[Fe] The list was a long jumbled mess of items in no particular order. It was half written on sprawls of crumpled notepad where the words had to work their way around the doodles; and half written on a e-reader tablet thrown onto one of the three beds in the room. Somewhere in the middle of this list, she'd given up trying to actually finish it, and instead, was simply walking around her room throwing things into a suitcase that seemed like they'd be useful for a beach trip.
The winter break was coming up, and she'd be graduating the semester after. And if that didn't call for enough celebration, mid terms were finally over, thank god. There was nowhere Sunset Shimmer wanted to be more than on the bus chartered for the senior trip.
Sun danced around her bed, twirling past it in tune to a heavily autotuned pop song playing across the room, and made it to her dresser. She started throwing things over her shoulder, hoping most of it landed in the suitcase.
"Sun dresses, glasses, rocking body," she said, mentally checking things off as she ran a hand over her hip. Aw yeah. This was going to be great. She still needed a bathing suit, though.
Her dorm bed was covered in clothing, a suitcase, and a few textbooks and half an essay on Post Modern Contemporary Coffee Art, so she moved across the room and fell on her roomie's bed instead. She pulled a phone from her leather jacket, then chucked the jacket over to her own bed. She clicked Rarity's name and sent a text.
Yo. Bring coffee when you escape the mall. Kthx :D[Ww] No sooner had Sunset Shimmer sent the text than Rarity burst through the door, carrying a collection of outfits on hangers. "Surprise!" she said, spreading them out so that Sunset could see them. "It took me a bit to find the right accents but I made you a few swimsuits to choose from. I also stopped by the coffee shop on the way back - hope you don't mind mocha," she said, setting down a disposable cup on the desk.
[Fe] She met Rarity's announcement with a quizzical smirk, trying to show some enthusiasm for something besides the coffee. She kicked her bare feet off the bed and pulled her legs around together at the corner of the mattress, reaching over to collect the drink. She wasn't really the same taste as Rarity, and it made her worry, but even she could cast aside sullen habits considering how close the end of term was.
"Thanks for the coffee," she deadpanned, giving Rarity a straight face but teasing eyes as she walked past her to her own messy bed. She knew Rarity would press the point, and if she did, Sunset Shimmer would give in. But the battle had to go down this way to save some kind of face, excited or no. She spun around and gave her most tsundere, pouty stare and deflected the topic. "Where's Dash? I thought she was with you."
[Ww] "She said she'd catch up later; I was taking too long for her at the mall and she had some thing she needed to get to." she said, picking out the swimsuit she thought Sunset would like and throwing it at her. "Now try this on and tell me what you think! We can talk about Dash when it's her turn to model things."
[Fe] She sighed, grabbed the suit, and headed to the bathroom to try it on. After locking the door, she chucked the suit on the sink counter and grabbed her phone again, this time sending Dash a text.
RAINBOW!!! R U N.Yep, that oughta do it. Or not. Who cares? She laughed to herself, grabbing the suit again and trying it on. She did have to admit, black and magenta was a nice color mix, and she liked the band of teal going around the two piece. She brushed her hair back, pulling it into a pony tail as she left the bathroom wearing the hipster shorts and cross strap. She held her hands out as if to say well? what is it?
She's making me try clothes on. Send help.
Will expect immediate rescue from the dragon or friendship terminated. - Suimset Suiter
She's making me try clothes on. Send help.
Will expect immediate rescue from the dragon or friendship terminated. - Suimset Suiter
"Get me some leg warmers and a headband, Rare - I'm joining the roller derby. It's panic at the disco tonight!" She spun around, giving Rarity a good look at the tri colors straight from a magazine from the 1980s. As she spun, her elbow hit the bookshelf behind her. Her face scrunched up and she held it, falling over onto the bed to cringe. "oooooooooooooow"
[Ww] Rarity giggled. "Serves you right," she said lightly. "Even you have to admit that it suits you, darling."
[CH] Rarity's phone started ringing, with whatever fancy ass ringtone she had. Upon closer inspection, Rainbow Dash was coming up on the caller ID.
[Fe] Sunset busied herself nursing her elbow, falling off the bed with a drawn out: "kill.....me....." and finally looking over the bookshelf to glare at it, stopping to see a book had been jostled out of place from the bump. She got up, moving over to it to push the book's spine back until it was aligned with the rest of the books. "If that's not Dash, tell Dash she has to move out."
[Ww] Rarity laughed a bit before going over to check if Sunset was alright, opening her phone as she did so. "Rarity speaking,"
[CH] No words came through. Rustling, some wind... maybe footsteps? Decidedly no words though.
[Ww] "Hello? Rainbow Dash? Are you there?" Rarity said for a moment before hanging up. "Looks like she has to move out!"
[Fe] Sunset walked away from the bookshelf to her coffee cup and--- THUMP. She turned back to the shelf worried, walking slowly to the same book as before, now on the floor. "..." She ignored Rarity, kneeling down and picking it up, whispering under her breath, "why... this one?" Sunset Shimmer blinked a few times, placing the book back in place again, but this time keeping her palm firmly against it as she sipped her coffee. She tilted her head to Rarity. "Huh? Oh. Yeah, heh. Can we rename the ba--?"
[CH] A few seconds later the phone rang again. It was Dash. Again.
[Ww] Rarity sighed then picked up the phone again. "Yes? Dash? Are you actually there this time and if so, do you have any suggestions for new band names?"
[CH] There was more silence for a few seconds, then some rustling. "Oh! Damn, musta butt-dialled. What do you want band names for? Are you doing a side project or something?" Somewhere outside, Dash was peeking in the window, waiting for a moment when Rarity might be turned away from it, but Sunset towards it, so they could plan some great escape or something. Even if this was the first floor, because personal safety is obviously less important than ridiculous schemes to help friends out of tight spots. In fact now that she thinks about it there was probably a more sensible way about this but she's already committed to the window plan.
[Ww] "Oh, no, the last time the phone rang you weren't here, and Sunset said that you were going to be kicked out if it wasn't you, Rainbow," Rarity said, sitting down on her bed and crossing her legs. "Isn't that right, dear?" she said, holding up the phone for Sunset to shout into.
[Fe] Sunset walked from the shelf back to her bed and--- caught a glimpse of a rainbow outside the window. Her eyes went wide, then she tried to look inconspicuous, packing some more things into the suitcase, checking on the other swimsuits... waiting for Rarity to turn back around so she could grab her jacket, shoes, and jeans, and window jump or something. She flinched at her name.
"WHAT." She shouted to be heard through the phone... not at all from nerves. "WHAT? HAHA. NO. OF COURSE YOU AREN'T OUT OF THE BAND. HA... HA. IT WAS A JOKE. A JOKE BETWEEN FRIENDS."
She kept laughing, grabbing her jeans, and jacket, and darting back into the bathroom to change but not before signaling outside: pointing at Rarity then the window and then making a waving gesture. She needed a chance to sneak out the door.
[CH] She wheeled back out of view from the window. "But it was me, duh. I mean I didn't say anything, but it was definitely me! Hah." She continued before Rarity could say anything. She wheeled back out of view from the window. "Say, can you help me out with something? I'm uh... I've got some mail coming and the package needs to be signed. The mail normally comes around now, yeah? Just check out the window real quick, it might be right there."
[Ww] "I already checked the mail before I came in, dear; it hasn't arrived yet," she said, a little smile on her face.
[Fe] Sunset Shimmer opened the bathroom door as quietly as possible. She thought about throwing a blanket at Rarity, screaming DISTRACTION and fleeing. Instead, she sidled out into the room, and tried as quietly as possible to--- trip right over a book dead center in her walking path around the bed. She faceplanted loudly, groaned, then spun around to glare at the same fucking book. Ffffff--
She sat up, reaching over to dust off her cutie mark symbol from the coverand grimaced. She opened it, threading through the blank pages. Nothing. ... okay.... She stayed there, kneeling and sitting on her ankles, book in her lap, legs curled around her, hugging her jacket closed tightly and tugging at the sleeves. Nothing. It was nothing. She flipped pages until she found it: a white quill with a rainbow sheen to it.
"..." Rarity's half of the phone conversation was lost to her.
[CH] "It's a package, rare, if it already came there'd be a note in the mailbox and I heard that thud what was that?" Still in Metal Gear Rainbow mode, she leaned over to get a glimpse in the window, still doing her best to avoid being seen. (Surely scaling buildings like this was illegal?)
[Ww] "Darling I get twice as many things delivered here as you, I know exactly what kind of slip they use and it wasn't - Sunset you really ought to do something about the bookcase if it keeps tipping like that," She said, getting up to go look at the bookshelf.
[Fe] "Just slipped. It's fine." She got up, carrying the book now and headed toward the door. "You're talking about a package, right? I'll check the RA's office and see if she's seen it." she didn't wait for an answer and she spoke quickly, pulling the door and half sprinting down the hall way from the dorm, book in tow.
[CH] Another bang convinced her to look around again, a bit more carelessly. "Is there something going on in there?" She said, nose pressed up against the glass in time to see Sunset leave. A moment too late, she realised she'd blown her cover, since she's probably close enough to be heard through the window too. She bit her lip and went shifty-eyed. "Uhhh... I'll call you back, okay?"
[Ww] "Sure thing dear. Say hi to Sunset for me"
[Fe] Things had calmed down, and by dinner that evening, Sunset had forgotten managed to put the event behind her for the most part. The next morning, she'd gone to the final orientation before the holiday break started properly. A week later she sat on the bus with her friends, curled up in one of the back seats listening to some punk song loud in her headphones and doodling idly in a sketchbook. She finished a useless sketch of a beach and smiled to herself. Another 3 hours and they would be there for real.
She pulled her backpack up from under the seat and shoved the notebook back inside... pausing to note the journal nestled between two other books. Her expression scrunched as she pulled it out. Did she pack it? Did it fall into the bag while packing? Was that bookshelf on a hill or something?
She fumbled around in the backpack until she found the quill again and an inkwell then shrugged, dipping the quill and making a mark on one of the blank pages of the journal. Harmless. See? Nothing to freak out about. The mark remained on the page and she sighed with relief, got a wicked grin, and continued the drawing. Another sketchpad. Sweet.
She thought of what to draw and eventually started inking out one of the last things she'd remembered from that time... Celestia's cutie mark and Luna's. Both easy to draw. Then the bus hit a particularly good bump and the inkwell went flying, spilling black all over the page and smearing the sun.
"Aw, crap...!" She uh... uhhhh.... panicked and tried wiping it up with her sleeve. Oh, god, there was ink everywhere on the seat. She fetched a towel from her bag and started cleaning, flinging the journal onto the seat next to her.
[Yu] "Need a hand?" Fluttershy was watching her, turned around in the seat before her, resting her head on the backrest and smiling at the affair. She moved to Sunset's seat, kneeling down and helping wipe up the ink. "Where'd all this come from?"
[Fe] "Did a squid EXPLODE in your backpack? Where did you GET ONE. I've been trying to find a way to smuggle one into the country for months now!" Pinkie giggled, watching the two clean up while taking Fluttershy's old position of leaning up on the backrest of the front seat. She grabbed Sunset's sleeve and pulled her up to face Pinkie. "Tell me where the squid is!", she shouted, loud enough for the entire bus to look over for a second.
[Yu] Fluttershy laughed behind a hand. "Oh my... " She looked around the bus staring at all of them and tried hiding more under the seat as she helped clean. "Pinkie, you can't just own a squid. They are very delicate salt water creatures who require lots of care, space, and... why you you want to own one...?"
[Fe] "To raise my own kraken? Du-uh?" Pinkie went cross-eyed, stacking her tongue out as she pointed a finger gun at her own forehead. "Derp. It'd be the coolest. pet. ever! I should think you would appreciate that, Fluttershy." She paused a half second as she watched the two girls clean the mess. "Hello!"
".... hi" Sunset didn't look up. She rolled her eyes and kept cleaning, but smiled to herself. "I don't think krakens are raised from normal squids. I think it's a one-of-kind creature in the depths."
[Yu] "Also: that's insane." Fluttershy said under her breath. She spoke up, "You can't own something that doesn't exist."
[Fe] "Hel~lo" Pinkie held Sunset's journal, turning it open toward Sunset Shimmer where a single blank page had the word clearly printed on it in an elaborate cursive. "I didn't know you did calligraphy too, Sunny. Ooo! You can help me write greeting cards! We'll make a fortune!"
"... I don't... I..." She snatched the journal hastily from Pinkie, flipping pages... looking for the one with her drawing. "... did you write this?"
[Yu] "... you okay... Sunset Shimmer?" She noticed how quickly that grab had been... the desperation of the move. She frowned, leaning over to look at the word alongside Sunset.
Hello in bright golden flaked ink and large curling, twisting, beautiful hand. The letters sparkled on the page as though really printed in golden sheen.
"... it is really pretty. Pinkie's right."
[Fe] "I.... have to go." She got up, practically leaping over Fluttershy, grabbing her book bag in the process, and sprinting to the charter bus's only restroom. It was smaller than a plane's somehow but she sat down on the closed seat and flipped the book again. Nothing. No drawing. She turned back to the page with Hello on it. Carefully, like performing surgery, she took out a new inkwell, dipped the quill and wrote:
Your highness? Is that you?
[Yu] The words faded from the page and a few minutes passed before a new scrawl appeared in the same elegant hand. Yes. It is I. Can I be certain you are the same and not a false writer? Books are so easily stolen.
[Fe] Sunset kept a hand over her mouth as she dry sobbed, trying to hold in every bit of emotion. She hugged herself tightly, pulling her knees up higher as she looked at the words. Another few minutes were spent just staring at the words, running her hand over them for authenticity. She tried to think of a way to prove it was her. It had been so many years, it was a wonder some bit of magic remained in this journal. She thought to close it, throw it out a window, and return to her seat, but the thought came to her. A way to prove her identity. At least this gave her a way to properly say goodbye.
Dear Princess Celestia,
This is, of course, your beloved student, Sunset Shimmer.
She put away the inkwell, knowing the phrasing would be enough to prove herself. She waited until her words faded from the page, and waited more for new words to arrive, but a knock at the door made her drop the book, catching it only a moment before it hit the floor.
"Sunny?" Sunset recognized Pinkie's voice. "Are you alive in there? Did you die? It's been like 40 minutes. Did a kraken eat you? Are you ok? Did you drown? ... Also, I have to pee. Get out. There's only one bathroom."
".... FINE. I'M FINE." She quickly packed up her bag and opened the door, sidling past a very grateful Pinkie and back to her seat. She kicked the bag under the seat again, not sure what to make of it. She needed a better place to investigate. Probably not a crowded bus.
[Yu] Fluttershy was waiting there for her. "Are you okay, Shimmer? ... You seem really distracted."
[Fe] "I'm... fine." She wiped her face against her sleeve for any residual tears. "Um just.... carsick. Sorry but I'm not really in the mood to talk, Fluttershy..."
[Yu] She could tell. The red eyes. The little sniffles. Something had happened. But she knew better than to press the point. She gave Sunset's hand a little squeeze and got up. "I'll be right up there if you need me, okay?"
[Fe] Sunset only nodded, pulling her hood up and sinking into the seat. She put her headphones back on, turning the volume up to deafening levels and stared out the window vacantly the rest of the trip.
Five, six days. It was hard to tell. Each day she would spend with friends and each night, she would curl up under her covers, flashlight in hand, pouring over the journal and talking to it, asking as many questions as she could about the world she'd left behind, but Celestia seemed as interested in the world Sunset had settled in, as Sunset was homesick. Each night she wanted to say goodbye for good and instead, the letters would return with new questions and more pouring love.
I don't know how the mirror works, she admitted to the book, toes curled in the sand on the beach, wearing the swimsuit Rarity had ultimately convinced her to bring along. It was sunrise, and she reasoned she had some time before friends came around to find her. She'd been avoiding them as much as she could to handle this. I just found it exploring one day and... I thought you didn't want me anymore. You removed me as your student so...I finished the banishment myself and left.
[Yu] The words always returned again to meet her in kind, glowing warmth. Oh Sunset Shimmer, I never wanted you banished, my dear, sweet foal. I was angry. We were both angry.
[Fe] Sunset Shimmer hugged the book. It felt so odd now to be called a foal, let alone thing of a life before this one as a pony. She brushed her hair back, taking the quill and twirling it in her hand as she tried to remember the messy details of a past life. They weren't angry, no. She'd tried to... remember Luna. That was the fight. But it wasn't anger. It was fear. She bit the end of the plume as she thought how to reply. Should she apologize? She'd left Celestia right after she'd lost Luna too. Surely that warranted an apology.
[Yu] Won't you come home? The words didn't wait for a reply. I need you by my side again.
[Fe] I, she held the pen over the page, letting the ink drip into a fine blotch. Could she even return? Did it work? She'd never even tried the mirror again since that day. She never wanted to be anywhere but here, where she was popular, and loved, and the world made sense without magic ruining it and dividing sisters and friends. I am home. I have a life here. I don't want to start over again.
She felt proud of herself as she wrote it. She knew what she really wanted and would stick to it.
[Yu] You wouldn't be starting over. You'd be picking up where we left off, my sweet child. You are like a daughter to me. Please, don't make me lose you. Everything is as it was. And can be more with you back.
At least a visit? I want you to see the new castle, and a room I've made up just for you. I've only ever had you for a student and successor, Sunset. No one ever compared. Can't I at least see you? I need your help. Something only you can help me with.
[Fe] Sunset bit her lip. There it was again. That offer for help. She'd dodged that sentence twice now in the letters over the week. Just as it was?
[Yu] Well, not quite. I shant lie to you, my foal. I am no longer your princess. Nightmare Moon is queen. You said seven years have passed, but I assure you, Nightmare Moon has been queen for nigh a thousand rotations now.
[Fe] It's just like the story, Sunset Shimmer thought, closing her eyes a moment and feeling the sun's warmth before writing again. If that's what you need help with, I already told you. I won't leave. I won't start over.
[Yu] It needn't be a single choice. I know how to keep the portal open now for good. At least from this side. You can enter here at the next full moon and depart whenever you feel back to... your... world. I only need something of yours, Sunset Shimmer. And only for a brief respite from your life. And then you can do whatever you please.
[Ks] An arm grappled around Sunset Shimmer's neck, another around her arms, and both pulled her up to her feet in a solid headlock. "Well, look what rose with the sun. It's that gal what's been ignoring her friends to stare at a book all the time when she thinks we ain't watching. And I thought you were the bookworm, Twilight." Applejack held her grip, looking partways behind her where Twilight had followed her in her sneak attack on Sunset.
[Ww] Twilight smiled a little before turning to Sunset, concerned. "What's going on, Sunset? You haven't seemed like yourself lately."
[Fe] I don't know. I mean------ The last letter trailed off the page as she dropped the journal and was pulled up. She struggled in vain against Applejack. "Nng... let... me... gooooooo!" She gave up, falling slack in AJ's grip. She instead turned toward Twilight. "I just... I was... ... it's nothing."
[Ks] "Sure as shoot don't look like nothing, Sunshine." She let go, only catching Sunset Shimmer to keep her upright and spin her around to face the two of them. "Out with it. This is supposed to be a vacation and all you've been seen doing is writing an essay or something in that book of yours. Nobody studies on vacation. Except Twilight. Spit it out, sugarcube."
[Fe] ".... you wouldn't believe me if I told you. Trust me."
[Ww] "Why wouldn't we?" Twilight said, sitting down next to her. "We've known each other for a while now. There's no reason not to trust you."
[Fe] She hugged her knees, staring at the book. She turned the quill in her hands before handing it to Twilight. "I... used to have this... mother. Type. Step mom. And we kind of had a falling out over her sister dying and my wanting to... take over the family business. And she wants to see me again."
[Ks] Applejack sat down next to her, braiding her ponytail and tucking it back into a bun to keep the wind out of it. "Sounds pretty believable to me, sugar. You never were one to bring up your home life. So what's the problem?"
[Fe] "If I go see her, there's no... guarantee I can come back. She says I can but...." She sank her head into her knees. This was harder than she thought to get out without sounding stupid. "...I cut her out of my life already... but she won't stop writing me letters. And I can't stop replying."
[Ww] "Sounds like you miss her," Twilight said, putting an arm around her friend.
[Fe] Sunset Shimmer shrugged, leaning into Twilight. "I guess..."
[Ks] "So go see her. I mean. Why can't you just come back? She gonna kidnap you or somethin', sugarcube? It sounds like you two care about each other. So unless one of you is a sociopath, what's the harm in a little visit over the holidays? If there's a time to miss someone, it's now." Applejack inched closer, hugging the other side of Sunset. "So why all the skulking around us about it? What's with the journal?"
[Fe] "Because.... it's... I mean... uuuuuuugh. Here. Just... here." She grabbed the book, thrusting it toward Twilight. On the page was still the last few messages between them. Two separate handwritings. Two separate inks. "You are both going to think I'm insane, okay? But this is how we're talking to each other. This journal. It's connected to a journal she owns by following a wind leyline through the northern half of the big dipper. Okay? There. I said it. Call me crazy."
[Ks] Applejack stared at her like she was watching a donkey trying to learn how to pole vault and just looked at Twilight.
[Ww] Twilight read the journal once. Twice. Three times, before looking over towards Applejack with a concerned expression on her face. She wasn't wrong, there were definitely two handwritings on there, but it didn't really make sense... "I... I don't know what to say," she said, finally.
[Fe] Sunset Shimmer sniffled, glaring at her own weakness and brushing her arm once more against her eyes. "Write in it. Anything you want. With that quill I handed you."
[Ks] "Sunset..." Applejack stopped herself. The way she said it was too brittle to impede. She held Sunset's arm and looked at the journal, nodding to Twilight. "Okay, let's try it."
[Ww] Twilight looked at AJ again before looking at the book and writing something in the book.
Hello, this is Twilight Sparkle
[Yu] Why hello, Magic Spark. The words were written more hastily but appeared as ink soaking in from the page below. So you are friends with Sunset Shimmer? What an chance - to speak with Harmony itself. Where has my student gone off to?
[Fe] Sunset watched the words appear, her brow furrowing. "Harmony...? Magic spark...?" She blinked thrice as she said it under her breath.
[Yu] Do tell Spike I send my regards. And your brother. I hope to see them again soon. The words appeared under the previous and the ink finally settled and dried to indicate the letter finished.
[Ww] Twilight stared at the book. "How does she know about me?" she said, looking at Shimmer with confusion.
[Fe] "I... I'm from a different world. Another dimension. An alternate version of this world.... and I... I never knew any of you there... really. But I knew it had to be true because... because Celestia was here. And Lun-- Nightmare Moon. Our old headmaster back in high school? In my world, they were princesses. And.... how insane do I sound?"
[Ks] "Like you've been swiping pills from my Granny," Applejack added. She shuddered, looking at the book. "But I just saw a book write itself. So..."
[Fe] "I can prove it!" She got up, looking more crazed. Sunset had her hands tangled into her curls. "The portal... the portal was the old mirrored wall of the Wondercolt statue at our high school. Celestia--- the journal--- said it can open every new moon. And.. and I already checked. The next one's the day after we get back from this trip."
[Ks] Applejack scooted away when Sunset started shouting, but sat there watching her friend unravel before getting up and hugging her. "Hey, hey. You don't need to prove nothing to us... right Twilight? I don't know what this is, but it's obviously important to you. I believe you, alright?"
[Ww] "... Yeah. I believe you," Twilight said, giving her a brief hug.
[Ks] "Let's just... we can go to the statue when we get back, yeah? If it helps you."
[Fe] Sunset Shimmer nodded, calming down with the hug. She grabbed the journal back and the quill, packing both away. "R-right... okay. Thanks." She brushed her hair back. ".... I'm going to go see her."
[Ks] "Is that a good idea? I mean... .. even without the uh... portal... thing.... you seem really torn up about it." Applejack folded her arms and frowned.
[Fe] "Yeah. Just a visit." Sunset nodded. "But I want to show all of you first. Midngiht this coming Tuesday. I want all of us to be there. I want to show you guys the truth. If you can humor me, be at the statue then."
[Ks] Applejack just nodded, very clearly still concerned. She looked at Twilight with more worry. This was at least a little insane, but she couldn't shake the idea that she really had seen words appear in that journal.
[Ww] Twilight gave a look to Applejack - she was concerned, too - before nodding to Sunset. "Midnight on Tuesday, then."
[Fe] Tuesday came around sooner than expected. Sunset Shimmer had quickly gotten over the book. She was confident in her decision. After leaving Applejack and Twilight on the beach, she'd written a simple letter:
Dear Princess Celestia,
I'm coming to visit you. A visit. A short one. I just want to say goodbye. And give you back your journal. I meant what I said, your highness; my home is here now. But I owe you a farewell in person. I think it will give us both closure.
She showed up first, hours early, walking to location and sitting cross legged in front of the portal, watching the sky in its reflection.
[Yu] Fluttershy pulled up shortly on her bicycle. She stopped it at the side of the statue, leaning the bike against the marble base as she looked up at the tall rearing horse above. She walked around it, now taking in the old school. It had been years since all of them attended the same school. She rounded the corner to see Sunset, immediately smiling and sighing relieved at the sight.
"Oh, thank goodness you are here. When I got the text, I thought maybe something horrible might happen." She moved to sit next to Sunset, wondering how long the former had been sitting there staring at the mirrored side of the base. "... so is it really... I mean..." She gulped and whispered. "A portal?"
[Fe] Sunset Shimmer only nodded and checked her watch. It would be easier to show everyone at once. The belltower across campus struck midnight.
[Ks] Applejack showed up quietly, bringing an electric lantern and a few flashlights with her. Someone here had to be smart and safe. So they were really doing this, huh? She supposed the most she could do was be here and hope for the rest. She shuddered again. The very idea of the supernatural put her on edge, let alone her friend declaring a portal to another world existed. She just joined the two sitting near the statue, laying back and staring at the sky to wait for the others.
[Ww] Rarity drove up, pulling out a few things for Sunset to take with her - an outfit she'd been working on, a photo album that was mostly empty except for photos from the school, and a small pendant. When she got there, she immediately embraced Sunset. "Twilight told me everything, dear. I hope you enjoy your visit - I wish you could stay and tell us more about where you were going."
[Fe] "STORY TIME? STORY TIME!" Pinkie pounced in from behind Rarity. It was hard to tell whether she'd simply followed Rarity up or had been stowed away in the back seat waiting for ambush. Either way, here she was. She held out a rock candy necklace, extending it with both hands to Sunset. "Also, this." She pulled Sunset close and handed her a switchblade.
Sunset Shimmer's eyes went big. "Pinkie, I'm not taking a weapon."
"It's dangerous to go alone!" Pinkie shoved the blade into Sunset's jacket pocket.
Sunset Shimmer rolled her eyes, smiling at the friends who had arrived so far and turning to give Rarity a long hug. "I'll be back before you know it, Rarity."
[CH] A small motorbike going a little bit too fast produced a squeal of burning rubber as it pulled up a short distance beyond the car. Dash stepped off and pulled off her helmet. "Great! I didn't miss it." She quickly threw off her biking jacket and bounded up to the group, reaching into her pocket, and... "Well, uh, this is awkward." She held up the little switchblade she brought, frowning. Then she shrugged, and slipped it in next to Pinkie's. "Ah, what the hell, it works in case you lose one."
[Fe] Sunset Shimmer chuckled at this. "Oh good. Now I can stab with BOTH hands. What great friends. Enabling my murder spree."
[CH] Dash just grinned and gave a thumbs up. "Always got your back!"
[Fe] "Stab?" Pinkie reached over, pressing the button on her switchblade to reveal a bottle opener, a spoon, and what Sunset could only imagine would be useful for cutting pizza and only pizza.
[Ks] Applejack facepalmed in that "my friends are all idiots" way.
[Ww] It was another fifteen minutes after the meeting time before Twilight arrived, holding something close to her chest; it was clear from the way she looked that she had walked most of the way. "I know I'm late," she said, biting her lip. "But it took a little bit to get everything ready." In her hands was a small notebook, bound in black leather, with Sunset's sunburst design plastered on it. "I don't... I don't know how that journal you have works," she said. "But I thought you should have something like it from us. To write in."
[CH] "At least you can actually defend yourself with mine. Unless this place has like, magical pizza monsters."
[Fe] Sunset smiled warmly, taking the journal in both hands, and looking between all her friends. She lunged forward, grabbing Rainbow Dash and Twilight in a hug on either arm. "Guys, I'm only going for like... a month tops. The portal opens when there's a new moon, so worse case, I'm back here by the first snow."
[Yu] Fluttershy tackled her way into the hug. "No, but let us love you."
[Ks] Applejack rolled her eyes. "Well, I mean... all Fluttershy and I got you was some rations. Y'know, something to snack on in case... your universe... DOESNT.. have pizza... monsters..." She looked between Dash and Pinkie warily. "Now will you tell us about this place?"
[CH] "Yeah!" Dash vibrated with that adrenaline of being somewhere between emotionally involved concern and the excitement of the unknown.
[Fe] Sunset checked her watch. 12:25 AM. She needed to stall a little longer anyway. She nodded to Applejack and began a grand story. "I was born in a world of magic and harmony..."
She talked and talked, for at least an hour, probably longer. She talked about hatching a dragon egg, and joining magic school, and being a princess wizard's apprentice. She talked about Luna's banishment and her own - and how she found the mirror. The only thing she left out of the story was ponies.
"And that's how I ended up here. And everything was quiet for the last seven years. But then I wrote in this journal on the bus last week and... I guess it's still connected to that world. Because this-" she held up the white quill. "Is the princess' feather. She plucked it from her own wing for me. And I don't know... maybe it's why the magic hasn't faded. But she's been talking to me all about the problems my homeland is facing. And she wants my help."
[Yu] "So you're.... going to go help the princess...?" Fluttershy spoke slowly, trying to make sure this made sense in her head.
[Fe] "That sounds like the coolest Saturday morning cartoon ever! ... we should start a webcomic when you get back. We'll make millions! ... of comics! No money though. Ad blocker." Pinkie was bouncing around with her own flashlight as she animated the idea.
[Ks] "....Pinkie, please. This is reality--- I think. It is right? Real, I mean?" Applejack looked at the mirror nervously.
[Fe] Sunset got up from the circle around the lantern and went to the mirror, placing a hand against it. It wavered like water, rippling down the entire reflective surface. As she stood before it, she could see herself hugging Celestia. "I'm just going to go say goodbye. And give her back this magic journal. So I can put all this behind me once and for all."
[CH] "That just means you put 'based on a true story' on it and get a movie deal. That's so awesome though! You're on this real life adventure and stuff." Dash looked around for a few seconds. "You suuuuure we can't come with you?"
[Fe] "I have no idea. i don't even know how this thing works. But Princess Celestia seems to think you coming would be a bad idea. The more changes we make to a universe, the more we risk stability. I don't even know if this portal would take you to the same world as me or if you'd end up somewhere else entirely..." She ran her hand along the watery surface, trying to discern its secrets merely by squinting at it.
[Yu] Fluttershy fiddled with her sleeve, looking at the mirror nervously as Sunset touched it and it really did react. This was real. This was really happening. "I don't like this..."
[Ww] "I don't either..." Twilight said. "But I trust Sunset."
[Fe] Sunset smiled as she packed all their presents away in her backpack. "And I trust you to keep it together until I'm back. There's nothing to worry about. Equestria is the most harmonious magical land in all of the world, and it's under the rule of a kind and compassionate princess who controls the very sun. Nothing can stand against her light. Her castle is the safest place I could ever find myself. We may have had a falling out, but Princess Celestia raised me, girls. I'm just going to visit. And then I'll come back." She dragged everyone into a group hug, then hugged each person in turn. "It was important I finally told you all this though. That i stopped living a lie. I'm sorry I never told you sooner. This world... you girls... were the wish my heart made that made this portal for me."
She grabbed her backpack, turning again to smile at each person. "I'll see you really soon, okay?"
[Ks] Applejack smiled back, holding it together rather well for someone watching a mirror become water. "Yeah, well, if you aren't back here by New Years', Rainbow and I are going in there with OUR wish to kick your butt back here. Okay?"
[Fe] "Yes ma'am."
[CH] Dash nodded. Also horse huff sound effect.
[Ww] Twilight hugged Sunset, giving her a smile. "We'll miss you," she says. "Hurry back."
[Fe] Sunset Shimmer hugged her tightly, then handed her the journal and quill "I'll borrow Celestia's once I'm settled so you guys know I made it safe, okay?" She smiled again, turning to walk through the portal. "Love you guys. Someone feed Rarity while I'm gone. Make sure to water Fluttershy."
She first stuck a hand through, feeling the cool silver wrap and warp around her limb. And then she felt something on the other side tug her forward. She walked, half tripped, into the portal and was gone.
"Such a graceful walk, Sunny." Pinkie took a step forward and shuddered like a jackhammer. "W-whoa... goosebumps.... "
[CH] Dash was on her feet in a split second. "Sunset?" By the time she reached the portal, it was just a wall of stone. "Something grabbed her! SUNSET!" She thumped the wall, trying to get it to open again or break through or something. Something was decidedly not okay. On the third punch she cried out and stepped back, one hand clutching the other one, limp. She kicked the thing for good measure, her shoe finding only concrete. "Dammit... she's not okay. We gotta help her."
[Ww] Rarity put a hand on Dash's shoulder. "She just tripped, darling. Nothing suspicious about that. If you're truly worried about her, she gave us that notebook to contact her."
[Yu] Fluttershy was immediately at her other side, reaching for Dash's wrist. She was sobbing loudly now. "w-write something?"
[Ww] Twilight looked between Dash and Rarity before opening up the journal.
Tell us when you get there. Hope you're safe.