," She said.
"I'll head to bed in a few minutes. I just need to order a few things for that project I have planned. I need to get the pictures saved to a flash drive and get the few that haven't been sent to me yet. Once that's done, I'll be dream walking."
Celestia giggled a little as she walked forward to kiss Sunset on the forehead, "Don't stay up too late. If you're going to be sleepwalking, make sure to stay out of the cookie jar, okay?"
Sunset giggled at the misunderstanding before cheekily saying, "I promise nothing it might happen now that you mentioned it."
"Darn, alright, my little night owl. I'm going to sleep. Don't stay up too late," Celestia said in her "serious" voice. "Good night, I'll see you bright and early tomorrow."
Sunset smiled and looked at the traveling bag at the foot of her bed. They were going to meet Celestia and Luna's parents tomorrow, now her's and Snowdrop's grandparents. She was excited to meet them but almost overwhelmingly nervous too. She couldn't find a word for it, bu- *ping* Sunset brought up her phone and looked at the massage. It was from Pinkie, and it read,
"Nervousited? What the?" Sunset said in confusion.
Looking at the messages showed it was Fluttershy, Applejack, and Rainbow with the requested pictures smiling she began the work on getting the project ready so she could work on it when they got back. It would be at least two weeks until she was finished, but she knew it would be worth it. She looked at her nightstand with a picture of everyone important in her life. It was taken the day after the battle of the bands, and her heart swelled every time she looked at it.
Another text from Pinkie:
"I love you too, Sunny!"
She laughed at that, Pinkie will always be Pinkie.
"You know it, girl!"
The next day came quickly, and Sunset found herself in the back seat of Celestia's SUV with Snowdrop drowsily leaning against her. Luna was in the front with Celestia, deciding to join them in Celestia's car rather than using her own. It was Friday, and Celestia left the school in Cheerilee's and Cranky Doodle's hand for the day, and they were going to stay at Celestia and Luna's parent's home for two days, leaving late Sunday. The ride took roughly six hours. Which Sunset either spent listening to Rainboom demos to point out changes they could make until she lulled to sleep listening to a song Fluttershy wrote. Celestia parked the car in front of a simple-looking house. The house was painted a soft brown with white trims. It gave off a modern feel but held a nostalgic feel that had Celestia and Luna smiling when they saw it. Celestia looked in the back seat and shook the two sleeping beauties awake while Luna got out of the car.
"Hey, you two, we are here," She said, nudging Sunset. Sunset jolted awake, and Snowdrop flinched at the sudden movement, causing her hand to smack Sunset in her bottom jaw. This caused Sunset to hit her head against the door window and whine at the sudden state she found herself in. Sunset groaned as she stretched a bit as she got her bearing in order. Celestia just watched with amusement as she tried to contain her laughter. Luna just laughed at the two zombies trying to use their brains despite being half asleep. Sunset got out before walking around the car before helping Snowdrop get off the car. She and Luna carried the luggage while Celestia led Snowdrop up the driveway. The house wasn't that big compared to Celestia's home. It was a single-story house with a black roof and a silver chimney pipe. The house's front had a green lawn with fire dragon grass near the front porch with orange mums between them. The group walked over to the front door, and Celestia knocked at the door as Snowdrop reached out to Sunset, who moved Snowdrop next to her as Luna moved beside her sister. Celestia finished knocking, but before she could take back her hand, the door flew open, and an elderly woman flung herself into the two women hugging them tightly. The woman had peach color skin and curly orange hair that faded into purple at the end. She wore a white dress and looked about forty despite Sunset knowing she was in her late fifties.
"Oh, Celestia, Luna, I missed you so much. I knew I heard Luna's laugh, your father didn't believe me, but between us, he can barely hear over his own voice sometimes," She said with an elderly chortle, as she laughed at her own joke. She then looked up and saw the two girls standing behind.
"We missed you too, mom-" Celestia got cut off as the older woman moved before jumping up and down.
"Ohhhh! You two are so cute. I can't believe I'm finally seeing my little granddaughters," She yelled in joy before she devolved into excited laughter. "You two are the sweetest things I've ever seen. Come, come. Let's go meet that grump of a grandpa!"
She led the group inside as Celestia guided Snowdrop over the steps. The house looked bigger inside compared to the outside. It was simple, with family pictures on the wall, and had a welcoming feeling.
"You must be hungry. Dinner will be done in just a few moments. Luna, would you be a dear and get your dad? He's in the garage tinkering with his old baby."
"Sure thing, mom," Luna said before making her way to the garage.
Sunset looked around the house to get herself accustomed to the house as she placed the bag next to the bag Luna dropped. Snowdrop stayed in the same places as she listened to get a feeling of the house.
"So, what do you think?" Celestia asked Sunset.
"It's… cozy. It's nice, though I think I like our big house better. Kinda small, in my opinion," Sunset said carefully.
"Small? It feels like it's big to me," Snowdrop said.
"Yes, it may be a little small on the outside, but much of the ground floor is open. Mine and Luna's rooms are downstairs in the basement. Your rooms are next to ours. It may not be as big as our home, but you should have plenty of room for the both of you," Celestia said. "Come on, I'll show you to the rooms," She said before taking the bags and walking down the stairs as Sunset and Snowdrop followed her.
They decided that Sunset and Snowdrop would take one and Celestia and Luna will take the other. After leaving the bags in the rooms, Snowdrop and Sunset got the room that used to be Luna's, while Celestia and Luna would have Celestia's old room. As they reached the living room, they saw Luna with an elderly man, who, much like his wife, looked younger despite him being in his mid-sixties. He had wavy dark purple hair with graying sidelines and a stubbled beard. He wore a black shirt that looked like it had seen better days and painted and smeared jeans. He had thick black oil staining his forearms to his fingers that covered his night blue skin.
"Welcome, I see you got yourself situated and have made yourself at home," He said, looking over the two girls. "Sorry I didn't meet you with Solar, I was working on my girl, and I simply lost track of time," He explained while Celestia and Luna left to meet up with their mom.
"It's okay, sir," Sunset said respectfully.
"Now see here there's none of that sir business we are family, call us grandpa and ma, understand?" He said sternly.
"O-of course, sir- I mean grandpa," Sunset quickly said, correcting herself.
"Good, 'sir' is only used when you in trouble or I feel like you're in danger. Now, I'm going back to work on my girl until dinner," He said before leaving the girls.
"Uh… girl?" Snowdrop asked, confused.
"His car, I think," Sunset said as she guided Snowdrop around so she could get the layout of the house.
Before long, Celestia's mother, Solar Wind, called everyone to the dining table. She made a feast for the occasion, and Sunset found herself drooling at the sight of it all.
"I'm here," Snowdrop called as she walked up the staircase.
"Oh, careful, you'll fall," Solar Wind practically ran at her and safely guided her upstairs. "Where's your walking stick?"
"It's in my room," She said.
"Why did you leave it?"
"I don't normally use it after I get familiar with my surroundings. Your house is much easier to memorize than mom's house. I was walking around with a walking stick for three days. The place is huge," She said.
"It's okay, mom. Snowdrop is more capable than she looks. She surprises all of us sometimes. She knows where she's going," Celestia said.
"Yeah, our little snowflake can hear the stars. It's the most amazing thing you've seen," Luna said.
"We have a lot to explain of mom. First, let's finish the dinner, then we can talk about them," Celestia said, looking at Sunset.
Sunset gulped nervously. She'd need to talk with Celestia before the scheduled talk to know how much to tell and what they would leave out. While she was fine letting her friends, and by extension, their families, along with her mom and aunt, know about her origins. She was concerned about how the older couple would respond to some of the things she was going to claim when she talked about herself. She didn't want to put any strain on Celestia and Luna between their parents. It was obvious they all loved each other, and it would kill her inside to know that she damaged that relationship. She just hoped that the conversation went well.
The rest of the dinner went great, the food was amazing. During which, Sunset and Snowdrop's grandparents asking about their life, school, and such. Despite the light-natured conversation, Sunset couldn't help but feel the heavy air surround her because once dinner ended, the real conversation would happen. Fortunately for Sunset, she had a bit of time before the actual discussion to talk with her mom, and it was decided that they will tell everything to them. That part did little to calm Sunset's nerves.
Sunset was glad to still have some control over her emotions because it wasn't long before the rest of the family had finished cleaning up the kitchen and piled into the living room. Sunset sat on the couch along with Celestia and Snowdrop beside her and Grandpa and Grandma sitting across from them. Luna took a seat in the chair of to the side.
"So, what's with all this secrecy?" Crescent Moon asked in a gruff voice. Celestia looked at Sunset, silently signaling to her to begin. Sunset remembered the conversation she had with Celestia just moments before.
The two walked into Sunset and Snowdrop's room. Sunset walked in first, more like ran to the back of the room, while Celestia shut the door behind them. The door had barely closed before Sunset was already leaving a divet in the floor from her pacing. She grabbed her hair and was having trouble controlling her breathing.
"Sunset, you need to calm down. Panicking won't do you any favors," Celestia said softly.
"How can I not panic? What do I tell them? What do I do if they don't believe me?"
"Me and Luna will talk to them, obviously."
"But what do I tell them? How do I tell them? If I screw this up and somehow cause a fight. I don't even know what I'd do," Sunset added quietly.
"You'll tell them everything, how you want to. You need to go at your own pace and try to remain calm. Don't forget you have me. You have Luna, and most importantly, you have Snowdrop at your side whenever you need it. We will help you if you feel too uncomfortable in some parts. Now take a deep breath and calm yourself," Celestia said, soothing some of Sunset's worries.
Breathing repeatedly with long-drawn-out breaths helped Sunset slowly calm her down, somewhat, "You're right. Okay, I've got this. I already told Fluttershy's parents I can do this."
"You told Fluttershy's parents about you?" Celestia asked.
"Well, I-yea?" Sunset said though it sounded more like a question to Celestia.
"... You know, there are a few more people that will be there for you even if they're not here now."
"Really? Who else-" Sunset paused before a small smile spread. "Yeah, they would. Especially Pinkie and Fluttershy. Pinkie would throw me a party to feel better, and Fluttershy would give me one of her hugs. The ones that could feel anyone with warmth and make all the sadness disappear. Her hugs are magical. You just can't be sad around her. It's like her kindness makes the sadness disappointed in itself for making you sad. She's amazing."
"Well, someone is quite the smitten kitten," Celestia said, trying to hold back her giggles.
"Mom, don't. You sound like Rarity," Sunset said as she blushed so hard that it would put her demonic skin color to shame.
Snapping back to reality, Sunset realized she was playing with her hands while she was zoned out. Clearing her throat, Sunset started, "Okay, um… *ahem*… right uh, this might sound... crazy… but I swear everything I'm about to tell you is the truth. Just, uh, keep an open mind, okay?"
"We are listening," Crescent Moon said as he leaned back into his seat with his hands on his knees.
"Okay, it's… about where I come from..." Sunset took a breath before continuing. "I know this is going to sound crazy, and I swear I'm not, you can ask Luna. So I'm actually… not from here. This world or dimension, really."
"Not from- I'm sorry, dear. I might have heard wrong-"
"Not from this world. You heard right," Celestia interjected her mom.
"It would probably help to just hear everything first. I can prove all this to you later," Sunset said. "As I said, I'm actually from a different world, an alternate world. You might even be able to call me an alien, and not the immigrants from other countries, if it wasn't for Luna's friend making my paperwork. So my homeworld doesn't have any humans. Instead… it is filled with various sapient animals- I know it sounds like a fairy tale, but it isn't. I have proof if you need some."
"I was not always in this body. I was a unicorn back in my world. A pretty powerful one at that, though I'm might be weak now—years of not training and being cut off from magic and that. Not to mention new spells that have been crafted. Anyway, I caught the eye of a ruler of the land, and they took me as their personal student from an orphanage. As time went by… I began to turn a little… prideful about myself."
"Little?" Luna interrupted from the side, which got her a glare from her sister.
Sunset winced, "Maybe more than a little. Being the most talented student and the Princess's personal student made me look… down on other students," She rubbed her left arm as she continued. "So, I didn't have any friends, and I was fine with that. I thought I didn't need them. Over time, I began to look at the Princess as a mother figure. Though she made it clear that we would never have such a relationship. So when I saw a way to be her daughter, I wouldn't let anything get in my way, not even the Princess. I found a spell and tried to use it, despite it being dark magic. Of course, the Princess found out and ordered the guards to take me back to my room.
"I've never heard her speak in such a cold tone before, even when we argued before. It was like I was nothing but a piece of scrapped iron or a worn shoe. Anyways, I was stubborn and so angry. I stunned the guards with a paralysis spell and teleported to a portal I found out about while looking for a way to be her daughter. I remember looking back and seeing the Princess. I hated her for not wanting to be my mother, but even as I glared at her in full hatred, her stoic mask never slipped. I saw her horn light up before I jumped through the portal and escaped to this world. If I'm honest with myself, I was terrified of her. She didn't say anything. She just looked at me. I use to read her like a book, but when I looked at her, there was nothing. No sign of knowing who I was, no emotion, just nothing. I felt like her enemy, one that she would surely crush if I stayed any longer," Sunset paused and looked at her grandparents.
"But when I arrived in this world, I was no longer a unicorn. I was a human. Since the only way to go back was closed, I decided to survive in this world. First, I found a place to stay. It was an old abandoned factory. Then I forged some paperwork and attended CHS so that I can learn more about this world. But since I didn't have any legal paperwork, I couldn't get a job. So, I became someone I deeply regret now. I became a bully and stole lunch money from the kids at school and wrote essays for money…"
"That is until recently, I went back to my world when the portal opened. I stole a magical crown that I thought could grant me enough power so… so the Princess would see me worthy of becoming her daughter," from here, Sunset became emotional. "B-but… something went wrong, and I… I-I turned into a monster… I-I turned into… a-a literal demon and… I-I tried t-to… I-I-" Sunset felt herself being embraced by her mom and her sister, to which she responded with tearful nuzzles.
"It's okay, Sunset. She didn't do it. She wasn't you. It's all over now," Celestia whispered to Sunset. Sunset breathed in and out for a while and calmed herself down.
"I'm fine, mom, thank you," Sunset said before looking back at her grandparents. They both looked puzzled but thankfully didn't say anything. "Sorry, it's still a fresh wound. After everything, the crown's owner turned me back and left me under the hands of her friends. They helped me to become good again, to reshape me into someone new. During this time, Celestia found about my living standards and took me in as her daughter. One of my friends took me to the local orphanage to help her look after the kids. That's where I met Snowdrop." Sunset said, looking at Snowdrop.
"She was… alone. All because of something she couldn't control. I needed to do something, but I didn't know what. Mom decided to adopt her. I finally got the family I always wanted. That's pretty much everything." Sunset said, finishing up her story.
"Okay, let me get this straight. You are a unicorn, from another world, who turned into a human, that did bad things, and is now trying to be good again?" Crescent Moon asked.
"Yeah, pretty much. Here's some evidence," Sunset said before pulling up her phone and playing a video. She hands it over to her grandpa, and together Cresent Moon and Solar Wind watched the video.
"I'm so proud of her. She came a long way since her bullying days," Celestia said, hugging her daughter.
The video was a song the girls played with Sunset after the battle of the band. Crescent Moon handed back the phone once the video was finished.
"So?" Sunset asked awkwardly as a moment of silence lengthened.
"Well, Celestia and Luna seem to support this, and they're not one to usually lie about something of this magnitude, but we need to see it for real. This video could be edited."
"Well, uh… I could try singing you a song. But I don't have my guitar with me," Sunset said.
"I have one, come," Crescent Moon said, standing up. Sunset followed her.
They walked to a closet near the kitchen, and Cresent Moon began digging through the cramped space. Sunset could hear some quiet conversation back in the living room. She tried to listen to what was being said but was unsuccessful. She heard a grunt and things being shifted as Cresent Moon lugged a guitar case out of the storage area. After receiving Cresent Moon's guitar, the two walked back to the living room. Sunset sat down to tune it while thinking of a song to play. The other's meanwhile asked Snowdrop about her story. Since losing her parents when she was little, she didn't have much to say other than her abilities. The elders were surprised to hear about them, especially about Snowdrop being able to listen to stars. Though the two quieted down as the melodic tunes of the guitar string filled the air. After one last test strum, Sunset pulled her phone out, and her eyes skimmed the phone.
"This is still a work in progress, but It should be enough to work," Sunset explained before reading over the notes one last time. After getting the tune where she wanted it, Sunset began to strum the strings and closed her eyes.
♫It's alright… yeah I'm walking right beside you I feel the way, feel the way that you do to Oh, I can't lie, sometimes♫
♫Everything feels like it's just too much You gotta let it in, even if it's tough Know it gets better, know it gets better, We push through the weather, weather♫
Everyone watched in amazement as Sunset suddenly began to glow. The transformation was quick and swift. Under everyone's eyes, Sunset's human ears turned into pony ears, her hair grew in length, and a unicorn horn sprouted on her forehead.
♫Let it ra-a-a-ain Let it ra-a-a-ain Don't be afraid of walls coming down Sometimes it hurts, to figure it out Let it ra-a-a-ain Let it ra-a-a-ain Let it ra-a-a-ain♫
Sunset finished the cords before she opened up her eyes. She saw her grandparents looking at her with wide eyes, just like she expected. They stayed like that for a while as their minds tried to grasp what was before them. Moments later, Solar Wind stood up and walked over to Sunset. She extended an arm and gently touched one of Sunset's ears. Sunset instinctually tilted her head and folded her ears.
"T-they are… r-real…" Solar Wind said disbelievingly.
"S-so… do you believe me now?" Sunset asked.
"M-my granddaughter is a unicorn…" They heard Crescent Moon whisper, which garnered a giggle from Snowdrop. Sunset soon joined her. But she suddenly flinched away when she felt someone touching her ears.
"Woah… they really soft," Snowdrop said.
After the demonstration, and everyone had a chance to calm down. The elders began their questions about Sunset, her world, and how she survived the years. Sunset happily answered them, relieved that she hadn't destroyed a family. After the questioning, everyone went about their own tasks. Celestia going over emails from the school and calling the stand-ins to see how the day went. Luna went to her room to set up her gaming stuff to play after everyone else went to sleep. Solar Wind began to shower before bed so she could watch her favorite TV show in her comfy clothes. Cresent Moon went through a door with his greased-covered clothes. This left Snowdrop and Sunset alone. Snowdrop was humming Sunset's song, and Sunset was relaying what happened to Fluttershy as the two walked around the neighborhood.
Her grandparents live in a little city. This meant the neighbor was calm, and everyone knew everybody, unlike in Canterlot. While walking back to the house, Sunset heard her grandpa working in the garage. Walking over to the garage opening, Sunset saw Crescent Moon fixing something in the car engine.
"Ah, Sunset," He said when he noticed Sunset.
"Hey. I heard you working and thought to check who your girl is," Sunset said.
"Hehe, a Chevy Impala. She's a beaute, isn't she?" He asked.
"Well… I don't know a lot about cars, but she looks great," Sunset said.
"I think it looks awesome," Snowdrop said with a cheeky smile.
"Hehe, you know what? I'll take you and Snowdrop for a ride, huh? Can you hand me that gas cap?" He said, pointing to a gas cap sitting on the worktable.
"Yeah, why not. So what's the problem with it?" Sunset said, letting go of Snowdrop's hand and retrieving the item.
"Oh, nothing serious. Just a faulty engine and a loose gas cap. Nothing I can't fix." Crescent Moon said. A few moments passed as Sunset handed him various tools before he straightened and stretched his shoulders. "Done, come on," He said before closing the car and getting inside.
Sunset followed him and got inside the car. Crescent Moon started the car and drove it out of the garage. They saw Snowdrop with Solar Wind out in the garden.
"Hey Snowdrop, grandpa is taking us on a ride. You wanna join?" Sunset shouted.
An excited laugh and bobbing head was the only answer as she stood up. Solar Wind guided Snowdrop towards them as she said, "Now be careful, okay, Moony. You are with two kids."
"Yes, yes, I know. Don't worry, I only drag race when I'm alone," He said, earning a glare from Solar, as he opened the door and helped Snowdrop to get inside.
Once inside, Crescent Moon started the car towards the road and revved the engine. Sunset was amazed at the capabilities of the vehicle despite being an old model. Then again, she's as dumb as a foal when it comes to cars.
Crescent Moon drove the car around the town, giving the girls a great view of the city or Snowdrop's case, enjoying the warm sun with a cool breeze. Both he and Sunset were saddened by the fact that Snowdrop couldn't see the amazing view. But she tried to enjoy the ride and scenery for both herself and Snowdrop.
All and all, the day was quite great. Sunset met her grandparents for the first time, and they were okay with who she was and is. Sunset almost forgot about her powers when she saw her grandparents accepting her. But the worry resurfaced when they asked about her unicorn magic, something she was hesitant to answer at the moment.
The next day, Sunset's grandparents decided to take them on a picnic near a calm, beautiful lake called Swan Winged Lake. After waking up, having breakfast, a quick shower, though Cresent Moon insisted they all took ages and getting ready for the rest of the day, Sunset helped the elders prepare for the picnic. After getting everything ready, the family hopped into Crescent Moon's car, but very quickly, a problem arose.
"Ngh! It's too tight!" Sunset exclaimed as she pulled at her arms.
"Mom, Aunt Luna, I'm small but not this small," Snowdrop said between gasps, as she was currently squished between Sunset and Celestia.
"Change of plans. Me and Sunset will follow behind you all in Celesia's car," Luna purposed after getting her ribs elbowed by Sunset for the fifth time.
"Sounds like a plan. Let me out."
The two quickly jumped out of the car and made their way to the car. Sunset jumped in the front seat while Luna ran inside to grab the keys from Celestia's bag. Luna started the car while Sunset messed around with the radio. As they pulled out of the driveway and followed behind Cresent Moon's car.
As they were driving, Luna looked over at Sunset, who was bobbing her head to the music. She bit her lip before speaking, "So, Sunset, how is school? Is everyone treating you well?"
"It's going good. It was a bit of an adjustment going from being the most hated person in school to the revered hero of the school."
"I can imagine. You've gone through much in so little time."
"Yeah, but I wouldn't change it for anything. I've gained so much more than I could have ever gained had I continued my path. Change is the path to progress, something I wasn't doing when I was the school's, Queen Bee. While I changed physically when I became human, I was still the same pony I was when I left and eventually returned to Equestria. I stayed in the same place for too long. I was slowly rotting from the inside out. Twilight revitalized me, and Fluttershy helped me grow into the person I am now."
"Your friends surely helped a lot, but it was ultimately up to you to change. Don't sell your actions short. Your will to change wasn't any less significant when comparing them to your friends. You must love yourself in order to love others," Luna said slowly in a somber voice.
"I know. I'm reminded of my love for myself and others every day I wake up," Sunset said with a small smile as she looked at her screensaver of all the girls and Spike together with her family.
The picture had been taken just before Twilight returned to Equestria. Sunset wanted a picture of everyone together. Chrysalis was standing next to Luna while Sunset and Snowdrop were being hugged from behind by Celestia. Surrounding the front were girls all in different poses and holding different items. Pinkie had a plate of Cupcakes to send back to the other Pinkie. Rainbow was sitting in a cocky pose while spinning a soccerball on her finger. Fluttershy held Angle in her lap, who looked less than pleased to be there. Rarity was the only one that wasn't holding an item, preferring to focus more on posing and liking as fabulous as possible. While Applejack was taking a bit of an apple, having not realized the picture was being taken. Applejack insisted on a redo, which they did, but Sunset preferred this picture as it captured their essence in the truest form.
Her thoughts were interrupted when Luna asked, "How's your project coming along?"
"It's coming along great. I only have to wait for the clay to arrive. Rarity said she'd helped with the lifelike feature."
"I'm sure she'll love your gift. It's nice of your friends to help you with this."
"Yeah, Pinkie's like a coke bottle and mentos bottle, though. She can't wait for the reveal."
"Miss Pie is an energetic girl under calm conditions. I can only imagine how hard this must be for her."
Sunset laughed softly, "Yeah, she almost said too much so many times."
The two fell in a moment of silence before Luna spoke up again, "Sunset, there was a purpose as to why I suggested the two of us ride together."
"Yes, I feel like I should have said this a long time ago," Luna said as she turned down the radio. "Sunset, I must apologize to you."
"Apologize? For what?"
"For my actions and the things I said and did during the Battle of Bands," Luna answered somberly. "What I said was out of line even with me being brainwashed."
"But Luna, you just said you were brainwashed. That wasn't you."
"Maybe, maybe not, who can really know. It makes me wonder if those were my actual thoughts. When I thought of that, I was filled with shame and guilt. That never should have happened. I'm the disciplinary enforcer of the school. To think that I would cause harm to an innocent student leaves a sour taste in my mouth, but to enable that or do nothing to stop it hurts me to my very core. I should have stopped it."
"Luna, there was nothing you could have done. They were over a thousand years old, and no one knew that there were banished equestrians here other than me," Sunset tried to pacify, but Luna wasn't conceding that easily.
"What you speak of is true, Sunset. They, however, do little to stop the emotions I feel towards my actions or inactions during that time. In any case, I wanted to apologize, as I realized that I never gave one when I should have desperately done so. I hope that you can forgive me for the way I treated you during those troubling times."
"Luna, there was nothing to forgive. I knew you never meant to harm. You were being used against your will."
"You truly are one of a kind, aren't you. Your sense of empathy knows no bounds. Thank you for forgiving me."
"You're welcome. I love you, Aunt Luna, just as much as anyone I know," Sunset smiled as she wiped away traces of tears that gathered at the edge of her eyes.
"I Love you too. Though I think of one animal-loving girl that you may love a teensy bit more," Luna said in a very suggestive tone.
"L-Luna, not you too." Sunset blushed as the adult began laughing at her expense.
Minutes later, Crescent Moon pulled off the road into a small gated area, with Luna following behind. Driving to a parking spot revealed a beautiful lake filled with ducks and other aquatic animals and plants. A thicket of cattail lined the edge of the lake. Fluttershy would have loved to see this place. Sunset made a mental note to take her here one day, maybe as a date. While gathering the needed items. Cresent Moon commented on the name of the lake. It got its name from pioneers that discovered it. According to Cresent Moon, when they found the lake, the cattails had just spread their speeds. That, together with the shape of the lake, caused them to mistake it for a swan wing. Thus, the lake's name was created, and at the beginning of every fall, the same phenomenon could be seen.
While the adults talked, Sunset and Snowdrop walked away from the group to take in the scenery. The whole place was so calming that Sunset almost forgot about everything else. Almost. The thoughts of her powers still lingered in her mind. She looked at Snowdrop for a moment. The little girl holding onto her arm looked so happy, walking with Sunset with a slight hop in her walk.
"Hey… Snowdrop. May I… ask you something?" Sunset asked, unsure of how to get going with this. Snowdrop angled her head a little.
"Mm-hm. What is it?" She asked in her soft, almost like flowers rustling in a gentle breeze.
"If… for some strange reason. I got powers, do... Do you think I will become evil again?" She asked carefully.
"Nope," Snowdrop said, popping the 'p'.
"Why do you say that?"
"Well… is this about that time you got really mad and got very scary?"
"You mean when I stopped Diamond Tiara? Well… yeah," Sunset said, even though it was not what she was referring to.
"Well, in that case, I think you will be evil to all the bullies in the world," Snowdrop said in her happy voice.
"Huh?" Sunset said, confused.
"I wouldn't worry about it. You'll never be evil. Remember, you only got mad at sirens and Diamond Tiara because you were trying to protect your family," Snowdrop explained. "You haven't got angry when the school hated you. You just tried to protect your loved ones. So I think, if you ever got some kind of power, then you will be like one of those superheroes. Saving everyone from bad guys. Being angry doesn't make you evil, just hurt. They're too scared to show themselves hurting, so they become scary and mean to keep people away."
"Hehe, you really think so?" Snowdrop nodded. "Well, if you ever get powers. You'll be amazing, you're already superhuman with your hearing. You can be my side-kick," Sunset said. "We can be real-life Human Torch and Daredevil," Sunset exclaimed, posing a heroic pose.
"Huh?" Snowdrop said, confused.
"Oh, sorry, forgot you don't know much about heroes," Sunset said.
The two shared a laugh before the calls of Celestia and Luna gained their attention. They made their way back to their parents and began serving and passing each other dishes to eat.
"So, what do you think of this place?" Solar Wind asked.
"It's great. It reminds me a lot of home," Sunset said.
"And calming. The sound of nature is everywhere, the gentle lapping of the water, the buzzing of insects, and the singing of birds ." Snowdrop said.
"Glad you liked it. We come here all the time. Especially when I need to brainstorm things to draw."
"Mmhm, I'll show you when we go back."
The family began to speak of each other's interests, with Sunset commenting on painting and video games being just a few of her many interests. Though Luna teased Sunset about raging at video games being more her forte. Snowdrop commented on enjoying sculpting and wanting to make pottery. After finishing the food, the family decided to take in the scenery. Sunset looked at the lines of Cattail in the pond. She then walked over to one and plucked one from the stem, and walked over to Snowdrop.
"Hey Snowdrop, wanna feel something amazing?" She asked.
"What is it?" Snowdrop asked curiously.
"Here, take this," Sunset said, handing the cattail over to Snowdrop. Snowdrop took it in her hand before feeling around it.
"What is this?" She asked.
"It's a cattail. Now, break it," Sunset said, smirking.
"Okay," Snowdrop said before breaking the cattail in half. "Ahck!!" and shouted when she felt her arm being covered in wool. "What is it!?"
"Hehe… hehe… it's cattail fluff. They are filled inside the bud." Sunset said. "I remember a time when I was little. I think it was three weeks after I started to live with Celestia. Me and Celestia went to the castle's private gardens. There was a small pond, and a bunch of Cattails was growing. Celestia tricked me into break three Cattails at once to and I quote, "To test your magic's strength". The main problem was it was windy that day, and I was facing the wind. When it snapped, I was so startled by it that I ended up falling into the pond. During this, Celestia just laughed, that is until I threw water at her. The rest of the day, we had a water fight in the pond, and the gardeners were so angry. Granted, they didn't know that Celestia was one of the ponys that caused the mess."
"Sound like it wasn't all bad growing up with her," Snowdrop said.
"It's complicated. But what do you think? They're pretty cool, right?"
"Hehe, yeah," Snowdrop said before picking some fluff and throwing it to Sunset.
"You startled me," Snowdrop said innocently.
After spending a couple more hours at the lake, the family got back to the house, and Solar Wind brought Sunset to a room that Sunset never entered before. When Sunset entered the room, she saw the whole room was filled with art equipment.
"Wow, you weren't kidding when you said you are drawing," Sunset said, looking around the room.
"Hehe, thanks. So what do you think?" She asked. Sunset looked at all the drawings Solar Wind made. Almost all of the drawings were of nature.
"They are great," Sunset said.
"So, do you draw?" Solar Wind asked.
"Oh yeah, I do. Wait a sec, I'll bring my sketchbook," Sunset said before running back to her room to grab her sketchbook. When she got back, she handed it over to her grandma. She took it and began to scroll through the pages.
"Wow, these are great." Solar Wind said before stopping at a drawing of a castle. "This castle is amazing. Where did you get the inspiration?" Sunset looked over her shoulder and saw the drawing.
"Oh, that's Canterlot castle. From my homeworld," Sunset said.
"It must be enormous, I can only imagine," Solar Wind said, looking at the fully detailed drawing of the castle.
"It is. That place is like a huge maze. I used a map of the castle for months to get familiar with the layout when I first got there," Sunset said. But her voice had a little bit of sadness in it. Solar Wind kept scrolling through the pages when she got into a drawing of a particular girl.
"Oh, who's this?" She asked with a knowing smile. Sunset's eyes widened and blushed when she saw the drawing and tried to grab the book.
"No one!" but failed as Solar Wind pulled the book away from her.
"Is it someone important?" She asked with a sing-song voice.
"I… I-It's not important."
"Honey, you can tell me anything you know that, right?" She asked.
"Okay fine. She is… my… *ahem* girlfriend…" Sunset said with her face redder than chili sauce. "And… um… mom already knows,"
"Oh- hehe, young love, it's so precious. What can you tell me about her?" Solar Wind asked with an expected smile.
"Well… for starters… she's very beautiful. Her pink curly hair. Her teal eyes. They are the most beautiful things I've ever seen," Sunset began. "She's very meek, shy, and kind, but she can be so strong and assertive. Probably the kindest soul in the whole world. She's an animal lover. She even has this bunny called Angel, though don't let his name fool you. I'm pretty sure he is plotting some kind of evil plan to get rid of me."
"Hehe. I'd like to meet this girl of yours. She sounds lovely," Solar Wind said.
"She is," Sunset said before they were engulfed by a comfortable silence.
The silence was interrupted by Solar Wind as she spoke to Sunset.
"Sunset… you are in trouble, aren't you?"
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"Don't try to hide it. I've noticed it. Especially when you told us about your powers yesterday," Solar Wind said, putting an arm around Sunset. "Sweetie, what's the problem?" She asked.
Sunset didn't answer. Instead, she looked away. Solar Wind didn't say anything and waited for Sunset to continue. After a while, Sunset responded.
"I'm afraid." She said, still not looking in the eye.
"Of… of m-me… afraid what I-I could do. That I'll become a monster again, something evil."
"Oh, Sunset, what happened? Why do you say something like that?" Solar Wind asked, stroking Sunset's hair.
"Um… do you remember about those sirens and how we defeated them?" Solar Wind nodded. "Well… that night… something else happened. Something that I haven't told anyone about."
"Um… ever since fall formal… I began to have this recurring dream. I would wake up in this dark void with nothing but a light in the distance." Sunset began. "Each time I have this dream. I keep getting closer to the light. But after we defeated the sirens, I went there again and… I saw what the light is. It was the Tree of Harmony."
"Tree of Harmony?"
"Yeah. The crown I stole? It is an artifact from a set of magical artifacts belonging to the tree. The Elements of Harmony. They are the strongest, most powerful weapon in Equestria. It was even able to turn a literal god of chaos into stone." Sunset then looked at her grandma.
"That night, when I saw the tree… it did something. When I went to inspect it… the elements began to glow and struck me with a magical light. And I began to burn. My whole body was set in fire," Solar Wind's eyes widened. "But, it didn't hurt. Instead, it felt calming. Then I found out the tree gave some of my magic back." Sunset said, igniting a flame in her palm. Solar Wind watched as the flame danced on Sunset's open palm. Sunset quickly swiped the fire away.
"I don't know why it gave me my powers, but I'm afraid," Sunset said, hugging herself.
Solar Wind didn't respond right away. She took a little bit of time before responding.
"I don't think you need to be afraid. Because from what you told me, I have a feeling that the tree has some kind of mind of its own. And when it saw you defeat the sirens and save the world. I believe that it might have seen the good in you. You suffered through so much strife. You grew into a loyal friend that has nothing but kindness and joy to your friends. You are able to empathize with them. I think it gave you your magic as a gift," Solar Wind said. Sunset looked up at her eyes.
"A gift?" Solar Wind nodded.
"Yes, Sunset. But you should talk to Celestia and Luna about this. And keep in mind that there are people standing with you. Whatever happens, you don't have to go through it alone. Do you understand?" Solar Wind said.
Sunset kept looking at her grandma for a moment before she suddenly hugged her.
The weekend had ended on a happy note with happy goodbyes and promises to visit again, though next, they saw each other, Cresent Moon insisted they'd be the ones visiting. After the drive home, where everyone turned in for an early night, Sunset enjoyed a restful night's sleep. This is how Sunset found herself back at CHS in a cheerful mood even though is just a normal day at school. Since the conversation with Solar Wind, Sunset had an easier time moving through the day now that she feared her powers less than before thanks to Snowdrop, who is surprisingly a lot matured than her age, and her Grandma. With her Grandma's advice, she decided it'd be better to get things off soon rather than later. She stored the rest of her school books and grabbed her art supplies from her locker before moving towards her final class for the day. She met Fluttershy halfway through, who was also going to the same class.
"Sunset, you didn't talk about this weekend. Was it bad?" Fluttershy asked.
"It was great. On Saturday, we went to this lake that was surrounded by cattails. It was so calm and filled with a lot of animals. It kinda reminded me of home. You'd really like that place. Maybe we can go there one day," Sunset said happily as she moved some hair behind her ear.
"Sounds like a wonderful place," Fluttershy said before turning her voice down. "So, Sunset, what did you need to tell us?"
"Well, you already know a part of it. But you'll have to wait till the rest of us are together," Sunset said.
"I already know? Wait, is it?"
"Yup," Sunset said while popping the 'p'.
Once they all settled in, the art began a few moments later, and everybody began to draw to their heart's content. Sunset took a while before beginning her drawing as she thought of something to draw. After a few minutes and finding nothing to draw, Sunset looked back at other paintings before her eyes fell on Fluttershy. She was, as always, drawing an animal. More specifically, a fox. And Sunset finally got an idea. After what felt like a few minutes but in reality was an entire class period, everyone finished their work and began to place the paintings and clean the class as it was the last class of the day.
"Sunset, what do you say?" Fluttershy asked, showing her drawing. Sunset looked at the painting in a practiced eye.
The picture was of two foxes in a stylized but startling realistic form. The two foxes were touching nose to nose, creating a heart-like shape with the background. While their tails were entwined and made an upside-down heart. She couldn't help but notice that the colors were very close to their own colors.
"Great. They are really cute. I love the colors, pink, yellow, and red," She said, earning a blush and Fluttershy insisting that she ran out of red despite the pencil being help in her hand. "You know what else is cute?"
"What?" Fluttershy said with a slight frown at the teasing from Sunset.
"This," Sunset said, showing her drawing, which caused Fluttershy's already flushed face to explode red at what she saw. It was a drawing of Fluttershy, drawing a picture. More specifically, a portrait of her a few minutes ago.
"O-oh my…" Fluttershy said, blushing while she tried and failed to hide her face.
"Oh man, this doesn't come even closer to how cute you are now," Sunset said jokingly.
"S-Sunset…" Fluttershy whined.
With the end of class, Sunset and Fluttershy made their way to the Music room to meet with the others. Rarity, Snowdrop, and Pinkie were already there. Pinkie was playing with Snowdrop before stopping and running, or more like teleporting next to Sunset.
"Hey, Sunset!" Pinkie shouted. "What did you want to speak to us about? Oh, oh, I know, it's a new cupcake recipe that is inspired by the magic of friendship, right? No, no, that's something I'd do. Oh, oh, is it about how you're joining a gaming team, but you have to move away and we'll never see you ever again? Or are you huuaaAHH going back to pony world?" She asked in a shocked gasp as tears gathered in her eyes.
"So it is true!!! NOOOOOO! I won't let you leave," Pinkie exclaimed as she hugged Sunset's legs, causing the confused girl to fall forward, who was luckily caught by Rarity.
"No, Pinkie, I'm staying here. How could I leave you girls and Snowdrop, not to mention Celestia and Luna?"
"Oh, that's a relief," Pinkie said, throwing a hammer and pre-nailed plank above her from where she was now standing at the door leading out.
"Geez, Pinkie, where do you come up with these ideas?" Sunset asked, dusting off her jeans.
"I don't know," Pinkie said bluntly. "Can you tell me or give me a hint? Pleeeaaassse."
"Now now, be patient, dear. We have to wait till the others. You know that Sunset doesn't like to repeat herself," Rarity said, stopping Pinkie.
"Sorry, Pinkie, but she's right. I have to talk to all of you together," Sunset said.
Luckily for Pinkie, they didn't have to wait for too long as Rainbow, Applejack, Celestia, and Luna arrived soon.
"Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna too?" Rarity asked.
"This mighty serious for all of us to be here," Applejack said.
"Sunset? Is something wrong?" Celestia asked in concern as she approached Sunset.
"Well… no… I mean… there is… um-" Sunset stopped as she felt Fluttershy holding her hand. When she looked at her, she saw Fluttershy giving her a reassuring smile. Sunset took a deep breath before calming herself down.
"Sorry. Um… I have to tell you all something. Something I have only told Grandma about, I needed an outside opinion. She and Snowdrop encouraged me to talk to you all about this," Sunset said.
"I did?" Snowdrop asked.
"Yeah, you did."
"So what is it?" Rarity asked.
Sunset let out a sigh before replying, "I guess I'll start from the beginning. It was right after the Fall Formal when you stopped me from using the element. That night, when you used the elements, I was sent into this void with just a single light. I didn't know what the light was, but I couldn't-" "NO SUNSET! Don't walk to the light!" Pinkie shouted.
"It's not that kind of light," Sunset corrected though she was slightly annoyed at the interruption.
"Anyways, since that night, I went to that void sometimes while sleeping. The first few nights, I had nightmares. But they stopped soon after, and then, at the Battle of the Bands, something happened again. When we used the elements on the Dazzlings, I went back to that place. You didn't notice because all it took was a few seconds in your eyes. While there, I found what the light was. It was the Tree of Harmony. The source of the elements. Long story short, it gave me something. Grandma said it is a gift. The tree gave me for what I did that night."
"So what did it gave you?" Rainbow asked curiously.
"Um… well… it gave me… this," Sunset said before bringing up her palm and summoning a small flame. Everyone looked wide-eyed, sans Snowdrop, at what they saw in Sunset's palm.
"That sound..? is that fire?" Snowdrop asked.
"Indeed it is," Rarity said wide-eyed. Sunset swiped the flame away before speaking.
"So… yeah… I got some of my magic back," She said. "So what do you think?"
"What do we think?" Rainbow said in a slightly stern voice. "I think… that… was… Awesome!" And she shouted in an excited voice. "What else can you do?"
"Um… I guess I can use basic unicorn spells like teleportation and levitation when I pony-up, but I haven't tried that yet. As for why I can use fire magic is probably because my special talent is pyrokinesis."
"Pyro what?" Pinkie asked.
"Um, pyrokinesis. The ability to conjure and control fire."
"Oh, so you are like a fire bender."
"Sunset?" Sunset looked up at her mom. "Why didn't you tell any of us this before?"
"Um… because… because-"
"Because you were afraid," Snowdrop answered. "So that's what that was about."
"Yes, Snowdrop. Thanks to what you said, I opened up to Grandma. Well, She did have a suspicion, but both of you helped me to get this out. Thank you for being the best little sister for someone like me."
"You are welcome. I love being your little sister."
"Darling, you didn't have to be afraid. Were you afraid that we wouldn't like you or that we would think you are going to be evil again?" Rarity asked.
"Oh, Sunset, don't say that. You are not going to be evil again. You are such a nice girl. Even before. It was all that Princess's fault for not seeing what you needed," Celestia said with conviction in her voice.
"What?" Sunset asked, finding it strange to have Celestia bad-mouthing Celestia.
"Sunset, I know you think that you are at fault for what happened with her. But I run an institute. Yes, the Princess also has an institute, but she is a ruler. She doesn't have time to spend time with kids as I do. You said that she only visits the school for inspections and for exams, right? And again, she is a ruler. So she didn't act as a mentor that night. But as a ruler. She didn't see what was actually happening with you," Celestia released a sigh before continuing. "Listen, I'm not going to talk about this more. What you need to know is that you are not a monster and never will be. Okay?"
Sunset contemplated what she said before hugging her, "Yes, mom."
That evening, Sunset found herself in the living room with Snowdrop. Luna was probably in the basement playing one of her online matches. Sunset tried to play a MOBA, but she couldn't quite get the hang of it. So she sticks with FPS from e-sport games. Celestia was having a phone call with someone before she hung up and walked over to the living room. Sunset was in the middle of a story when she called them.
"… they have a lion's head and body, with dragon wings and a scorpion's tail. When everyone was panicking over what to do, Flu-"
"Girls? Sorry to interrupt, but we are going to have a guest tonight. Can you help me to prepare something?" Celestia said, pointedly looking away from Snowdrop's pout.
"A guest?" Sunset asked.
"Mmhm. You know her. Or at least her counterpart,"
"I know her? Who could- Cadence?"
"Yes, exactly. She's a niece of mine, as you know, but not adopted as the one in Equestria. Another difference between the two worlds,"
"Not adopted?" Sunset asked.
"Yes. We are related by blood. So no need for any adoptions."
"Um… she's that Princess that your mentor adopted, right?" Snowdrop asked.
"Yes, she is," Celestia said. "And she is very excited to meeting her new cousins."
"Yes, now along. Sunset, can you call Luna?" Celestia asked.
"On it," Sunset said before making her way to the basement.
She could already hear the angry shouts of her aunt from halfway through the stairs.
"…what are you doing? Why don't you have any items? Buy some items we are going to lose. Come on, we can't carry the whole team you piece of- oh come on!" Sunset entered just in time to see the big defeat sign in the middle of the screen while the base tower got exploded from behind. "Okay, Chrys, looks like we got some people to report," She finally said to her game buddy Chrysalis on the headphone.
"Is… this a bad time?" Sunset carefully asked.
"Oh, Sunset, can you believe it. We got teamed up with the worst people we've played in a long time. And they weren't even rookies," Luna said in annoyance.
"Yeah, I imagined as much from the colorful words you used. Anyway, mom said Cadence is going to visit us today. I came to get you."
"Cadence? At last something good. You head on up, I'll be along," Luna said before turning back to the game to message Chrysalis. Sunset got back to her mom and helped her to prepare dinner. Luna emerged about ten minutes into making dinner and joined them. Before long, the dinner was ready and simmering on the stove to keep warm. It was as they were placing the plates and silverware that they heard the doorbell ring.
"I'll get it," Luna said before going to the door.
"Luna!" Cadence said from the other side when Luna opened the door and hugged her.
"Hey Cadi," Luna said, hugging back.
"I heard you had a bad time with one of your games," Cadence said, having talked to her step-sister Chrysalis before she left the house.
"Ugh, tell me about it. Come in," Luna said.
They walked back into the living room, where everyone was waiting for them. Celestia came forward to meet with Cadence.
"Hey, Cadence," Celestia said, hugging Cadence.
"Hey Auntie," Cadence hugged back before looking over at the two girls behind her aunt. "Ohh! Are these my little sisters?" She asked excitedly.
"Hehe, yes, Cadence, they are. Cadence, meet Sunset and Snowdrop. Girls, this is Cadence," Celestia said, introducing each other.
"Nice to meet you," Sunset said awkwardly, waving, having fallen back into greeting people formerly.
"Hi!!" Snowdrop said excitedly.
"Hey, you two. I'm so happy I finally met you two." Cadence said. "And you are so cute!" she said, holding Snowdrop's face.
"Hehe, I like her already," Snowdrop said with a cheeky smile.
"So Cadence, you said you have something to say to us?" Celestia asked.
"Oh yes. But can we eat first? I'm so hungry," She said.
"Yes, of course. We have something big to tell you too," Celesta said before moving to the dinner table with everyone else following her.
The dinner went really well, talking about their life and catching up with each other. It was revealed how Cadence was so close to Celestia and Luna. After Chrysalis went off on her own, Cadence wanted to finish her education and become a teacher like her Aunts. She lived six hours from Canterlot's College, so Cadence had to move to Canterlot to finish her education. Since her Aunts were already educators in CHS, she stayed with them, eventually completing her education and applying to another top school within the city, Crystal Prep, and moving into a small apartment by herself. That is until she met her step-sister at a grocery store. The two talked before Cadence found out about Chrysalis looking for a place to stay after her last roommate sold her gaming PC for some quick cash. They were arrested, but without that second source of income, she needed to look for a cheaper place to live that she could keep with her low wages as she was still in school. Hearing her story Cadence offered to move in with her and the two have been living together ever since.
"So you want to be an artist? Huh, most model students usually want to go into business, engineering, become a doctor, or perhaps a lawyer. Why don't you want to go into one of those or a similar field?" Cadence asked.
"Well, working in an office full of paperwork and meetings isn't for me," Sunset said, twiddling with her thumbs.
"Well, what about you, little flower?" Cadence asked Snowdrop.
"I like to be a teacher like my mom," She said. "There are a lot of kids like me who think they can't do anything. I want to show them that they can do whatever they want, despite what people think about them."
"A teacher, quite an admirable goal for someone so small," Cadence said, holding her hand. "And I have full faith that you'll be one of the best teachers," Snowdrop smiled.
"Yeah, I'll be able to catch everyone that thinks they can cheat," Snowdrop said with a determined face.
"And if they don't treat you well, they can meet your big and bad older sister. With me being an artist ill have a lot of free time to help you whenever you need it," Sunset said while she poked Snowdrop's sides.
This produced a tiny squeak from Snowdrop before she glared in the direction of the poke. She reached down and grabbed Sunset's leg above the knee. This action caused Sunset to let out a startled neigh before she fell off the side of her chair. Everyone laughed along after seeing an embarrassed face of Sunset. One that caused Celestia to divulge into loud belly-deep laughs at the resemblance of a particular animal lover.
After laughter wound down, the family continued their meal with Snowdrop telling Cadence about meeting their grandparents. Once the dinner was over, the family gathered in the living room for the discussion.
"So, Cadence? What did you have to tell us?" Celestia asked.
"Yes, about that. It's more of a favor, actually. You remember my fiancé, Shining?" the two adults nodded. "Remember when I said his sister is a big egg head? Well, Twilight-"
Sunset chocked on her glass of water, having gasped at the mention of Twilight, "*cough* *cough* sorry."
Sunset already knew Princess Twilight's brother got married to Princess Cadence, but it still caught her by surprise when Cadence mentioned this world's Twilight. Celestia and Luna didn't react too much since they already knew about the alternate world.
"Um… well… she doesn't have a lot of friends. I don't think she has any except for me, but a sister-in-law isn't really a friend for obvious reasons. Anyway, she wants to apply to this independent study program at Everton. I tried to talk to her about making some friends, but she wasn't really interested. Also, today Principal Cinch wanted to talk to her. From the way the conversation was going, I have a feeling that that woman calling herself the Principal is up to something,"
"Still, hate that woman?" Celestia asked.
"Hate is a strong word. Let's just say I would trust a pathological lair over her. She only cares about the school's reputation, not the students. She's completely ruined the true meaning of friendship games. I was thinking, maybe I could convince Twilight to meet her soon-to-be sisters. And maybe the two of you can show her what it actually meant to have friends and maybe… convince her to join CHS?" Cadence asked hopefully.
"Well, I don't see why not. Bring her, and we'll see what we can do," Sunset said. "But why do you want for her to join CHS?"
"Well, Crystal Prep is a good school academically, but the Principal and the students are too toxic for any chance of Twilight to make true friends there. I don't think she should stay in that school. The competition is high, and it will be really hard for her to make some friends and learn more about society. Learning isn't everything. Her parents specifically held her back so she can make friends. Otherwise, she most likely would be in college," Cadence said.
"I understand, more than you know," Sunset said.
"Anyway, you said you had something to say to me too. What is it?" Cadence asked.
"Well… you know what? I'll tell you later," Sunset said, surprising the others as she didn't hesitate to talk to Cadence before.
"Okay. So, how about if I bring Twilight tomorrow?"
"Um… yeah, why not. I don't really have anything planned tomorrow," Sunset said.
"Yeah, it's best to be swift in this. The friendship games are going to be held soon, and whatever Cinch is planning, I have a feeling it has something to do with that," Luna said.
"Maybe. And I really hope we lose this time. You have good players this time, right?"
"Yeah, we do," Celestia said, casting a slight glance towards Sunset.
"Great, that woman needs to know that winning isn't everything," Cadence said with a smile that Luna knew came from Chrysalis.
"Is she always like this?" Sunset whispered Luna.
"Only when people do bad things. And when it comes to Cinch, it's always bad," Luna said nonchalantly.
The rest of the day went by with the family spending the time talking, playing video games, and having fun before Cadence left. Luna retreated back into her den while Celestia went to her office to file some papers for school. Snowdrop was on the couch listening to a podcast about light novels and anime. Leaving Sunset completely free, she looked at Snowdrop to make sure that she was occupied before she headed to her room.
She entered her room before she went to her desk and pulled out an airtight container. She placed it on the table and opened it up. She grabbed a shaping tool and began getting ready for her project. She swiped her phone open and began to play music on it. She booted her laptop up and opened up her files before she set to work. She was humming to her favorite song about a paradoxical future bathed in snow and sorrow. When she was startled out of her artistic zone by a knocking.
"Hey Sunset, can I come in?" Snowdrop asked from the doorway.
"Oh yeah, let me just put this away," Sunset said in a slightly nervous and panicked tone.
"What are you working on?" Snowdrop asked as she moved forward.
"Nothing! I mean, it's nothing, just a small project, that's all," Sunset said as she quickly placed her project in the container before she misted it with a small water squirt bottle and sealed the project away.
"Um... okay. If you're busy, I can just go," Snowdrop said softly.
"No. no. You're infinitely more important than that. What's up?"
"I... well. I'm worried," Snowdrop said in a tone similar to shame.
"Worried? What are you worried about?" Sunset said, going into big sister mode.
"It's probably nothing, but I'm worried about my friends."
"Yeah, they've been acting weird lately," Snowdrop said as she ringed her skirt in a tight grip.
"Weird? How?" Sunset said
"Well, they're always whispering and being really sneaky. Every time I come closer, they stop talking and get all quiet. They're always whispering, but I can never find out what they're talking about except I did hear my name once or twice."
"I see. I'm sure it means nothing," Sunset soothed Snowdrop while she thought of what to say.
"I'm just worried. What if they don't want to be my friends anymore? What if they're tired of helping the little blind girl?" Snowdrop voiced her doubts.
Sunset grimaced before saying, "I'm sure it's not that. They're not the type of kids to do something like that. I'm not sure what's causing them to act this way, but I know they think of you as their friend," this whole conversation was leaving a bad taste in her mouth.
"You're right. I'm sure I can figure out what causes them to act all weird. Maybe Diamond Tiara is bothering them again," Snowdrop said deep in thought.
It was quiet for a few moments as Sunset held Snowdrop in silent comfort. As she sat there, Sunset was getting slightly uncomfortable by the silence and was about to speak when she heard Snowdrop say.
"Hey, Sunset? Can I sleep with you tonight?" Snowdrop asked.
Sunset smiled as she said, "Sure."
The next day was peaceful and was mostly uneventful. Sunset was looking forward to meeting with this world's Twilight. She had talked with the others about the situation, and they were all surprised to hear about it. Rainbow and Applejack particularly got excited when they heard that Cadence asked her to convince Twilight to join CHS.
After school ended, Sunset and Snowdrop went home. Celestia and Luna stayed at school to supervise the Friendship Games' preparation seeing how they were hosting the event this year. Not long after they got home, they heard a car parking outside the house and people walking towards the door. They rang the bell, and Sunset answered the door.
One was a woman with purple hair with white stripes and grey skin. The other was Twilight Sparkle, who looked slightly annoyed and downright uncomfortable. She looked a lot like Princess Twilight, except she was a little shorter than the Princess, had her hair in a ponytail, and wore glasses. She also had a little purple dog in her arms.
"Good afternoon. You must be Sunset, right?" The woman asked.
"Yup, that's me," Sunset said politely.
"Wonderful, I'm Twilight Velvet, and this is Twilight Sparkle, my daughter," She said, introducing them to Sunset.
"Hey, Twilight? Nice to meet you," She said, holding her hand.
"Um… yeah… likewise," She said, taking Sunset's hand.
"Well then, I'll be back in a few hours. Let you girls bond and get out your hair and all that, okay?" Twilight Velvet said before leaving them.
"Come in," Sunset said to Twilight, moving aside to allow her entry. They then moved to the living room while Spike got out of Twilight's grip. Snowdrop was waiting for them, listening to an audiobook.
"Twilight, this is my little sister, Snowdrop," Sunset said, introducing her to Snowdrop.
"Hi, it's nice to meet you," Snowdrop said, pausing the book.
"Yeah, nice to meet you too… uh… are you… uh… blind…?" Twilight asked hesitantly.
"Yeah, I am," Snowdrop said with a slight amount of sadness in her voice. Before she cleared her throat, "Yes, I'm blind," trying to sound as proud about it as possible, something that made Sunset smile.
"Oh, don't let it fool you; she's a shark when it comes platform video games, despite being blind. She even beat Luna in smash, something Luna raved about for hours after. She's my sixth sense whenever I play horror games, like Amnesia," Sunset said, praising the girl, which earned her wide smile.
"Huh?" Twilight asked, confused.
"She warns me whenever the monsters sneak up on me because I'm getting too distracted by the world's attention to detail. "
"Oh, really. Wow, how do you get distracted in a horror game?"
"Well, I'm an artist. I enjoy the attention to detail. Sometimes too much."
"It doesn't sound that hard."
"You'd be surprised. Anyways, Twilight, why don't you tell us a bit about you? And who's this little guy?" Sunset asked, pointing at Spike, who was playing with Snowdrop. She already knew all the answers, but she still asked, not just to hide the alternate world, but she also knew that counterparts can be very different from their pony counterparts. Chrysalis was evident of that. Princess Twilight is the Princess of literally the friendship, while this girl didn't know the first thing about friendship.
"Oh, that's Spike, my number one assistance. And uh… I… uh… I like science... and maths… and studying. Though it's probably nothing you're interested in, though," Twilight said.
"Don't judge a book by its cover, Twilight. I like them too. They're some of my best subjects," Sunset said, trying not to make Twilight feel awful about prematurely judging her.
"Oh… so… you don't think I'm a… nerd…?"
"You are a nerd. And so am I. So what if you are a nerd? Everyone is a nerd in their own rights. My friend rainbow is the cockiest jock you'll meet but turn her math problems into a soccer play, and the meathead turns into a genius almost as smart as me, and don't even get me started when you mention Daring Do to the girl. Rarity is a natural-born businesswoman despite the fact she spends more time buried under a pile of fabric than at a register. If people don't like you just because you know stuff, then they are straight-up idiots."
"Really?" Twilight said, smiling. And what followed was a conversation between two scientists, talking about things only they understand.
Meanwhile, for Snowdrop, the whole conversation went like this;
"Speaking of, you go to CHS, right?" Twilight asked.
"Have you noticed anything strange?" Sunset knew what exactly she was talking about. But she couldn't talk about that with her. For one, she wouldn't believe her. Two, she wouldn't believe her and think she is crazy.
"Strange? What kind of strange? It's completely normal. Unlike Crystal Prep- sorry," Sunset said.
"Oh no, it's okay. But don't you like Crystal Prep? It is a really great school, especially for someone like you."
"I'll pass. I know I'm a model student and all, but… life is not just learning, you know. They are a lot more to that. And Crystal Prep is not the best place when it comes to that."
"You're not wrong. It is pretty competitive, but that just makes you work hard. You probably don't understand."
"What don't I understand?"
"What it's like to be me. I'm smart. You are, too, don't get me wrong, but I'm smart enough to be in college. That's why I want to get into the Everton Independent Study Program. If my parents let me skip the grades as I wanted, I wouldn't have to deal with the school or its problems."
"It's not all that it is cracked up to be, you know."
"Skipping grades, I've done that, and it's not any fun. When I was little, I was seen as a prodigy and was moved up into more advanced classes. At first, it was great, the attention, the praise, but that soon changed when I began to outpace everyone in the class, including some of my professors. They began to hate me because of my knowledge and my critical thinking skills. I was bullied by people three to four years older than me, and the teacher would do nothing about it because I was being beaten down a peg. I guess that's what happens when you correct a teacher too often. Anyways because I hated it so much, I threw myself into studying, and when I tested again, I skipped another grade. Because of this, I was recognized by someone. They were someone very powerful, and I was taken under their wing and advanced even more under their tutelage."
"Didn't you tell anyone about this kind of treatment?"
"I tried, but when the staff hates you because, in your mind, all you're trying to do is help, but you're in fact embarrassing them in front of the whole class no one is really willing to do anything about."
"What about your parents?"
"What parents? I've never met them. I was a ward of the state, meaning there was no one to turn to. The ones I could go to didn't care. I was treated like a trophy. I was a poster child to get more funds for the program. As long as I was getting good grades and progressing, then it was proof of the program's success."
"It was life for me for so long," Sunset said with a shrug.
"How'd you end up with Miss Luna and Miss Celestia?"
"Well, one thing led to another, and I ended up here, and I ended up going to Celestia's school and was eventually adopted by her. I don't really like to talk about what happened between here and there. Maybe some other time," Sunset said, scratching her head. "Anyways, I found something more important than good grades and education."
"Like making friends, meeting different people. Tell me, Twilight does Crystal prep have different kinds of kids, like athletes, artists, eco kids?"
"But the school has a lot of competition between them, right? There's a lot of stress, isn't there?"
"But at CHS? There is not such a thing. You are not forced to win. Forced to surpass everyone. You can see students for who they are. Not who others want them to be. For someone like you, Crystal Prep might look like a great place. But for me? I may be a nerd, but I'm an artist."
"Um… when you put it like that…"
"You're not done yet? I've listened to all three chapters of my book," Snowdrop said from the side. She began to listen to her book after listening to the two girls talking in their science rubbish. They looked at her and saw Snowdrop and somehow Spike, despite not being human, having headphones over their ears with Snowdrop having removed one to hear their answer.
"Oh- hehe, sorry. So… Twilight? What do you wanna do?" Sunset asked.
"Uh… I don't know…"
"Maybe we can play some games," Snowdrop suggested.
"Yeah, what do you say?"
"Uh… I never played any games before?"
"What! You didn- of course, you didn't. You know what? We have to change that. To the ShimmerCode Lair!" Sunset shouted the last part, dramatically pointing where she was going.
"Her room," Snowdrop said.
After going to Sunset's room and booting up her PC, Sunset scrolled through her games, looking for a game for Twilight to play. She chose to play a LEGO game because they were simple and have two-player support. Sunset handed one of her controllers to Twilight and explained how the game was played. Twilight took a while getting used to the controller and the game, but she quickly got the hang of it and genuinely enjoyed the experience. Celestia and Luna also arrived while they were playing games.
"How are we supposed to hit her while she was rolling on that barrel?" Twilight asked.
"Hit that lever over there," Sunset said. Twilight did as she was told, and a bunch of hot charcoal dropped right on the way the barrel was rolling, causing it to break. Seizing the chance, Twilight quickly ran at the mysterious woman and attacked her, finishing the boss battle.
"Yes, we did it. Not bad for playing a game for the first time," Sunset said.
"Yeah! I, um, thanks. It was…I had fun," Twilight said.
"See told ya," Then Sunset saw Spike, who was scratching himself furiously. "Hey, what's up with Spike?" She asked.
"Oh, he probably got some mites. I was going to take him to the vet when I leave," Twilight said.
"Where do you plan to take him?"
"Oh, just a place we know. Near home," Twilight said.
"If it's okay with you, may I suggest a place? We can go now if you like. It's about time your mom comes back to pick you up, and it's on the way to your home. Before you ask, Cadence gave me your address so I could pop in whenever you're free."
"Uh… yeah… sure… we can leave… now…" Twilight said, but she looked hesitant to leave. Maybe their mission was successful.
"You wanna come, Snowdrop?"
"No, you can go. All you ever do is tease each other. I hear enough of that as is. Besides, the smell of wet dogs is too strong for me. Yuck," She said. Twilight blushed a little though she had an idea that it was someone else she was talking about.
"Hey, we don't do that… all the time…"
"Yeah, sure you don't, and you don't sound like a horse when startled," causing Sunset's face to blush in embarrassment. Earning a raised eyebrow from Twilight.
After informing her mom, the two with Spike left the house and got on a bus, and Sunset texted Fluttershy. The ride was short, but Twilight took that time to ask some questions.
"So Sunset, remember when I said I have this project that I try to finish, so I can get to Everton?" Twilight asked. Sunset nodded. "While working on that project, I got some strange readings. I was able to locate them near the CHS. So can you please tell me if you know anything? I won't think you are crazy because whatever the energy is, it is strange."
"Twilight, I already told you, I never saw anything strange. Why are you sure that it really came from CHS?" Sunset asked. Though it took Twilight this long to talk about this meant, she really forgot all about this the past few hours, which meant her mission is a success.
"Well, I got these readings two times, and in both of those times, CHS had something special going on,"
"Really Twilight, I don't know. I'd tell you if I do. By the way, do you really want to go to Everton?"
"Of course I… I… yeah…?"
"Huh. You do you, Twilight. But really, taking some time from your studies wouldn't be a bad idea. Take some time and really think about it, okay? And remember what I told you about my experience in these types of things. You may get into this program, but who's to say that it won't be worse? You could move up in the education system, but that might cause the toxicity to increase faster. Besides, was today all that bad? You had fun, right? Just letting loose and having fun and with someone as smart as you. I could see you doing that every day and still keeping your perfect grades."
"I'll think about it," Twilight promised.
"That's all I ask."
The bus finally slowed, and Sunset saw that the two finally got to their stop. They both stood up and made their way off the bus before Sunset led them towards the animal clinic.
"So your friend works here?" Twilight asked.
"Yeah. And she knows a lot about animals. And she's really, really kind, very shy, and very beautiful," Sunset said with a blush dusting her cheeks.
They then entered the clinic, and they were greeted by all sorts of animals all around them. Twilight then saw a Pink haired girl petting some animals, and Sunset walked up to her. When she looked up, her eyes shine with delight when she saw Sunset.
"Hey Shy," Sunset said, giving the girl a peck on the cheeks.
"Sunset…" She whispered in embarrassment.
"Hehe, I win again, my butterfly."
"Sunny!" Fluttershy whined.
"Hehe, you're too easy, Shy. Anyways, Shy, I brought a friend. Her dog is in need of some help," She said, pointing to Twilight. "This is Twilight Sparkle. And her little puppy is Spike. Twilight, this is Fluttershy."
"H-hi," Fluttershy softly said.
"Uh… hi… so… can you help my Spike?" She asked.
"Yeah, of course," Fluttershy said, taking Spike.
"He seemed have got some-"
"Oh, you poor thing. Are the meanie mites hurting you?" She asked Spike, interrupting Twilight.
"See? I told you she knows a lot about animals," Sunset said.
"Yeah, it seems so. So… uh… are you two… uh…" Twilight asked with some difficulty before tapping her pointer fingers together.
"Oh yeah, she's my girlfriend," Sunset said.
"Oh… I didn't know you go that way."
They were then interrupted by Fluttershy, as she came to them with Spike and a bottle of medical soap.
"Here, give him a nice bath with this, and the mites will go way," Fluttershy said.
"Thanks, so… how much do I owe you?" Twilight asked, taking Spike and the soap.
"Oh, there's no need for that."
"Yeah," Twilight then saw her mom's car parking outside the clinic. "So… do you wanna ride?" She asked Sunset.
"No, you can go. I'm going to stay for a bit till her shift is over," Sunset said.
"Oh, okay then. See you later?"
"Yeah, see you. Oh wait, here's my number," Sunset said before giving Twilight her number. Twilight sent a miss call to it before leaving with a bright smile.
"So, what happened?" Fluttershy asked. Sunset then began to tell what happened that day with Twilight.
Snowdrop moved through the students in the hallway with her head down. She was contemplating the happenings of the morning. It's pretty obvious the day was not going well for her. The crusaders were still acting strange. When she asked to hang out with them after school, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and even Lily Pad said they were busy after school and wouldn't be able to make it.
To make matters worse, she felt that something was going on with Sunset and her friends. But that could wait. For now, she needed to get through the day then she can figure out why everyone was acting so weird around her. She pushed her thoughts to the back of her mind as she entered her last class.
"Hey, Snowdrop, Over here!" She heard Applebloom shout from the back of the class. She made her way over to her and took the seat beside her.
"Hey, Applebloom," She said.
"You okay?" Applebloom asked, noting the slight sadness in her voice.
"Uh… yeah. Why?"
"Uh… you just sound a little off?"
"Oh, um, I'm fine, kinda tired, had a hard time sleeping."
"Oh, Ah hope you'll get some sleep tonight," Applebloom said, placing a hand on her shoulder.
Emboldened, Snopwdrop asked hopefully, "Hey, Applebloom? Do you have plans today? Maybe we can hang out a bit?"
"Oh, sorry, Snowdrop. Ah wish ah could but ah have a lot of homework to catch up on. Maybe tomorrow," Applebloom suggested.
"Oh um… maybe I can help?" Snowdrop asked.
"N-no! Ah mean, Ah don't want to take up your time. Ah can manage on my own," Applebloom said nervously.
"Oh… okay then," Snowdrop said before the teacher silenced the class and began the lesson. She grabbed her textbook but stayed mostly stayed to herself.
The class continued as it always had, but Snowdrop wasn't focusing on anything the teacher said. Her mind was elsewhere. Applebloom tried to make some small conversation with the girl during discussion time but was ultimately unresponsive to Appleblooms conversation. After the class ended, Snowdrop walked out of the class after gathering her equipment then went to wait outside for Sunset. Applebloom felt bad about lying to Snowdrop as it seemed to affect her more than Applebloom thought it would. She grimaced before biting her lip and straightening her back. They needed to do this. All the crusaders outside of Snowdrop knew about the plan. She only hoped Snowdrop would forgive them when she found out about their roles.
Snowdrop made it outside of the main entrance when she heard Sunset's friends leaving the school, but she didn't hear Sunset with them. She decided to wait by the statue, and after a little while, she heard her big sister calling her.
"Hey, Snowdrop," Sunset said. "You got anything planned for the afternoon?"
"Uh… no, why?" Snowdrop asked.
"Well, I was looking for this book that is hard to find, and Twilight, I mean this world's Twilight, told me about this book store that always has the books she's looking for despite the distance from one book to another. I was hoping maybe we can go there before heading home?"
"Huh… I guess. It's not like I have anything to do today," Snowdrop said.
"Awesome," Sunset said before taking Snowdrop's hand and walking to the bus stop.
After a short bus ride, they came to their stop closest to the store. They proceeded to walk in the crisp mountain air. The store was called Tucson's Book Trade with its catchphrase being "home to every book under the sun." They made their way inside. While Sunset talked with the owner about what she was looking for, Snowdrop browsed the rest of the books. Snowdrop asked if there are any brail books, to which the owner said yes and showed her where they were. She then thanked the owner before she too joined to browse the books. Time quickly went by with the two sisters browsing through the books. Snowdrop was mostly trying to keep her mind off things. After a little while, Sunset walked up to the owner and gave him the book.
"Snowdrop, you got anything?" She asked.
"Uh… yeah. Just this book." She gave it to Sunset, who then gave it to the owner and bought both books before leaving the store. They made their way to the bus stop and were in luck when it pulled up as they arrived. The two climbed the steps, and Sunset led them to the nearest open seats.
"Um… Snowdrop? You okay?" Sunset asked Snowdrop in the bus, noting that Snowdrop was in deep thought.
"Oh- sorry. It's nothing," She said.
"Hey, it's okay. You can tell me."
"Um… well… my friends are still acting weird," Snowdrop said sadly.
"Oh, did you talk to them?"
"I… no. I asked them to hang out after school. But, they all said they have things to do."
"Well, they might be busy. I wouldn't worry about it, you all are good friends. I'm sure you'll be back to doing things together in no time," Sunset said.
"I hope you are right," Snowdrop said.
"Have faith in your friends. I know they'd be there for you no matter what."
"Okay," Snowdrop said, trying to hide how glum she felt.
The bus came to their stop, and the two made their way home on foot. Snowdrop was still lost in her own thoughts that she failed to register the mumblings coming from inside the house that stopped when they got to the front door. Sunset opened the door, and the two walked inside, with Sunset letting Snowdrop take the lead with a grin. The blind girl, completely unaware of anything happening, made her way to the staircase when all of a sudden-
“AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” Snowdrop jumped back, hugging Sunset tightly from the sudden noise. Everyone else laughed at the result, which is a frightened and confused Snowdrop.
"He heh- hehe… that, was, priceless," Rainbow said, hardly able to contain her laughter.
"What's happening?" Snowdrop asked, still confused.
"Did you forget? It's your birthday," Applebloom said.
"Y-yeah," Lily Pad, who was also present with them, said.
"Wait. So that's why you said you have things to do today? You were setting up the party?" Snowdrop said, letting go of Sunset.
"Of course. Why did you think we were going to stop being friends with you or do something bad? Hmph, we would never do something like that," Scootaloo said.
"You're not mad at all of us, are you? You were really quiet today. It made me really uncomfortable to see ya like."
"No, I not mad I was just worried I did something wrong since it seemed like all of you didn't want to hang out with me anymore."
"Oh, can you forgive us for keeping this a secret? We'll promise not to keep secrets from you anymore."
"There was nothing to forgive. You girls are my bestest friends in the whole world," Snowdrop said as she hugged her friends with a watery smile.
"Okay, birthday girl, your cake is waiting for you," Pinkie Pie said, placing a party hat on Snowdrop.
"O-okay," Snowdrop said while Sunset pushed Snowdrop towards the cake. It was a big cake—courtesy of Pinkie, with some added comments thrown in there from a certain Principal.
"Okay, Snowdrop, now make a wish and blow the candles," Celestia said, moving closer with the others.
"I don't need to. I have everything I want," Snowdrop said.
"Can you humor me?" Celestia said.
"Alright, here goes nothing."
Snowdrop took a while to concentrate before a wish was made, and the party officially began when she blew out the candles while everyone cheered and sang. Once the party began, everyone helped themselves to the treats, especially Celestia and the cake. Snowdrop joined her friends in the living room and played around. Sunset and the girls stayed in the dining room to talk while watching the five girls.
"She looks so happy," Fluttershy said.
"Yeah, she does. I can't wait to show her the presents," Sunset said, taking a drink from the punch.
"Hey Sunset, I've been meaning to ask. Unicorns can do magic, right?" Rarity asked.
"Well, we have horns when we pony-up. So can we-"
"It's possible, but it's going to be really hard and a lot of training."
"What do you mean?"
"Well… the magic in this world is… low. It isn't like the magic back in Equestria. Where this world's magic is like a pond or lake, Equestria's magic wellspring is like the ocean endless, vast, and with depth so deep that you can study magic your whole life and only know a covers worth of knowledge of what magic is."
"Really? I thought this world didn't have magic before Twilight came," Applejack said.
"Oh, it does. Otherwise, the crown wouldn't have worked here. But it did. So since we have horns, you might be able to do magic too," Sunset said. "Rainbow, have you tried to stand on a cloud?"
"Wait, I can stand on clouds?" Rainbow asked, surprised.
"Yeah. Every Pegasi can. Maybe you can too, but be careful, okay? Maybe start out with trying to shape fog. Anyway, I tried to do magic while I was in pony-up. And I was able to levitate things and even teleport once. They are basic spells, but that took all I had for just one of those spells."
"Wow, really?" Rarity asked.
"Yeah. Without pony-up, this is all I can do," Sunset said, levitating a cupcake towards her while everyone else watched in amazement.
"Do you think I can do that too?" Rarity asked.
"Why not? But there's a tiny problem. You see, a unicorn's horn is just a tool to draw magic, just like the crown, that draws friendship magic. But unlike that, a unicorn's power depends on the person's aura," Sunset began to explain. "Since I arrived in this world, my connection to magic was cut off for so long. It took a lot of my power and aura at the fall formal, but it also re-established my connection. After talking with Twilight, I realized at the battle of the bands, the tree simply increased my aura and made it easier to draw fire magic, so I can use my special talent. But for other powers, I have to work from the beginning to use them here. Twilight wouldn't have such a problem since she wasn't cut off from magic for long and didn't waste it like I did. It would take a lot of time to practice and gain enough aura to use magic for you guys. But you can pony-up, which increases your aura by a lot to practice the spells. I'll teach you a few tricks to increase your natural aura too."
"Oh, that would be great, can we be-" Rarity got interrupted by the sound of the doorbell ringing.
"Who's that?" Rainbow asked.
"I think that's Twilight. You said you invited her too, right?" Applejack asked.
"Yes, I did. I thought she forgot or didn't want to come," Sunset said, getting up and walking towards the door before opening it. Just like they thought, it was Twilight, who was looking nervous.
"Oh hey… I…uh may have kinda lost track of time. The party isn't over, right?" Twilight nervously asked.
"Oh no, come in," Sunset said, letting Twilight in. "Another project of yours?"
Sunset smiled and guided Twilight inside and made their way to the girls.
"Girls, this is Twilight. The one I told you about," Sunset acted. "Twilight, this is Applejack, Rainbow, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie."
"Hey, Twilight? Sunset told us a lot about you," Applejack said.
"Yeah, and you look like a fun person to hang out with," Pinkie said, getting uncomfortably closer to Twilight's face. "Can we be friends? Please? Please? Please? Pretty pleeeeease…?"
"Uh… y-yeah… why not?" Twilight awkwardly said.
"Ah, Twilight. Glad to finally meet you in person. We weren't able to meet you yesterday," They heard Celestia saying with a cake in her hand.
"Oh, miss Celestia. Uh… y-yeah we haven't met before. So uh… h-hi," Twilight said awkwardly.
"Relax, Twilight. I'll be your aunt one of these days. On top of that, we aren't in the school. Just enjoy the party, okay?"
"Y-yeah, I will."
Celestia went into the living room, leaving the girls to themselves.
"Tia? Don't you think that's enough? That's the fifth piece," They heard Luna saying in the background, to which the girls chuckled.
"Wow, she's… uh… different," Twilight said. "Is she like that when in school?"
"Well, not exactly. She and especially Luna is a lot more professional when in school. But they like to work with the kids sometimes, at least mom does. She used to be a teacher. On the other hand, Luna likes to show her power in school and catch kids that break rules. The whole school thinks she is really cruel, but she's the complete opposite." Sunset said.
The girls began to talk about things they were interested in Pinkie of all people keeping up with Sunset and Twilight when they started talking about formulas. The party was in fun swing and was proceeding on course until the time for presents came. Everyone gathered with their gifts while Snowdrop waited patiently. First up was Applejack.
"Here, Snowdrop. Ah bought you a watch. It's a talking watch. It will help you get up bright and early. Ah've seen how you sometimes have trouble when you want to know the time. Now you don't have to," Applejack said.
"Oh, thank you. I didn't know there were these kinds of things," Snowdrop said, taking the watch and putting it on.
"You're welcome," Applejack said, tilting the hat.
"Here, darling, I made you a nice dress. It goes nicely with your watch," Rarity said, handing over an expansive looking frock.
"Wow, Rarity, that must have to worth a fortune," Rainbow said.
"Only the best for my friends, but I was more concerned with how comfortable it is."
"Okay, okay, enough with the clothes, check this out, Snowdrop. Scoots said, you like to play games with others but can't, right? Weeell, Not anymore," Rainbow said, bringing up an iconic white and black ball with a button on it. She pressed the button, and a small beeping sound came from the ball. "Catch," She said, throwing the ball towards Snowdrop, who caught it in her hands pretty easily.
"Ah-ha- she caught it!" Pinkie said, jumping.
"Impressive," Twilight said.
"So now I can play games with this?" Snowdrop asked, amazed.
"Yeah. Now you can play with us," Scootaloo said, smiling.
Just then, Fluttershy came from upstairs with her gift.
"Hey, Snowdrop. I like you to meet someone," She said.
"uh… who?" Snowdrop asked.
"Snowdrop. Hello~" She heard someone talking with a raspy voice.
"*gasp* is that a parrot?"
"Yes, she is. She's a white cockatoo. She's also trained to help the blind. So she can help you locate things." Fluttershy said, bringing the parrot closer to Snowdrop's outstretched hands, who then switched from Fluttershy to Snowdrop. Snowdrop brought up her other arm to touch the parrot's head, who nuzzled against her hand.
"Does she have a name?" Snowdrop asked.
"No. you can give her one," Fluttershy said.
"Um… how about… Ari?" Snowdrop said after thinking for a while.
"Ari… Ari… Ari…" The parrot, now named Ari, said.
"Oh, a beautiful name," Fluttershy said, petting the bird now perched on Snowdrop's shoulder.
"Okay, Snowdrop. I made a necklace for you," Pinkie said, walking up to Snowdrop and putting a necklace around her neck. "It's a snowflake. Do you like it?" Snowdrop touched the necklace and felt the snowflake.
"It's beautiful. I like it," She said.
"Yay! You like it!" Pinkie hugged the girl while Ari flew out of reach to evade the deathly hug.
The rest of the gifts were quickly exchanged with Twilight giving Snowdrop a brail book about a storybook she really enjoyed, Sweetie Belle some bathe products, Applebloom gave her a sweater she knitted with a snowflake at the center, Scootaloo gave her a brailed Rubik Cube, and Lily Pad gave her a set of sculpting tools.
"Sculpting Tools? Thanks, Lily," Snowdrop said.
"I-it's actually S-Sunset's idea," Lily Pad said. "She said y-you like sculpting, and I saw how good y-you are at them in school."
"Thanks, Lily. I'm going to make a lot of things with this."
And finally, the last gift. Sunset, with the help of Celestia, Luna, Applejack, and Rainbow, came with the last gift and placed them on the table. "Snowdrop, we made something special for you. Come here," Sunset said, guiding Snowdrop towards the table. "It was not the best, and we weren't able to make one for everyone since we didn't have a lot of time, but… I think they turned out pretty good."
"What is it?" Snowdrop asked.
"Just be gentle, okay?" Sunset said before taking Snowdrop's hand and putting it on the gift. Snowdrop, once Sunset released her hand, felt around it to see what it is.
"Is this a… head?" Snowdrop asked.
"Yeah, it is. We first finished your friends and Fluttershy," Celestia said, looking at Sunset at the last part. Both Sunset and Fluttershy blushed at that.
"Y-you mean…" Snowdrop reached down and felt a name written in braille. It read Lily Pad. "L-Lily Pad? This is you?"
"Uh… y-yeah… it's me," Lily said.
"You are so pretty," Snowdrop said in awe.
"T-thanks," Lily Pad said with a slight blush.
Snowdrop then felt the rest of the sculptures the same and 'saw' her friends. And she was so happy at the gift her sister, mom, and aunt made.
"Y-you worked so hard," Snowdrop said with tears welling up inside her eyes.
"It's nothing really. Sunset did the most work. We just helped provide the materials," Luna said.
"Thank you. Thank you all," Snowdrop said with tears running down her eyes.
It's been two days since Snowdrop's party, and everything was going great. The only tension being the anticipation of the upcoming Friendship Games. Sunset, as usual, found herself walking into the music room where everyone else was waiting for band practice.
"So Sunset got any news about the friendship games?" Rainbow asked, tuning her guitar.
"No, mom and aunt wouldn't say anything about it. I tried sneaking into their room to find anything but either they were expecting me to do that, or they didn't bring anything home. In any case, I wasn't able to find anything," Sunset said. She picked up her guitar and began to strum it, making small adjustments as needed. "Everyone's anxious about the Friendship Games. Is it really that bad?"
"You have no idea. We lost a lot of times in a row. Plus, the Chrystal Prep students like making fun of us all the time. All they care about is winning," Applejack said. "Ah, wonder whose bright idea was it to name it friendship games."
"Make fun of us? Why don't you just ignore them and-" Sunset was interrupted when a book was pressed against her face with a picture of the Wondercolt Statue vandalized. "Oh! I see," Sunset said with Pinkie putting the book back in her hair.
"Don't worry, Sunset. Principal Celestia asked me to boost the school's spirit, so that's what we are going to do. You sure it's okay for us to use that drawing?" Rainbow asked.
"Yeah. She's not me, and I drew it myself for this," Sunset said before joining others with the band practice.
"If you say so. Let's get this practice session started!" Rainbow declared.
The day went by like normal for the remainder of the day. Towards the end of school, everyone gathered at the school stadium for a special announcement. Once everyone was settled in, Celestia began the announcement.
"Good afternoon, students of CHS. As you all know, we'll be joined by our fellow students from Chrystal Prep to participate in the Friendship Games tomorrow," Celestia began. All the students clapped lazily with unimpressed moans, with a few grumbling about not wanting to clean the statue and soccer so soon. "Since the games only happen once every four years, I'm sure you are all curious what goes on."
"You mean other than us losing?" Flash Sentry shouted from the crowd earning a scowl from Celestia.
"And that's exactly why I've asked Rainbow Dash to come up and give you all a little… context," Celestia said. Rainbow came up to Celestia and thanked her before snatching the mic from the holder.
Rainbow then began to give the students a little pep talk before beginning an impromptu musical number with the CHS band. They performed a catchy song, to which Vinyl Scratch helped with a beat of her own. While this was going on, Rainbow began to glow and pony up in the middle of the song, surprising the girls as Rainbow transformed without playing her guitar. After the song was over, the whole school was pumped up with spirit. The girls joined Rainbow on the stage.
"That was awesome, Rainbow. Even I believe we can win this time." Fluttershy said.
"You are mighty right. We will win this time," Applejack said determinedly.
"But I do wonder how Rainbow was able to transform without playing her guitar," Rarity said.
"It's because I'm awesome," Rainbow boasted.
"Yeah yeah. But I think I do have an explanation, but I need to study it a little bit since this world's magic is a bit different," Sunset said.
"Then you should do it fast," Luna said behind them. The girls looked back to see Luna walking up to them. "We need to have magic as far away from the games as possible. Because the last thing we need is a reason to forfeit."
"Don't worry, aunt. I'll try my best," Sunset said.
"Oh, by the way, what's up with that… um… your," Luna stumbled over how to ask.
"Oh, the drawing they used at the song. Well, I drew it. And she's not me. So yeah, don't worry."
"If you say so, Sunset."
With everything finished for the day, the girls all left for their respective homes. Sunset stayed with Snowdrop for a while to figure out what was happening with the girl's magic. Celestia and Luna also stayed to finalize some works.
"So Sunset? What do you think is happening?" Snowdrop asked.
"I think they are getting used to their magic," Sunset said. "When unicorns first begin to use magic, we need to concentrate a lot, even for very basic spells. Over time, it becomes second nature. My guess is, our bodies are slowly getting used to the transformations, and it becomes easier to transform now."
"I see. So you are going to transform randomly?"
"uh oh~," Ari, who was also present with them, said.
"Not exactly," Sunset said, giggling at Ari. "You see, we all thought the only way to transform is when we play. So when we play and don't want to transform, we control the power so we wouldn't transform. But now that we don't want to play, we'll transform if we don't control it. So just a little practice, and we should be fine," Sunset said, walking out of the school entrance. That's when they saw a hooded figure lingering near the statue with an odd-looking device.
"What the- Hey! Can I help you?" Sunset asked, only for the figure to flinch and ran away from them. Sunset tried to chase them only for them to board a bus before catching them.
"Ari! Look who it is!" Snowdrop shouted. Ari quickly flew after the bus. She came back before long and perched on Snowdrop's shoulder.
"Face… not… see…."
"Oh, fuzz buckets," Sunset said.
"Who do you think it is?" Snowdrop asked.
"I don't know. Probably someone from Chrystal Prep. Applejack said they like to prank us," Sunset said.
With the mysterious figure lingering in her mind, Sunset and Snowdrop returned home. But Sunset couldn't help but think it was Twilight, and she's messing with things that she doesn't understand. Of course, calling her wouldn't be an option as it would raise suspicion. Pushing the thought to the back, Sunset texted her theory about their magic and asked them to try and control it tomorrow. Now, all Sunset could do is hope everything would go perfectly.
(Sci-Twi POV) Everything was not going perfectly. Not only did she have to participate in the games when Principal Cinch literally threatened her to decline her Everton application. Now it seemed her fellow classmates hated the fact she was joining them. Not to mention all of CHS seemed to know who she was.
"Did Sunset tell everyone about me?" She asked herself, following the signal coming off of her necklace. "No, she doesn't seem like the most talkative of the group. It's probably that pink one, Pinky," She was startled when she could have sworn she heard the girl scream "YES". However, a quick glance around showed she was alone.
After a while, her necklace began to give off a very strong signal before opening itself up. Before Twilight's very own eyes, it began to absorb what appears to be purple smoke coming off of a closed door. Determined to find what the source of the smoke was, Twilight walked over to the door and opened it and saw her new friends from Snowdrop's party.
"Twilight?" Everyone shouted.
"Uh… hi?" She said nervously.
"Huh- you are participating in the games too?" Applejack said. "Well, Sunset, it seems you are our only hope now,"
They heard a dog barking from inside of Twilight's bag, and sure enough, Spike came out of the bag.
"Oh… Spike too?" Fluttershy said before scooping Spike up. "Hello, Spike. Remember me?" She asked to which the little dog licked the shy girl's face.
"Uh… Did you guys tell everyone about me?" Twilight asked.
"Uh… why would you ask that?" Sunset asked nervously.
"Well, it's that everyone here knows about me,"
"Oh! Really um… what-" Fortunately for Sunset, Principal Celestia choose to interrupt them at that exact moment. Fluttershy quickly hid Spike behind her.
"Twilight? Uh, what a-"
"I must apologies for the curiosity of my prized student," Principal Cinch interrupted.
"Oh no, it's-"
"The smart ones are always curious. I'll return her to check in with the rest of the classmates."
"Oh no, it's okay, really. I know her. I met her once with Cadence. Seems she made some friends. Why don't we let them hang out a little bit?" Celestia said, appearing just as suddenly, not wanting to let Cinch know Sunset was her daughter and to save Twilight from the woman.
"Oh no, we don't have time for that. We have much to discuss concerning the games. Let's go, Twilight," Cinch said before taking Twilight with her.
"It's called friendship games for a reason," Celestia said to herself, looking at the retreating form of Twilight and Cinch.
"I'm pretty sure she doesn't even know what friendship means," Sunset said.
"You're probably right, my little sun. Be careful around that woman. I don't trust her for a minute."
"Gotcha, I'll keep an eye on her," Sunset said as she followed her mother's gaze towards the duo, moving away from them.
Once Celestia left, Sunset turned back to the girls.
"Okay, what was that?" She asked Rarity.
"Oh, I'm terribly sorry, Sunset. I just got excited," Rarity said apologetically.
"Try to tone it down a little bit, okay? Just for the day, please? We don't want to sabotage the games," Sunset said. "Also, I talked with Twilight this morning, uh, pony Twilight that is, and she said the magic might have something to do with your elements. So when you have something to do with your elements, be careful, understand? I'm looking at you, Pinkie."
"Okay, okay, I'll try not to party too much at the party," Pinkie said.
After following Principal Cinch and having another conversation, with her trying to pressure Twilight more to win the games and not to get distracted, Twilight waited near the statue with the rest of the Shadowbolts. She was contemplating what was up with the student of CHS and what's that purple smoke her necklaces absorbed is. It wasn't even supposed to do that. She even lost Spike thanks to Principal Cinch. She didn't have time to take Spike with her. Though she wasn't worried about him since he was with Fluttershy, she knew Fluttershy was very good with animals. That didn't change the fact that she noticed how the necklace reacted when it was close to Sunset. She was defiantly hiding something, and she was determined to find what that is.
Speaking of, Twilight then realized her necklace was reacting again, and when she turned around, it was pointing at the statue.
"What the? This is weird. Why is this-" before she had time to complete the sentence, the necklace again opened up and started to absorb a bright yellow smoke from the statue. Once it was finished, she looked around to see that no one noticed anything.
"Twilight, you have to check in with the others," She heard Cadence calling her, and Twilight quickly ran up to Cadence.
Twilight had no idea what was happening, but she knew one thing. CHS was at the center of all the weird readings she was receiving, and she was going to find what they were. No matter what.
After the incident with the statue, Twilight found herself walking into the CHS stadium with the rest of the Shadow Bolts to join the party. It didn't take long for her to realize the party was not going well, despite her lack of social skills. All the CHS was hostile towards the Shadow Bolts, who were taunting them. So Twilight decided to wait in the bleachers, studying her spectrometer.
"Hey, Twilight!" She was startled by the sudden voice calling her name. Looking to the side, she saw Pinkie, somehow sitting beside her without her knowing. "What's that?" She asked, pointing at the necklace.
"Oh Pinkie, um… this is… sort of a spectrometer. It tracks EM frequencies, and it can also contain anomalies… somehow," Twilight said, but the lack of response made her look back at Pinkie, who was still looking at her expectantly like she was still waiting for her to answer. "It measures things."
"Oh, I see!"
"So where are the others," Twilight asked.
"Oh, they are fighting over there," Pinkie said, pointing towards the group arguing with some Chrystal Prep students while Sunset and Applejack tried to contain it. "So, what do you think about the party?"
"It's… okay, though it doesn't look like much of a party."
"Yeah, you are right. Something is missing. Come on!" Pinkie said before pulling Twilight with her. The pink-haired planner ignored the startled shout coming from the girl as she moved down the bleachers.
Pinkie took her outside the stadium, where she found two large gift boxes on the floor.
"Help me with these," Pinkie said before pushing one towards the stadium. Twilight, unsure of what to do, began to help the girl push the other box.
"What in… the world… is in these?" Twilight grunted as they pushed the boxes inside the gymnasium.
"Party cannons, of course," Pinkie casually said before disappearing just as she appeared. Suddenly, the lights dimmed out, and a disco ball activated from the ceiling above. That was when the party's music got more upbeat, and many of the CHS students, along with a few Crystal Prep kids, began to nod their heads to the music. Pinkie was once again at Twilight's side and pulled open the boxes revealing large party cannons with each having a long pull string.
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Twilight asked.
"Absolutely," Pinkie said before grabbing all the strings and pulling them, which ignited the cannons, causing confetti to rain all over the room. Everyone's spirit for partying skyrocketed as everyone began to dance. While everything was happening, Twilight's attention was soon drawn towards Pinkie by a bright light coming off of her, and her necklace began to beep aggressively. Twilight looked on in wonder as the party girl literally began to float in the air and grew a pair of pony ears. Before long, her necklace opened itself, and it began to absorb a familiar-looking smoke from Pinkie.
"What the?" Twilight said as the necklace finished absorbing the smoke from Pinkie, who was back to normal, causing her to wonder if she just hallucinated the scene. The only thing causing her to doubt herself was that the once energetic girl looked like she could fall down any minute. Twilight quickly tried to close the necklace, but before she was able to, an energy ball inside the necklace crackled, causing sparks to fly towards the bleachers. She watched in slight fear as a purple portal appeared below the bleachers, into an odd-looking forest. Afraid of what would happen, Twilight quickly forced the necklace close, and the portal vanished. Despite being deeply interested in what she saw, Twilight quickly led Pinkie towards the bleachers before she slipped away to figure out what happened.
After the party was over, Sunset made her way towards the rest of the girls gathered at the bleachers.
"Ah'm, sorry, Pinkie. Ah thought your party additions were real swell," Applejack said.
"They definitely broke the ice," Fluttershy said.
"Yes, if only that Principal Cinch hadn't frozen it again," Rarity said angrily.
"Whoa, Pinkie, what happened to you?" Sunset asked, looking at Pinkie, who looked close to collapsing.
"I don't know. Everyone began to have fun, Twilight and I fired the party cannons, well mostly me, but then I pony-up-"
"Whoa, what?! You pony-up? Pinkie I-"
"Yes, yes, I know, but I couldn't help it. It just happened. I couldn't control it. Also, I think Twilight absorbed my magic."
"Absorbed? What do you mean absorbed?" Sunset asked.
"I don't know. It's her necklace, I think. She said something about a sparklemeter or something, and-and… a bizarre tracker. I can't remember, too tired."
"I knew she's up to something. I gotta talk to her. Where is she? The games are going to be starting in a few minutes."
"Oh, she's over, she over… she was right here."
"Great," Sunset facepalmed.
It seems as Sunset's luck had run out as she was unable to catch Twilight before the games begin. Every time she approached to talk with Twilight, either a Chrystal Prep student would get in her way or that Principal Cinch wouldn't let Twilight leave. Which unfortunately led to the first event of the friendship games. An academic decathlon.
The whole event was going great for the CHS as they gave the Shadow Bolts a fight by winning half the rounds before the final round. And it was up to Sunset and Twilight to decide the winner by finishing the last round, a math test. Both contestants from both teams walked up the stairs and faced each other. Sunset had a judging look on her face as she was focused on winning the games, but she couldn't help but think about what Twilight would do next, as she was messing with things she didn't understand.
The timer buzzed, signaling the start of the test, and both girls began solving the problem. Both girls completely blocked out the world as they focused on the equation in front of them. The CHS students cheered for Sunset, but there was a lack of cheers from Twilight's fellow students. Once the timer was up, both girls finished the problem and moved aside for Principal Cinch to evaluate the equation. After a few heart beating seconds,
"INCORRECT!" She said with a smug grin on her face, pointing at Sunset.
And with that, the first event of the games finished with CP gaining the first victory.
"That was awesome, Sunset," Rainbow said, putting an arm over Sunset.
"But we didn't win," Sunset said.
"Who cares? That was as close to winning as CHS has ever been," Applejack said.
"They don't seem to think the same way," Fluttershy said, looking at the Shadow Bolts.
All the Shadow Bolts had a bored look on their faces. Once again, the lack of cheering was noticed as no one cheered for Twilight or congratulating her for winning. It looked like it was beginning to affect Twilight as she stood beside them with a dejected look on her face. Sunset gave her a concerned look.
"Sorry, girls. We would have won this, but I couldn't stop thinking about Twilight. She is going to get herself in a lot of trouble if we don't stop her."
"I know, darling, but don't worry. We will help her, she's our friend, and it's only right to do so," Rarity said.
After the end of the first round, the girls joined at the statue to discuss what to do about Twilight. Clearly, there's no way they can talk to Twilight with all the CP students. So they ultimately decided to try to contain their magic as much as possible when Twilight was around. They were fortunate enough that no one else saw them pony up.
"You girls go. I have to take a look at my animal friends and Spike," Fluttershy said.
"Oh, Spike is still with you?" Sunset asked.
"Yeah. Twilight wasn't able to take him after we met her at the music room."
"Hm… there's a pretty good chance Twilight would try to meet you to get Spike back. If she did meet you, try to learn as much as you can about her experiment. We need to know if any part of it is dangerous. She's not used to magic. The last thing I want is for her to mess with something and get herself hurt," Sunset said.
"I'll try," Fluttershy said. And with that, the group breaks off. Fluttershy went to a secluded area near the entrance covered by bushes to tend to her pets.
"Hey Spike, you okay there?" Fluttershy asked, opening up the bag.
*woof* *woof* Spike barked before looking around, looking for someone.
"Don't worry. Twilight will come soon. I promise," Fluttershy said. And just then, Spike began to bark happily as Fluttershy saw a bush rustle, and sure enough, Twilight emerged from it.
"Spike!" Twilight shouted with her hands extended. Spike quickly jumped up to Twilight's outstretched hands.
"Miss me? Sorry, Spike. But Principal Cinch came at the wrong time," Twilight said. "Thanks for looking after him. He didn't bother you, did he?" She asked Fluttershy.
"Oh no, he didn't. I'm pretty used to sneaking pets around school," Fluttershy said, opening up the bag, and a bunch of animals came out of it. An annoyed rabbit, a tiny hummingbird, and a cat.
"Whoa," Twilight said as the bird perched on Twilight's hand.
"Congratulations on winning, by the way. Though it didn't seem anyone on your team was very excited about it," Fluttershy said.
"No one at my school gets excited about anything they didn't do themselves," Twilight said sadly. "Maybe Sunset's right."
"Here, hold this," Fluttershy said, holding Angel bunny towards Twilight.
"Holding a bunny always makes me feel better."
"That's ridiculous… but… ohhh, I think it kind of works," Twilight said, petting the bunny. "You guys are a lot different than my school. In a good way, of course, thanks."
"You are welcome," Fluttershy said, smiling before she was engulfed in yellow light. She was then lifted off the ground, and just like with Pinkie, she too gained a pair of pony ears, but this time a pair of wings grew too.
"Whoa, it's happening again," Twilight said to herself.
"O-oh… oh no… I-" Fluttershy was interrupted by the sudden noise coming off of the necklace Twilight was wearing, before opening itself up and, just like Pinkie said, began to absorb her magic.
"O-oh no, I'm sorry. I don't-" Twilight wasn't able to finish the sentence as the necklace crackled with energy like it did before. This time it opened more than one portal, and they were everywhere. From one of them emerged a small white fox with black dots on its back and a pair of small deer antlers on its head and hooves instead of paws. Spike growled at it before Spike chased the strange creature from the portal.
"Spike! No!" Twilight shouted, but the dog was too caught up in the chase to hear her as he chased the fox back and forth through the portals before getting caught in the magic field coming off of Fluttershy. It zapped the poor dog a few times before Twilight closed the necklace, and all the portals closed with it.
"Spike!" Twilight shouted, scooping up the fallen dog. "You okay?"
"Uh… yeah… I guess so…" Spike said.
… … …
"AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" both Spike and Twilight shouted after they realized Spike just talked. Twilight dropped Spike in fear before running off inside the building.
Meanwhile, an energy drained Fluttershy looked up at the running duo as she teetered.
"Wait…Twilight," And fell backward.
"Twilight? Why did you run away?" Spike, now able to speak, asked the confused girl at one of the hallways in the school.
"I-I don't know. Maybe the glowing girl, or the holes in the space, or my dog TALKING!"
"Yeah, weird, right?"
"How do you feel? What happened to you? Where did you go?" Twilight asked.
"One question at a time, okay? This is pretty new to me. All I know is, I chased that weird-looking fox, then I was in somewhere new, and then got zapped by that light, and now I can talk. I really don't understand why I couldn't before. I mean, it's really easy."
"Twilight!" They were interrupted by the voice of Principal Cinch.
"Quick, hide," She said, pushing Spike into a locker and partially closing it.
"Who are you talking to?" Cinch asked as she met Twilight.
"Um… myself. It's an n-nervous habit. Were you looking for me?"
"Indeed I was. Quite a coincidence that the CHS students moving on to the next event are the same nice girls who were so interested in you don't you think?"
"I- it is?"
"Perhaps you should get to know them after all."
"But I thought you told me-"
"Let's just say I'm covering my bases," Principal Cinch interrupted Twilight before she could ask her question. "Who knows? Perhaps they will reveal to you the secret to Canterlot High's newfound success."
"I-I don't know. Isn't spying a bad thing?"
"It's okay if you don't want to. It's not like your application hangs on the line- oh wait… it does," Cinch said, smirking before she walked away, leaving Twilight alone in the hallway.
"Man, she's awful. What are you gonna do?" Spike asked after Cinch left.
"I don't know Spike, I don't know. But I have a feeling that Sunset might be right."
"-I gave her Angel, and then I pony-up," Fluttershy said.
"Fluttershy, come on, you guys. We can't act on our elements until the games are over. I know you can't help it because that's who you are but try to resist, for everyone's sake," Sunset said. "And she stole the magic, right?"
"Yeah, she did. It's her necklace."
"So what's up with our elements again?" Rainbow asked.
"We've been through this Rainbow. According to my theory, our magic, specifically yours, is now evolving. Since our bodies are used to magic, we can channel it through the next easiest way, our elements. When you do something related to your element, you can easily channel your magic and pony-up."
"Okay, I think I get it now. Anyway, let's worry about that later. Let's try to win the games first," Rainbow said.
"Were you even listening?" Sunset asked, exasperated.
"What do you think the next event would be?" Applejack asked, changing the subject much to Sunset annoyance.
"Who cares? We know it's on the field. Which means I got you covered." Rainbow said as they walked out of the door and into the field. Which had completed changed into a dirt track that had students buzzing with energy. There was a distinct path around the field with a miniature obstacle course in the middle of it.
"Am I the only one thinking this is overkill?" Sunset asked, who once again without an answer as the girls rushed forwards to inspect the field.
This was the second event of the day—a Tri-cross Rally. After Dean Cadence finished announcing the rules, she brought up an air horn and blew it, beginning the game. Meanwhile, just beside her, Celestia was having a slight issue.
"Luna? What is Sunset doing on a motorbike?" She whispered to Luna.
"Uh… um… hey look, we took the lead!" Luna said, avoiding the question.
"Luna, you are in so much trouble."
Just like Luna said, the CHS got the lead as Applejack and Fluttershy quickly getting two bullseyes. But it seems Twilight was having a little bit of trouble. As soon as Twilight got the bow and arrow, she fumbled with it before finally drawing it shooting. But the arrow completely missed the target.
"Well, that's just fantastic," Sour Sweet snarled as she stomped her foot.
"I'm sure glad I don't go to Chrystal Prep," Fluttershy said, looking at Twilight in concern.
"You said it," Applejack said. She wanted to go help Twilight, but this is a competition. Plus, she can't sabotage the game by ponying up.
"If CPA can't hit another bullseye soon, they will be out of the race," Cadence announced as Twilight missed the arrow for the second time.
"You are really bad at this," Sugarcoat said from up in the bike, bringing tears into Twilight's eyes.
Twilight kept shooting arrows as tears clouded her vision. She was on the verge of having an anxiety attack, and all the eyes on her plus the venomous words that she could hear certainly weren't helping. Her only thought was that should she cause them to lose the Friendship Games, Principal Cinch would destroy all chances of getting into Everton.
"Augh, Ah can't take it," Applejack shouted before giving her bow to Fluttershy and jumping onto the other platform.
"Twilight, you gotta stop aiming at the target," Applejack said.
"Of course, that makes perfect sense. Don't aim at the target. Thanks so much," Sour Sweet sarcastically said as she once again stomped her foot.
"You have to stop aim at where the target is and aim at where it's going to be,"
"Yeah, definitely take advice from the person you are competing against!"
"Do you wanna get a bullseye or what?" Twilight nodded. "Then trust me. Take a deep breath…" Twilight took a deep breath and pulled the bow and aimed. "…and let go… NOW!" Twilight let go of the bow. And the arrow flew through the air and hit the bullseye.
"That's my girl!" Spike shouted from below the platform, surprising the other CP girl. Twilight hugged Spike before moving to Applejack.
"See? Ah was telling the truth," Applejack said as she hugged the girl. Just then, Applejack began to glow in orange light. "Uh-oh," But she couldn't do anything as she pony upped in front of everyone.
"Huh… will ya look at that… Ah-" she was cut short when the necklace Twilight was wearing began to glow and, just like before, absorbed Applejack's magic. "Hey, what are you doing?"
"I don't know. It just does that."
"What do you mean you don't know?"
After the magic was absorbed entirely, Twilight was able to close the necklace, but she tripped over Spike and fell to the ground. The necklace rolled over to the running track before getting hit by one of the Shadow Bolt's rollerblades.
"Oh no," Twilight shouted as she looked on in horror as the necklace began to open small portals all over the field. Twilight tried to get the necklace, but a giant monster plant stopped her.
Back at Sunset, she and Rainbow were going neck and neck with the CP team, when all of a sudden, a purple portal opened in the middle of the field, and a plant monster came out of it, almost hitting Rainbow. Fortunately, she was able to dodge the plant and keep going. Sugarcoat and Sunset, on the other hand, was not so lucky. One of the plant's heads almost ate Sugarcoat, and Sunset barely dodged it but fell from the bike. Both girls were clearly confused as to what was happening. After Sunset got herself together, she looked up to see a plant's head straight towards her. But she was too late to dodge as it was too close to her. Sunset closed her eyes, waiting for the pain when she was suddenly snatched up by Rainbow Dash.
"Dash? You saved me?"
"Of course. I wasn't about to let my friend become plant food," Rainbow said before she too began to glow in a familiar blue light. She stopped the bike and got out before the transformation was complete.
"Rainbow, any other time, I would be angry, but now, you need to stop that plant. I'll quickly finish this and get back to you," Sunset said, taking the bike.
"You got it!" before Rainbow flew off to distract the plant monster.
Sunset quickly resumed the race while Rainbow took the attention of the plant and lured it towards her. Taking the chance, Sunset was able to finish the race gaining a victory for CHS. As soon as Sunset finished the race, she quickly turned back and rode towards Rainbow.
"Sunset, a little help here," Rainbow shouted as the situation was getting out of control.
Sunset looked around and saw that the students are quickly leaving the field. It looked like the plant was not going to back off either. In fact, the portals that the plants are coming through seem to get bigger.
"What do I do, what do I do?" Sunset asked herself. "Right!" Sunset said before focusing her magic. "Come on, come on."
Rainbow flew back and forth, trying to dodge the plant. She was doing a great job as she was swift and had great air superiority. But she didn't see a vine slowly rising from behind her as it tried and succeeded in snatch her leg.
“AAAHHHH! Sunset!" she shouted when the plant wrapped a vine around her leg. "Sunset, do some-" She was interrupted by a fireball hitting the plant holding her leg. Rainbow flew out of reach from the plant.
"Hey ugly, look what I got!" Sunset shouted as she summoned another fireball larger than the last. It flared out in a barely controlled flame. The flame's heat licked at Sunset's face as her cyan eyes glowed slightly. Instead of sending the giant fireball at the plant, smaller fire bolts from the large flame. Five bolts slammed into the central mouth while two smacked against the stem of the plant. The plant screamed in pain as it backed away. "Don't like that do you?" Sunset said before shooting another barrage of flaming bolts. The stream of attacks matched that of a flamethrower.
"Whoa! Neat!" Rainbow shouted. Sunset was covered in a fire as she shot more flame at the beast as the heat caused a vortex causing many of the bolts to spin, looking similar to a fire whirl. The plant began backing away into the portal.
After a few more minutes, the portals became smaller and finally disappeared, taking the plant with it.
*huh* *huh* *huh* Sunset panted.
"What, just, happened?" Sunset asked.
"Sunset?! You are on fire!" Fluttershy shouted as she came with the rest of the Rainbooms.
"Huh? Oh," Sunset said, looking at herself before she de-transformed, causing the flame to fizzle out almost instantly. "There we go."
"Um… excuse me," They heard Twilight approaching them. "I didn't mean for any of this to happen. I just wanted to learn about the strange energy coming from your school. I didn't know that it would cause all this. I just wanted to know... how it works-"
"It's okay. We-"
"Rainbow, get back!" Sunset said firmly with an edge of panic. "She'll zap your magic too."
"I-I'm sorry. I don't know why it's happening."
"What do you mean you don't know?" Sunset shouted.
"I don't know. That's why I want to understand it."
"But you don't. All you are doing is messing with things you don't understand and put everyone else in danger. Didn't you listen to anything I told you before?"
"I-I… I'm sorry… I didn't mean to…." Twilight said with teary eyes before running off.
"Twilight, wait!" Spike shouted while running toward Twilight. Sunset, after realizing what she just did, felt very guilty.
"Oh no… what did I do?" Rainbow placed a hand on her shoulder for reassurance. Sunset looked to the side, feeling like an awful friend for letting her anger get the best of her. She looked up and saw her mom was also having a problem of her own to deal with as she saw she was talking with Cinch. "Great," Sunset said before walking towards them after Cinch left.
"I'm sorry I wasn't able to stop all this from happening," Sunset said.
"It's not your fault, my little sun," Celestia said.
"Isn't it? I'm supposed to stop the magic from appearing. But I wasn't able to do it, and now Principal Cinch thinks we are cheating."
"Principal Celestia is right, Sunset. If only we had listened to you, none of this would happen," Rainbow said.
"Don't worry, Sunset, it doesn't matter what Cinch thinks. As long as everyone is safe, that's all that counts," Celestia said, putting a hand on Sunset's shoulder. "And that's exactly what I need to talk to you about after this is over," She said with a stern motherly voice.
As the sun made its leave beyond the horizon, the time for the last event for the Friendship Games arrived. The participants and the rest of the students made their way to the school entrance to witness the event. The last event was a game of Capture the Flag. While Vice-Principal Luna, along with Dean Cadence, announced the rules, the Rainbooms spoke quietly with each other.
"I don't feel like playing games anymore," Fluttershy said.
"But we have to! This is the event that determines the winner of the games, and we have to win this," Rainbow said.
"I know, but it's a little hard to focus with all the magic stealing and plant monsters," Rarity said while recreating the images with vague hand gestures.
"And I yelled at Twilight. What was I thinking?" Sunset said regretfully.
Fluttershy moved forward and hugged Sunset.
"Don't say that. It wasn't the best nicest thing to do, but you were under a lot of stress," Fluttershy said, reminding Sunset. "Take it easy. Once this is over, we can talk to her," Sunset smiled at Fluttershy.
"Uh… guys? Ah think we have a problem," Applejack said, looking at something. Everyone turned towards where she was looking and saw Twilight walking up to them with her necklace in hand. "Ah have bad feelin' about this."
"What is she going to do?" Pinkie asked.
"Oh no! I think she's going to release the magic," Sunset said, running at Twilight. "Twilight, no!" she shouted but was too late as Twilight opened the necklace, sending a small shock wave. The shock wave hit Sunset in the gut, and she was slammed backward. She rolled twice as she tried to catch her breath as she watched in horror at the scene in front of her.
The necklace dropped to the ground shattering as the energy inside the device began to grow in size.
"Oh no! oh no! This is not what I wanted! What's happening!?!" Twilight shouted.
"Twilight! Get away from it! Let go!" Sunset gasped out in the loudest voice she could.
"I… can't!" Twilight said, trying to pry her hands out of the magic as she levitated off the ground. She managed to free one hand, but it was already too late. "HELP ME! AHHHHhhh-" She shouted and extended her free hand at the Shadow Bolts. It was all in vain as the magic completely absorbed her, and everyone looked in horror at the hand disappearing into the light with the sounds of sizzling tears. The ball of energy turned into a gradient of black and purple before it flickered and finally burst into a blinding light, revealing Twilight. Or the creature that was now Twilight.
"Oh no. Not again," Sunset said to herself in horror as she remembered the dreaded night that was the Fall Formal.
“Hahahahahahahahaaaaaaa! You were right. I didn't understand magic before. BUT, I do NOW!!" Twilight said in a more distorted and insane voice as she looked down on Sunset. Twilights eyes widened in glee as she charged up her magic and shooting a beam at the CHS statue, destroying the horse statue. When the dust cleared, a very familiar scene unfolded for Sunset as she stared at ponies from Ponyville.
"Equestria," Sunset whispered, dread slowly sinking in. There were so many people here, so many that would now know about Equestria. This was the worst possible outcome. Now everyone would know where magic came from. What would happen to it? To her? As she stared at the growing portal, Sunset had to force her thought away to focus on the now and not the future. She watched as the portal didn't stop creating long crumbling cracks along the ground towards the middle of the courtyard. Twilight charged up another blast and shot it at the ground. It crashed through the ground like a rock through a mirror. As the pieces of the ground fell away, another portal appeared, with the girls barely jumping out of the blast.
By now, most of the students had recovered from their shock and began to panic. Everyone was trying to get away, but they were all running away in wild directions as more were created by Twilights puncturing shots. Some were not as lucky as they almost fell into the portals, having narrowly managed to grab on the edges that were slowly crumbling away. The rest of the girls and the Shadow Bolts competitors managed to pull the students who fell to safety.
"Twilight, you can't do this," Sunset shouted, having caught her breath now stood defiant below Twilight.
"Why not? There's a whole other world out there. And it's just filled with magic!"
"But you are destroying this world to get there,"
"Twilight, please. You have to stop," Sunset said, trying to think of something to stop her. "Twilight, I know how you feel. I've been there. It feels like you can have everything you want, but you can't not like this."
"Oh, you are wrong because, unlike you, I can have everything I wanted," Twilight said before firing out sporadic bolts of magic, causing more portals to open. Just then, Sunset felt a tingling in her soul. Looking around, she saw her friends glowing as they pony up. With the magic aiding them, they were able to quickly save the other students. That's when Sunset knew what to do, almost like it was instinctual to her.
"No, you can't. You will be alone, you won't find what you're looking for. Power can't fill the loneliness inside your heart, you will spend your whole life search, but you will never fill the hole that will be created if you continue. Because magic, true magic comes from, Generosity, Honesty, Kindness, Laughter, and Loyalty," Sunset said as each of the girls glowed brightly before sending a flare of magic at Sunset one by one. "I understand you, Twilight. And I want to show you the most important magic," Sunset slowly lifted off the ground as she radiated a bright golden light, blinding everyone. Sunset had a white dress with pony ears and a horn and wings made of light when the light faded.
"The magic of Friendship," Sunset said before sending beams of pure magic into the portals and closing them.
"No, No. No, I said NO! Stop!" Twilight shouted. "I said STOP!" Twilight bomb rushed Sunset, and the two opposing magic forces slammed into each other. The sound slammed into the students still in the courtyard, making many of the students' ears ringing. Sunset shot a pulse of magic from her magic sphere.
The force from the pulse caused Twilight to fly backward. Frantically, Twilight flapped her wings and quickly stabilized herself. Growling with an almost animalistic nature, Twilight stared at the aloof Sunset causing her anger to grow. Bearing her teeth in hatred of being stopped from understanding the magic, Twilight charged up another beam and shot it at Sunset. Sunset, however, simply extended a hand and shot a magic beam of her own, intercepting Twilight's attack. What Sunset wasn't expecting was the continued beam. Before even realizing what she was doing, her other hand joined her first. The added support allowed Sunset to push the beams to form between the two at equal distances. The two magic users entered a stalemate as the other tried to overpower the other.
"Twilight! Please stop this. I don't want to hurt you," Sunset said. She didn't want to use all her magic as Twilight didn't deserve the punishment for only wanting to know how something works. She wouldn't subjugate Twilight to the internal torture she had when Princess Twilight and the elements unknowingly place the burden upon her. But Twilight wasn't listening. She refused to have anyone stand in the way of her goal.
"NO! You can't stop me! I will go to that world and understand it all," Twilight said, putting more power into her blast. "And if you stand in my way, I will-"
"Twilight!" Twilight stopped. Hearing that voice, calling her with fear, made her mind come back to control. She looked down and saw Spike, looking at her with teary eyes.
'Spike?!? Wha-what am I doing? I need to stop this, bef-' Twilight shook her head as the demon snatched back the control. But it was too late. Taking the chance, Sunset quickly pushed her advantage as she poured her magic into the beam, she quickly overpowered the distracted Midnight Sparkle, and the beam struck the possessed Twilight. Then, everything turned white.
Twilight opened her eyes. She was in a white void with nothing but herself. Looking around, she saw a flow of energy leading upwards. It was the most beautiful and terrifying thing she ever saw. It was here that she saw magic for what it was, for she was one with it as much as it was her now. She was still in the demon form, but she was the one in control, not Midnight.
"Twilight," She heard a calm voice calling her. Looking up, she saw Sunset Shimmer. Twilight looked on in awe.
"Sunset? I… I don't want this… all I wanted was to understand the strange energy. But not-"
"Twilight, it's okay. I know how you feel. I've been there. Take my hand Twilight," Sunset said, offering her hand. "I can teach you. Let me help you. Just like someone once did for me. I can show you the real meaning of magic and what comes with it."
Twilight looked at the hand. A tense moment passed for Sunset as she watched Twilight looking between her hands and her face. She smiled and reached out to Twilight a little. Sunset put all her sincerity and desire to help Twilight as she could in her eyes as Twilight looked at her one last time before she looked back at her outstretched hand. Sunset released a breath she didn't realize she was holding when she watched Twilight reach out and grasp Sunset's hand, and everything went white. The next thing she knew was she was back in the courtyard of Canterlot High. She was back to her normal self with Sunset right beside her holding her hand still pony-upped.
"I-I'm sorry. I-I,"
"Sh sh, it's okay, Twilight. Take it easy. We got you," Sunset said, hugging Twilight. The moment was ruined by the stomping feet of Principal Cinch, who was beginning to remind Sunset more and more of an arrogant noble from Canterlot. What she wouldn't give to see her put in her place.
"Principal Celestia, on behalf of Crystal Prep, I demand that you forfeit the Friendship Games!" Cinch shouted, walking up to Principal Celestia. "Clearly, CHS has had an unfair advantage for quite some time! And it's certainly obvious that your students have been using magic for their own benefit!"
"Don't you think saving the world is more beneficial to all of us?" Principal Celestia asked.
"At least they didn't manipulate Twilight into releasing magic and turn into a power-crazy creature that almost destroyed the whole world just to win a game," Sugarcoat spat, having decided now was the best time to roast her Principal. There was no sense in sugarcoating her revenge. Belittling her Principle made it even sweeter.
"That's ridiculous," Cinch said.
"Nope. That's pretty much what happened." Spike said.
"Woah, did that dog just talked?" A CP student asked.
"Really? That's the most unbelievable thing? Where were you just a few minutes ago? How about the girl in front of you with a horn and a pair of wings?"
"Clearly, my students have been infected with your magic, but I plan to take this all up with the school board," Cinch said threateningly.
"That's... Wonderful news, I'm sure they will be very interested to hear all about magical girls," Principal Celestia knocked the arrow.
"Or the portals to another world," Luna aimed.
"Oh, don't forget about the talking dog," Cadence drew.
"Because that would never ruin your reputation." And Spike fired.
And as the figurative arrow hit the target, Cinch accepted her defeat but huffed away back to the CP bus. Principal Celestia talked to the students to wrap the whole event up.
"Sunset, that was awesome," Rainbow said, putting an arm around Sunset's shoulder.
"You were all like an angel, and then you closed all the portals, then had an awesome dual then mhmmph-"
"I think we got it, Pinkie," Applejack said, putting an end to Pinkie's ranting by stuffing her mouth with a cupcake.
"Yes, Tea Cup?" Sunset teased. Blushing at the nickname, Fluttershy continued.
"Um… why do you have… wings?"
"I don't know. Magic sometimes works really weird. I had wings when I turned into a demon. Twilight also had wings, so why not now. Gotta admit the light wings looked awesome-"
"You still have wings," Rainbow said, pointing behind Sunset. After what Rainbow just said sunk in, Sunset's eyes widened as she blindly reached behind herself and felt the unfamiliar appendage.
"What the?" She turned around, trying to get a better look but only imitated a dog following its tail. Rainbow made her stop moving as she pulled one of the wings to show her. Just like they said, Sunset had wings on her back. The wings were mostly amber in color, the same as her skin color. The only thing that stood out was the red lines actings as highlights with yellows insides creating wings that looked like waves of fire when they moved or shifted.
"W-what… I-I don't understand. W-why do I have wings?" Sunset asked.
"Why? Didn't you have them before?" Twilight asked.
"No. I didn't. I need to talk to Twilight."
"S-sorry not you, Princess Twilight. We'll explain to you later," Sunset said, trying to calm herself down as her magic dispersed, causing her to power down. She was relieved when the wings faded away along with her horn and pony ears.
With that, the Friendship Games came to an end, with both parties unanimously deciding this year's Friendship Games would end in a draw, allowing both teams to claim victory. To everyone's delight, Twilight decided to transfer to CHS. Sunset, on the other hand, had a lot going on in her head. The list was steadily getting longer: having wings with her pony-up form, her mom's long lecture about safety, being grounded for not telling about the tri-cross rally, and when she went to talk to Princess Twilight, Whom she already had messages from. It seems like something was happening in the pony world too. Not wanting to panic Twilight, she told her to expect the unexpected before she decided to visit the pony world the next day.
The morning after the Friendship Games, Sunset found herself in front of the portal, with her mom, aunt, Snowdrop, Ari, and the rest of the girls.
"You sure it's okay for me to join you?" Fluttershy asked.
"Of course. You told me you like to see my homeworld. Plus… I need all the support I can get for what's to come," Sunset blurted out the last part.
"I'm really surprised you don't want to join them," Applejack said, turning to Twilight.
"Well, I'd like to, but… I think I have had enough magic for now," Twilight said as she rubbed her arm sheepishly.
"Well, now you are with us," Rainbow said. "That means you'll have to get used to magic. Just wait until you see us have a jam session."
"You're going to make jam? What kind? Oh, can we make apple jam?" Twilight asked as she looked at Rainbow Dash in excitement.
"Eh... not that kind of jam Twi," Rainbow said quietly.
"Heh, an apple fan? You fit in just fine, Twilight," Applejack laughed. "Why don't we all go to my farm after this, and we can make both types of jam Twilight?"
"Sure, I'd like that," Twilight said as she began searching the web for the best apples to make jam out of.
Just then, Sunset's journal vibrated, signaling she got a new message. Opening the book, Sunset read the message.
"Well, it's time. Twilight opened the portal," Sunset said.
"You know, it's really weird knowing that there is another me in a different world who is a princess," Twilight said.
"As I said, you'll get used to it," Rainbow said, putting an arm around Twilight.
Sunset inhaled and exhaled for a while to calm herself. She opened her eyes when Celestia put an arm on her shoulder.
"Let's go, Sunset. Everything will be fine," Sunset nodded.
"Here goes…" Ari beat everyone by flying into the portal first.
"Ari? Hey, come back. We were supposed to go together," Snowdrop said as she chased Ari through the portal.
"How did Ari even know to go through the portal? Did anyone told her?" Sunset asked.
"You know, that bird's brain actually scares me," Luna said, making everyone giggle. With that, Sunset, the rest of her family, and Fluttershy walked through the portal to meet Twilight.
It's been so long since Sunset left Equestria, sure there was the heist of Twilight's crown, but she didn't count that. After the Fall Formal, she never thought she would return back, much less with a loving mother, a great aunt, a sweet little sister, and a freaking girlfriend. But as she traveled through the rainbow-colored vortex through the portal, she couldn't help but think of how unpredictable life is. All of Sunset's thoughts came to a screeching halt when she was shot out through the other side of the portal.
“AAAHHHHHHHH!!!” She screamed as she rolled along the crystal ground and smashed into a bookcase. What followed were three more pe-ponies crashing into her along with a few books from the bookcase.
"Ugh... Twilight? Make sure to lay some cushions next time, would ya?"
"Hehe… sorry about that," Twilight said, walking up to them and helping them back up. "So… was it the snow phoenix that you asked me to expect?"
"Snow Phoenix?" Luna asked, who was turned into an earth pony by the portal.
"I'm an ice bird. Pretty cool right," They heard Ari saying while perching on Snowdrop, who was a Pegasus. Everyone looked over in shock at the Snow Phoenix.
"Did… did she just made a pun?" Sunset asked.
"So I'm guessing it's not? Then what is?" Twilight asked.
"Um… it's this?" Sunset said, turning to the side. Twilight tilted her head in confusion before she saw it, and her eyes widened in shock.
"I-is… are those… w-wings?"
"Yeah… they are," Sunset said.
"I don't know. The last thing I did before this happened is saving your counterpart from using magic, and then I had these wings when I pony-up."
"Wait, wait, wait, hold on. My counterpart? Using magic? What happened?" Twilight asked in shock at what she just heard.
"Oh right, I forgot I didn't write about that. Well, it's actually a long story."
"You. Have to. Tell me. Everything," Twilight said, getting uncomfortably close to Sunset. "This could have something to do with the Tree of Harmony."
"Tree of harmony? What happened to it?" Sunset asked.
"It seems we both have a lot to talk about. Princess Celestia said she'll be here as soon as she finished her morning duties," Sunset visibly tensed at the mention of the Princess. "So until then, let's go to the map room, and we can talk about everything," Twilight said, turning to leave the room. Sunset began to follow her only to stop when she heard the startled cries of her mom and Fluttershy and the sound of something hitting the ground and Ari laughing. They turned back to see that Celestia, and Fluttershy, both of whom were pegasi, were flopping around on the ground.
"Right… we need a quick lesson first," Sunset said to Twilight, rubbing her neck.
After giving the four human-turned ponies a quick lesson on walking, they thankfully learned very quickly. They all made their way to the map room.
"So Sunset, remember what I told you about the cutie map?" Twilight asked.
"Yeah. You said it has the whole map of Equestria, and each of the element bearers and Spike had a chair of their own, and the map calls you on friendship problems," Sunset said.
"Yeah, but now… we have a new addition."
"A new addition?"
"Yes, that," Twilight said, pointing at the map. Sunset's eyes widened in shock for the hundredth time as she looked at what Twilight was pointing to.
"What is she pointing to?" Snowdrop asked.
"A chair with Sunset's symbol on it," Ari said.
"I-I… I don't understand. What's going on, Twilight?" Sunset asked.
"We believe that you are now an element. More specifically, the seventh element," Twilight said.
"Seventh element? I thought there were only six. What could it be?"
"Exactly, I think we should trade stories to see if we can find any commonalities," Twilight said as she took a seat in her chair.
It had only been a few minutes since Sunset and her family arrived at Twilight's castle, but even in those few minutes, a lot had already been revealed. Her mom and aunt were not alicorns, just as she expected them not to be. Ari is a Snow Phoenix, which she wasn't even going to touch right now. There was enough on her plate, even without the mystery that was Ari. It was scary how coming here boosted her already stellar intelligence especially considering Ari was only a cockatoo. Sunset also got proof that she actually is an alicorn. However, most of her attention was held by the fact that there are apparently more than six elements, and she is the newest seventh element.
Currently, the humans-turned ponies were sitting around the map table while Spike brought them tea and cake, which Celestia quickly helped herself with while Sunset told Twilight what happened at the friendship games.
"I see. I'm glad you helped my counterpart. So, if I'm to take a guess, helping my counterpart might have led you to become an alicorn," Twilight said. "There are a lot of things we don't know about the Tree of harmony. But one thing I'm sure of is that the Tree has its own consciousness. I think it's been keeping its eye on you since fall formal. Maybe it sensed something in you."
"I'm not so sure how I feel about a tree stalking me if I'm completely honest. But what do you mean by 'sensed something'?" Sunset asked.
Twilight brought her hoof up to her chin as she let her thoughts be heard, "It's only a theory, but what if on the night you placed the crown on your head, you became intertwined with the Tree of Harmony? Thus leading it to have a direct link with you. You were definitely special in some ways, as no pony else ever had that reaction to my crown before. Granted, not many have had the chance to wear it, but those who put it on its nothing more than a gold tiara with a gemstone. Perhaps there has always been a seventh element, but it never had a wielder or physical vessel like the other elements do. It might be like the element of magic. It doesn't have a physical vessel until somepony has activated its spark. And Maybe with you being in the human world, the Tree couldn't make a physical vessel, so it went with the next best thing, you. The two of you are already intertwined. Maybe this form you took while fighting my counterpart is you releasing the power of the element? It could very well be that you are the Seventh Element," Twilight said as she finished.
"Maybe that's why you kept seeing those dreams with the tree?" Fluttershy asked.
"Now that you mention it, didn't you have those dreams whenever you did something special?" Luna asked.
"Special?" Twilight asked.
"Um… yes. I remember her saying the dreams stopped a few days after the fall formal? Then you had that dream when you told us about Snowdrop, and then the day you first helped that freshman, and finally at the battle of the bands," Celestia said.
"I don't know what you are talking about, but whoever this 'tree' is, but it would seem like it was watching over you," Ari said.
"Yeah, Ari's right," Spike added.
"Maybe that's why the tree gave you access to your special talent," Twilight said. "The Battle of the bands was the biggest milestone you made towards the magic of friendship before yesterday."
"Oh, man. This is a lot to take in. So if what you are telling us is the truth, then what is the new element? And what am I the Princess of?" Sunset asked.
"Well, Princess Celestia sent me some research of Starswirl the Bearded. And he theorized about more elements. So I think from what you said, the new element is-"
"The element of empathy," They all turned at the new or familiar but different voice to see Princess Celestia and Princess Luna standing at the entrance to the map room.
“Princess Celestia, Princess Luna. I didn't hear you. When did you arrive?" Twilight asked.
"Just now. I was able to finish the paperwork early for once, though Luna helped a lot. She was impatient to meet her counterpart," Princess Celestia said.
"Why wouldn't we? You don't get to meet another version of oneself from a different world very often," Princess Luna said, walking up to their counterparts. "So you two are Our's and Celestia's counterparts. It's a pleasure to meet you."
"The pleasure is all ours," Celestia said before looking back at her counterpart, who was walking up to Sunset. Sunset was looking down. Unable to look at the Princess's face. Princess Celestia moved closer and reached up to her, and lifted her head.
"Sunset? It's been so long," Princess Celestia said.
"Sunset. It's okay. You don't have to apologize. I forgive you." Princess Celestia said, missing her counterpart's flinching. Deciding to lighten up the mode, she looked up at the rest of the visitors. "Hm… there are more ponies here than I anticipated. Why don't you officially introduce them?"
"Oh- yes… of course," Sunset said while wiping at her eyes. She moved next to her mom as all the humans-turned-ponies gathered together, but due to her anxiety and relief of seeing Princess Celestia, she missed the way Princess Celestia and Princess Luna were looking at Snowdrop. More especially Luna. As soon as Sunset stood next to her mom, she unconsciously wrapped a wing around her daughter's side. Celestia had a wing wrapped around both of her daughters on either side. "Um… Princess Celestia? These are your counterparts. Principal Celestia and Vice-Principal Luna of Canterlot High School. And my mom and aunt." This information surprised the two Princesses.
"Mom?" "Aunt?" Princess Celestia and Luna said in unison.
"Uh… hehe- oops… I forgot to tell you that," Twilight said awkwardly, rubbing her neck with an uneasy smile.
"Um… yeah. They adopted my little sister and me. Sno-"
"Snowdrop," Princess Luna interrupted.
"Y-you know her?" Sunset asked.
"I… we knew her counterpart," Princess Luna said. "But… that was before I was banished."
"Wait, what!?" Twilight shouted. "But that was a thousand years ago," Princess Luna moved closer to Snowdrop.
"Indeed, I am truly saddened not to have seen her one last time before I was turned into Nightmare Moon. We-I had forgotten about my friendship with her as she was one of the only ponies back then that understood the night as we did. She will be missed greatly. I would like to think that she just as saddened when we lost each other."
Princess Luna walked closer to Snowdrop before she laid down so that she was face to face with Snowdrop, "Hello, Snowdrop."
"Um… h-hi… p-princess," Snowdrop said, unsure of how to reply.
"Don't be so afraid. I knew your counterpart. And I very much like to know about you too, if you would allow me the pleasure."
"Um… okay. M-me too, uh I mean I would like to know you better as well," Snowdrop said. Luna ruffled the kid's hair earning a soft giggle.
"That um… was totally unexpected," Sunset said. Before turning to Fluttershy. "And this is Fluttershy from the human world," Sunset said. Fluttershy, for her part, tried to be brave like Sunset, but as the attention switched to her, her mane naturally began to hide her face, and Fluttershy did nothing to move it out of the way as she hid behind it shyly.
Princess Celestia saw the look Sunset gave her and released why she was here, and smiled, "Well, Fluttershy. I hope you found this world pleasurable thus far."
"It's been great so far besides the portal."
"That's wonderful," Princess Celestia said with a knowing smile at Sunset. They were then interrupted by the sound of someone clearing their throat annoyingly.
"Oh, right. That's Ari. Snowdrop's pet and eyes," Sunset said.
"A pleasure to meet you, your highness," Ari said, bowing a little.
"A Snow Phoenix? Haven't seen one in a long time," Princess Luna said.
"Yes, you are right. And a talking one at that," Princess Celestia said before looking back up at her counterpart before she froze. She kept her gaze with her counterpart for a moment having a silent conversation before breaking the gaze and looking at Sunset.
"Well, Sunset, there are a lot of things to discuss. But first, why don't you, Fluttershy, and Snowdrop join Twilight and relax a bit?"
"U-um… I uh… I guess…?" Sunset said.
"Twilight? Why don't you show her around Ponyville? I'm sure she'd like to see her homeworld again after so long," Princess Celestia said.
"O-of course Princess," Twilight said, sensing something is up, but both Luna and Princess Luna knew exactly what was going on and decided to give the Celestia's some space and left the room along with the others.
"…-t… -nset… Sunset," a voice called to Sunset, who was in deep thought.
Sunset was jolted from her thoughts as she finally heard someone calling her name. Looking to the side, she saw her sister and friends looking at her in concern as they walked along the road that led into town from the castle.
"Oh um... Sorry, I wasn't paying attention. You know, just kinda lost in thought for a moment. What did you say?" She asked.
"Whacha thinking 'bout?" Ari asked as she flew overhead lazily.
"Oh- um… it's nothing," Sunset said, attempting to deflect the conversation away from her.
"Is this about the Princess and your mom?" Twilight asked.
"Um… yeah. I suppose. I don't know if I imagined it or not, but… I just feel weird about leaving them behind. I felt like there was a lot of tension between the two," Sunset said uncertainly.
"Yeah, I felt that too," Twilight said as her eyes narrowed, falling alongside Sunset.
"Weren't you looking at them?" Ari asked. "I bet they are fighting at your castle even now."
"Fighting!?" Twilight and Sunset gasped
"Well… Principal Celestia did look kind of mad," Fluttershy said, making Sunset's frown grow.
"Let's just not think about that for now. I don't think they will do anything like that. The Princess is always very professional. So let's just relax for a bit," Twilight said in confidence, though her flicking ear showed her nervousness about the situation. However, Twilight was one that held the Princess's command to heart even if she held misgivings about her orders, so she began to lead the group through town.
"Where are we going anyway?" Sunset asked as she noticed them starting to leave town.
"Well… My friends and I planned a get-together near Fluttershy's cottage before everything with the Elements' happened. I didn't want to worry them before sorting all this, so I told them to meet up without me. They should be there now."
Twilight began to tell Fluttershy and Snowdrop the facts of Whitetail Woods which Twilight said they could visit if they have time. Sunset lagged behind with Ari. Ari flapped small beats before landing on Sunset's flaming hair. While Sunset was certainly worried about the Celestia situation, she could help but become lost as they walked along the path to Twilight's friends. The clean unpolluted air filled her lungs, and all the smells that normally would be nearly impossible to smell with her human body rushed to her. The smell of the dirt and grass was especially strong, and she could only guess that it was scheduled to rain last night. The faint smells of ozone and rain were subtly hidden underneath the grassy smells. She could smell the sap and wood—the earthy smell of the leaves and a slightly sweet smell from an apple farm off to her left. And the flowers were heavenly smelling. Sunset closed her eyes as she pulled in a deep breath, just relishing the smells around her.
The slight breeze was cool and moved her fur and mane, causing a sigh of bliss to escape. It was like slipping into her favorite pair of pajamas. To be back into her pony form was truly amazing. It felt like when she was taken to the spa by Rarity and Fluttershy. She felt light and relaxed like she had been sleeping on her back forever, and now she flipped over onto her stomach. Her eyes opened slowly and fell on a flower that was spinning in the air. The familiar feeling of magic surging through her horn bloomed as she reacher for it with her magic. Bringing the flower closer, she inhaled deeply. She frowned slightly at the flower before her horn flared again, transforming the flower into her favorite flower. She discovered it in the human world and was curious as to what it would smell like here. The flower glowed brightly before it became a gorgeous fire lily. She stuck her nose in the flower and was overwhelmed by the flower's smell. The subtle citrusy smell combined with the more pronounced sweet smell made her do a little canter from the joy smelling the flower brought her.
Sunset tucked the flower behind her ear, determined to give it to Fluttershy when she got a moment with her mare-girlfriend. The moment was interrupted by a feathery slap from Ari, who pointed ahead with her wing, showed that the group was getting further away while Sunset was having her moment. Sunset panicked slightly before she teleported a few feet behind the group and sped slightly up, so she was just behind them. Which was a good thing too as they had just arrived at their destination. Just like Twilight said, Applejack was already there setting up the picnic. She looked up at them when she heard the group walking up to her.
"Oh hey, Twilight. Ah thought you wouldn't be able to make it. Everything okay?" She asked.
"Uh… kind of. Princess Celestia and… well Celestia are talking at the castle, so we came here to relax for a bit," Twilight said.
“Celestia and Celestia? Okay…" Applejack looked at Sunset. "So uh… you are… Sunset right? So ar- wait, are… are you-"
"Yes, yes, I'm an alicorn. And yes, I'm Sunset," Sunset said uncomfortably. "And this little filly is my little sister, Snowdrop. And-"
They then heard someone bouncing at them and looked to the side to see Pinkie bouncing towards them with a basket of cupcakes in her mouth and two more baskets balancing on her nose… somehow.
"Hey Twi, hey Sunset, hey Ari, hey Snowdrop, hey Human Fluttershy," Pinkie called all of them. "It sure was a good thing that I got an itchy nose with a leg twitch. Otherwise, we wouldn't have enough cupcakes. That would be almost as bad as breaking a pinkie promise."
"Hu- what?" Applejack asked.
"Fluttershy, from the human world," Pinkie said.
"What are you on about Pinkie?"
"Um… yeah, this is Fluttershy from the human world," Sunset said. Fluttershy shyly looked at them.
"H-hi," She said.
"Okay… um Ah suppose weirder things have happened, especially with discord running around," Applejack said.
"Um… what's going on here?" They heard Rainbow Dash say as she along with the rest of the girls right behind her. "Why are there two Fluttershy's? *gasp* There's a changeling. Which one of you is the changeling?" She asked threateningly, pointing at human Fluttershy.
"Hey, back off. She's not a changeling," Sunset growled before she moved forward, pushing Rainbow as she flared her wings out, and a light red aura surrounded her horn, showing her anger.
"You! I knew you are bad news-"
"Rainbow! It's okay. No one is a changeling. Girls, this is Fluttershy from the human world," Twilight said, standing in between the two.
"Human world?" Rarity asked.
"Yes. Um, you remember the mirror world? And as you can probably see, Sunset is a little different now, I mean, literally. She's an Alicorn. She even has her own chair at the cutie map."
"She- what? When did that happen?"
"Why don't I explain it to you girls? We have time, so I can explain everything. First of all, this is Sunset you all met briefly, and this is Fluttershy from that other world. We need to think of a different name so we all don't get confused, and Snowdrop, Sunset's sister," Twilight gestured to them as she Sunsets released her hold on her magic.
"I don't know. If she says you are a friend, I will give you a chance, but I will keep my eyes on you," Rainbow said, pointing at her eyes.
"Fair enough," Sunset said as she finally allowed her wings to rest at her side.
"Oh, you are so cute, darling," Rarity said, cupping Snowdrop's face. "I simply must make you a couple of dresses for you, any color you like?"
"Um… I don't really have a favorite color," Snowdrop said, looking down.
"I'm sure you have one, darling," Rarity persisted.
"Not really. I can't see color or anything really because I'm blind."
"Oh- I-" Rarity got interrupted as Ari flew right into her face.
"You apologize now!" Ari squawked while flying around Rarity.
"It's okay, Ari. She didn't know." Snowdrop said as Ari flew back onto Snowdrop.
"Oh, she can talk?" Fluttershy asked, standing next to her counterpart. "What are you? You are like Philomena but blue."
"Of course. I'm a snow phoenix. But back home, I'm a cockatoo. Our Fluttershy looked after me before she showed me to Snowdrop," Ari said, pointing at one of the Fluttershy's Ari paused for a moment before she cocked her head. "I'm confused. Who is who again?"
"Oh, it's simple," Sunset said, walking up to one of the Fluttershy's. "This is my Fluttershy," She said, flinging a hoof across one of the Fluttershy's neck, earning a blush. Sunset's horn flared as it pulled the flower out of her mane and placed it into Fluttershy's mane.
"Of course you would know," Ari deadpanned.
"Wait, how do you know? They look exactly the same," Applejack asked.
"I can tell by looking at her eyes. Right Flutterby," Sunset asked, nuzzling into Fluttershy. Fluttershy, for her part, looked very embarrassed and tried to hide in her mane more.
"Wait, are they? OH! This is wonderful. You two are the cutest thing I've ever possibly seen," Rarity said, pausing at each word for dramatic effect before flopping on her fainting couch. "And Flutterby? Do Sunset have a nickname too?" Rainbow gaged at them.
"Um… F-Firefox," human Fluttershy said.
"Firefox? That's an interesting name. Why do you call her that?"
"Well… um… her theme matches with a red fox. And they are cunning and smart, just like… Sunset. Also, foxes symbolize creativity and wisdom. A-and Sunset is very creative, and she can bend fire. So I call her that."
"Oh man, now I feel bad. I just literally gave you a name from a video game, and you thought about that a lot. Maybe I should come up with something like that too," Sunset said.
"No, it's okay. I like that name. And that monster is really cute. It's so fluffy!"
Just like that, the girls fell into an animated conversation as Sunset explained what video games were. While Twilight and the other girls explained things about Equestria and what they did for fun. Sunset and the girls all enjoyed their time together as they relaxed. While doing so, Twilight and Sunset both explained to the girls about their situation.
Meanwhile, at the castle of friendship…
Principal Celestia and Princess Celestia kept their gazes locked with each other as they waited to be completely alone. Both Luna and Princess Luna had wandered off, leaving the two alone in the map room. After what seemed like an eternity, the Principal began the conversation.
"So you are the Princess I heard so much about, huh. I must say I'm not that impressed," the Principal said. The Princess narrowed her eyes slightly. "She talked a lot about you when I took her in. I could tell she was worried that I would be like you. It took a while before she accepted that I wanted her as much as she wanted me. She told me how different we were despite us being counterparts."
"Why don't we get straight to the point?" Princess asked. "This is about Sunset, right?"
"Of course. I just need to set things straight. First of all, Sunset told me her part of the story. I want to know your part in it too. Why do you think Sunset acted the way she did all those years ago?"
"Well, Sunset was a very smart filly much like Twilight. But she was so much more… stubborn. When she wanted to learn something, she would learn it in a matter of days no matter how hard, advanced, or dangerous it was," Princess said. "This led her to study things that I forbid her to learn, like the mirror portal."
"I see. And what about your relationship with her?"
"... In the beginning I couldn't be happier, we had such a good relationship. When I first took her from the orphanage, she was so happy. I remember we would spend any free time I had." The Princess remembers fondly.
"But that changed. What happened?"
"Well… she became too attached to me. Even looked at me as a mother figure. But that simply cannot happen between us. It was better for the of us both. I'm royalty. She was an orphan. If I took her in, it was going to raise too many questions, especially from the so-called nobles. So I had to refuse. I kept our relationship purely teacher and student. To make up for this, I tried to help her make friends, something she neglected for so long. But she didn't want friends. She wanted a family, not realizing that she would gain that if only she made friends. However, her stubbornness and pain kept that from happening. She became too stubborn. She refused to make friends, and this eventually spread throughout the school due to gossip making it impossible for her to make friends. When she put in an effort, she always claimed that it was too hard for her."
"See, that's where you failed. You played a major part in Sunset's downfall."
"Let me explain. I know you are a ruler, so I can't judge you for that, but you forgot who you are to Sunset. For her, you were her mentor, but you were so much more than just her mentor. You were supposed to treat her like your student. You made her your responsibility when you took her from the orphanage. It's hard to make friends for anyone, especially for one that has no parental figure to rely on. Yet you looked at her like you do everyone else, just a loyal subject. When you were supposed to advise her, teach her, help her with her problem, you just ordered her like you would a soldier."
"I did no such thing."
"When she said it is hard, what did you told her?"
"I told her she wasn't trying hard enough. She just wanted to make it seem like it is hard so she can spend more time with me. I knew what she was trying to do. I had a kingdom to run; I couldn't spend all my time with her. She needed to learn, and she could only do that on her own."
"See, that's what I'm talking about. You know nothing about Sunset. For her whole life, she thought she is the one that betrayed you. But she's not. When Twilight told her friend's counterparts to befriend her, do you think they welcomed her open-armed? No, they didn't. Fluttershy was the one that opened up to her. She befriended her and helped her to make friends." Principal Celestia began to ramble.
"At first, she was so confused as to why Fluttershy, of all people, would help her. She didn't understand why; it didn't make sense to her. She thought she needed to buy friendship, and I can imagine where she got that idea from growing up within a castle filled with ponies that had their own agendas. I wouldn't be surprised if she learned that by watching the nobles become 'friends' by gifting others to further themselves to their own selfish goals. 'If you help me, I'll help you in return'." The Principal mocked in a snobbish tone.
"So when Applejack offered her to help at the farm, she thought it was the cost to pay for her friendship. So even when she was weakened by the elements, she helped at the farm until she collapsed from exhaustion. She thought she didn't do enough to earn that friendship. When all along, Applejack just wanted to test her, to see if she is actually changed. Even after she befriended everyone, she didn't spend much time with them even when they asked her to because Sunset thought she didn't deserve them. She- she-" Celestia finally stopped as she felt a wing wrapped around her and looked up to see the Princess at her side.
"I'm sorry I was rambling like a crazy woman," Principal Celestia said as she fought to regain her composure.
"No, no, you are right. I was too indifferent towards Sunset and her lack of understanding. I'm to blame for that when she was young, she would never leave my side. It wasn't until she called me mum that I realized my mistake, that I became something to her that I couldn't be. I tried to fill the hole of my rejection with friendships, but I did little to help her fill it. Maybe if I actually talked to her instead of assuming things…," Princess sighed. "But why did she want to be an alicorn if not for power?"
"Cadence? What- … oh… I see,"
"She assumed that if becoming royalty as Cadence did, then-"
"I would adopt her. Oh, Sunset…"
A long silence fell upon the inter-dimensional twins. After what felt like forever, Principal Celestia asked the very question that has been bothering her since yesterday.
"So what happens to Sunset now?" She asked.
"I… I'd actually like it if she stayed here. But it's her choice. I can't force her to do anything. The past is evidence of that."
"I see. Well… she's a grown woman. Whatever happens, I will support her," Principal Celestia said.
The time flew fast as the two felt into a much friendlier conversation. Before anyone knew it, Sunset and the group returned to the castle as night drew closer. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna excused themselves to bring forth the night. Principal Celestia was reading a book about Equestrian history when she heard the girls arrive back at the castle. She looked up from the book to address them as they pranced into the room, talking happily with each other.
"The castle isn't on fire. So I think things are fine," Ari said, circling the room and perching on top of a chair.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Celestia asked with narrowed eyes.
"N-nothing," Ari quickly said before he flew off across the room to look at the books lining the room.
"How was the day?" Celestia asked as she slowly stood, keeping in mind her new body and how it operated.
"It was… good. I met this world's counterparts of my friends, and they are pretty different and at the same time not. Rainbow's favorite subject is still herself and Daring Do. Rarity still loves fashion. Applejack is still as honest as ever. Pinkie will always be Pinkie. And Fluttershy is... well, I didn't spend much time with her, but she's still quiet and shy. I mean, they're grown mares here while my friends are only teenagers back at home. So they are a little more mature than them, except for Flutterby," Sunset said.
"Hm, I see,"
"So, where's the princesses?" Twilight asked.
"They went to bring the night or something. I can't still believe that my and Luna's counterparts control the sun and moon. How does that even work?" Celestia said.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, Twilight, I thought about that once when I learned about astronomy in the human world, and it makes no sense as to what's happening here," Sunset said. "I think there's some kind of magical stuff going on here that no one knows of. I prefer not to think about it for the sake of me keeping my sanity and look forward to having it well into the future." When Sunset looked back at Twilight, she saw Twilight was mumbling to herself about something.
"And there she goes."
"At least we have you to replace her when she goes to the mental ward," Ari said.
"Hey! That's not nice… even if it's true," Sunset defended the Princess but silently muttered the last part to herself.
"Ah, I see everyone is here?" They heard Princess Celestia walking up to them with both Luna's. "Now that everyone is here, we have one more thing to discuss before we call it a day." Everyone knew what she was talking about, and Sunset was not looking forwards to this.
"Sunset? Now that you are an Alicorn, we have so much to do. We have to hold a ceremony to officially name you a princess with a title." Princess Celestia said. Sunset felt her heart drop at what she said as she knew what this meant. "However, Sunset, it is solely up to you to answer this next question. I don't want to force you to answer. If you like, I will give you time. But I like to know whether you wish to stay in this world."
'She is giving me a choice?' Sunset thought to herself. 'What do I do?' Sunset looked at her Aunt, Snowdrop, then at Fluttershy, and finally at her mom as she walked up to her.
"Sunset, I like you to know that whatever you choose, we will support you. You are a grown woman Sunset. You have the freedom to choose what you want to do with your life," Celestia said softly, placing a hand on her shoulder.
"Sunset? You don't have to answer me now. You can think about-"
"I'm not staying," Sunset said, interrupting the Princess. Sunset looked back at her former mentor and walked up to her. "I'm sorry, Princess, but… I never wanted this," she gestured to her wings. "I mean… I kind of did, but not for this a-and I have a home back in the human world. My family, my friends… they are all there. I don't want to leave them. I'm sorry if I disappoint you, Princess, but-"
"It's okay, Sunset." Princess Celestia stopped Sunset as she placed her hoof on Sunset's withers. "You are not disappointing anyone. We… we might have had some problems in the past... and I hope you would forgive me for not helping you when I should have," Sunset tried to talk, but Princess Celestia stopped her as she continued.
"And I'm not lying if I said I was hoping you'd stay. But I understand why you don't want to stay. Family is everything. But Sunset… just know that you will always have a place here," Princess Celestia said. "Also, we are having the ceremony anyways," Sunset giggled at the way she said the last part.
"You know, I missed this," Sunset said with tears rolling down her eyes. Princess Celestia smiled with her.
"Oh, Sunset, before you go, I have something to give to you," Princess Celestia said before levitating a pair of books that Princess Luna had with her. "I kind of knew you wouldn't stay. So I enchanted these books."
"Yes, they are. Sunset, I… I actually don't know much about you. I was so afraid about the future I didn't take the time to know you. So when you return to the hum- your home… I'd like it if we can stay in touch with each other," Princess Celestia said. "I might not be your mentor anymore. Twilight took that position when she helped you that night and has done so much more for you than I ever could. But, if you'll allow it, we can still be friends. Or maybe even… family?"
Sunset couldn't take it anymore as she let tears fall freely over her eyes. Without thinking, she launched herself up to Celestia and hugged her as tight as she could.
Later that night, Sunset couldn't sleep. Being in a human body for so long, she found it difficult to sleep while she was in her pony form. Originally the plan was to be gone for a day at most and leaving in the evening. This changed, though, when they spent so long airing out suppressed emotions. By the time everyone calmed down, it was hours past the time they were supposed to leave, but Snowdrop had already fallen asleep with Ari nested in her hair. It surprised all but Princess Celestia that Princess Luna offered to move Snowdrop to one of the guest rooms, and with Luna and Celestia not know how to move the sleeping Snowdrop, they accepted the offer. Celestia followed after Princess Luna planning on sleeping with Snowdrop. Fluttershy and Luna went off somewhere to talk. She wasn't sure what that was about.
With that, everyone else began heading home with Princess Celestia, leaving for Canterlot. She nuzzled Sunset before she left and promised to get in touch with Sunset through the journals. Twilight being Twilight was trying to find out the difference between the celestial bodies of Equestria and the human. Thus leaving Sunset to be lead by Spike to her room. That is where she found herself now. In her guest room, sleepless. Grumbling, Sunset got up as she made her way out of her room. It wasn't until now that she realized that she was in a castle. With her technically being a princess and friend of Twilights, that allowed her to explore the grounds, right? As she wandered around, she couldn't help but notice how empty the castle was. Sure the map room had a tree with Twilight's memories of her adventures with her friends, but other than that, there was nothing here. She really needed to talk to Twilight about getting some guards assigned to her castle. She may be the Princess of Friendship, but she had a lot of items that could be used to endanger Equestria and the human world, considering the portal was located here too.
It was that line of thought that caused her to pause. She definitely needed to talk to Twilight about that now. The last thing she needed was some villain jumping through the portal and ending up in her world. The thought was scary to consider that a villain and artifact could end up in her world if they got to the portal. Luckily, the sirens were the only beings and artifacts that got sent through the portal by Starswirl. As she kept thinking of how to convince Twilight to appoint guards, she kept looking in rooms. She continued down the hall, finding more empty rooms with the exception of the kitchen, which had her help herself with a slice or two of apple pie, and a small lab-like setup.
It was near the end of the hall that she entered an open balcony overlooking Ponyville. She walked out onto the balcony and enjoyed the quiet sounds of the night. She looked around to see a stool off to the side. Smiling, she brought the stool over to her and sat down. She stargazed while she ate her apple pie. It was truly amazing. She could barely remember the last time she saw the stars like this. Every star was so clear, and the sky was filled with them. The moon and the stars had her unconsciously relaxing. They were so soothing, and yet they didn't make her want to sleep from the pure beauty of the scene. She wanted to burn this into her mind.
There was a clearing of a throat, and Sunset looked behind her to see Luna. However, it wasn't her Luna. Startled, Sunset jumped out of the seat, but in her hurry to address the princess, she stood like a human before losing balance and falling. She watched her plate of apple pie fall before the plate and pie were wrapped in blue arura, keeping them from falling. Sunset quickly got back to her hoofs and rubbed the back of her head.
"Princess Luna, sorry, I thought you had already left," Sunset said as formerly as she could.
"No, we decided that we would remain here until tomorrow. We wish to say goodbye to Snowdrop personally," Princess Luna said as she looked at the pie. She moved the pie towards Sunset and waited for it to be engulfed in Sunset's aura before allowing hers to slip away.
"I see. You like being by her, huh?"
"As I said before, we knew her counterpart. It was this past winter that I had to get rid of the last memento from her. I miss her dearly and feel as though this is a second chance to reconnect with her. Even if she is not the same pony I knew, I feel more connected to her than any pony besides my sister," Princess Luna revealed as she stared at the sky.
"I'm sure she would be happy to have more friends. She struggles to make them because of her blindness," Sunset responded as she processed what Princess Luna told her.
"Indeed, most don't want to go out of their way to accommodate those that are so different from themselves," Princess Luna said sagely.
A moment of quiet passed between them, and Sunset suddenly felt awkward by the random silence that had settled between them. "So, what are you doing up?"
Princess Luna looked over at Sunset with a questioning look, and Sunset suddenly felt so stupid for asking that question. "We wouldn't be a very good Princess of the Moon and night if we slept through them and didn't keep watch on the moon and dreams of Equestria. The real question is, what are you doing up?"
"Oh me? I just couldn't sleep and decided to wander around the castle. I found this in the kitchen if you'd like it," Sunset said as she gestured to the second untouched piece of apple pie.
"No, thank you, we are not hungry," Princess Luna said as her stomach gurgled. A light dusting of red found its way to the princess' cheeks.
Sunset giggled as she held her apple pie towards Princess Luna, "It's fine. I already had a piece."
"We thank you then," Princess Luna said as she began to eat the apple pie.
A more comfortable silence settled between the two as Sunset gazed at the stars and Princess Luna ate her pie. Sunset sighed as she looked at the sky above. This caught Luna's attention as she looked up at the sky as well.
"A bit for your thoughts?" Luna asked.
"Hmm? Oh, it's nothing," Sunset said as she looked at Luna. She was going to go back to stargazing when a small frown form on Luna's face. She felt bad about shutting down Luna's attempt at conversation, so she decided to expand on her thoughts. "It's just I know what I said about not staying here. But..."
"But what?" Luna asked attentively.
"I just forgot, you know. I forgot about how beautiful Equestria is. Everything about it is like a breath of fresh air. I enjoy seeing all the nature. The smells are so much fragrant and clean here. Back home, you cant see stars like this unless you go in the middle of nowhere," Sunset finished saying.
"We know how the feeling you are expressing well. I could not describe the joy I felt when I returned to Equestria both as myself and as Nightmare Moon. Despite popular belief, I remember my time as Nightmare Moon quite well. I remember being imprisoned on a lifeless rock for a thousand years. To see something green after so long up close was a feeling I think very few can experience in their lifetime."
"I had no idea how much I would miss being a pony, how much I would miss this place I leave."
"Does that make you regret choosing not to stay?" Luna asked
"No, I don't. As I said, I have friends and family over there that I could never leave. I'm just going to miss coming here, is all."
"Sunset, what is stopping you from visiting every now and again?"
"...Well, nothing, I suppose. But I can tell that Twilight can get stress easily. I wouldn't want to bother her by making her open the portal so I can pop in for a few hours."
"I don't believe Twilight will find that troublesome at all. I think she will enjoy her student visiting every now and again."
"This is nice."
"Just talking with another pony that understands what it's like for two former exiles," Sunset answered as she looked upon the stars again.
Luna stayed quiet for a moment as she too stared at the stars before saying, "It is nice."
The two stayed there in quiet company with only small clicks of Luna's fork as she finished off the apple pie. It was enjoyable and something that Sunset never realized she needed. She would have to see if Twilight would enjoy nights where they just stargazed as friends and talked about being turned into monsters.
The night has fallen back in the human world as a cool breeze swept through trees along the road. A single leaf was caught in the wind, and it traveled through the air. It passed a certain pedestal in front of a school. A small ball of light came out of the pedestal, escaping the eyes of all the night critters littering the area. It emerged from a small crack where a statue once stood and traveled slowly behind the school.