Bringing a Holiday Miracle for Sunset Shimmer

by The Lunar Rebel

Chapter 1: Miracle in Canterlot

“Brrrrr!” Spike uttered while holding himself tightly. “A-are we c-close to the s-store yet, T-Twilight?”

Since dragons were indeed members of the reptile family, Spike was quite sensitive to the nippy air of Wintertime. Not even the gloves, boots, and brown earmuffs that he had on provided a convenient amount of protection from the cold light breeze and the moderate snowfall that landed on his scales.

“Almost,” Twilight reassured with a small smile as she looked back to check up on Spike who followed just behind her. She wore her basic winter attire which consisted of her yellow hoof boots, her striped dark and light pink scarf, and her blue and white cotton saddle. “At least now I think I have an idea of what I should buy you for Hearth’s Warming Eve tomorrow.”

“Terrific,” Spike said unamused. “Do you k-know what you’re going to g-give our friends, and your f-family?”

Twilight smugly pulled a scroll from a pocket located to one side of her saddle and unraveled it with her magic. As Spike had already guessed--it was a list.

“I have noted some ideas on what everypony wants or needs, but others are just for expressing myself.”

“Just like how I’m expressing h-how much I c-cant stand this w-weather?”

“You could say that,” Twilight replied with a light and friendly chuckle. “But luckily we’re here now so you can warm up.”

“I just hope they have some cocoa,” was Spike’s only response.

When Twilight and Spike entered the store, they were greeted with the warm, conditioned air which quickly embraced them both. No one was more content than Spike who gave a sigh of relief as he felt his scales thaw out. The store was also bustling with activity as well as everypony within the store moved from place to place in hopes of getting their desired gifts for their loved ones.

“Let’s see here,” Twilight said after unraveling her list again. “The first thing here is to get Pinkie Pie some more balloons, and more party favors.”

“But doesn't Pinkie already have enough of those already?” Spike asked with a raised brow. “Matter of fact, I believe her whole attic and closets are full of them.”

“It’s the thought that counts, Spike,” Twilight gently scolded. “I know Pinkie will be delighted to receive them. I can never seem to recall a moment when she wasn't enthusiastic about receiving party supplies last year--or even way before that.”

Spike took a brief moment to process Twilight’s statement.

“Heh. Me neither,” he shrugged.

Twilight smiled.

“C’mon. I want to have this entire list checked off before this afternoon, and before any one of these products are sold out.”

After about what seemed to be nearly an hour, Twilight and Spike left the store with bags of gifts at hoof. Thankfully, Twilight could manage most of the gifts by suspending them in mid-air with her magic. Spike, on the other hoof, carried the rest of the load with both of his claws. Since his front vision was cut off by the stack of gifts, he either had to peek on the left or the right side to see where he was going. A rather inconvenient tactic, but there wasn't much he could do about it.

As Twilight walked down the snow-glistened sidewalks of the streets of Canterlot, she took time to admire the activity of the citizens going about their business. Adult mares and stallions performed various activities whether it be going shopping for gifts and decorations, chatting among themselves, or even taking their young fillies and colts out to play in the snow.

Reflecting back when she was a young filly herself living back here in Canterlot, Twilight now wished she wasn't so wrapped up in her studies so she could get outside and have fun with other young ponies of her age group. She still had her older brother to play with however, but it really didn't count since it seemed more socially healthy to be with actual friends if she even bothered to make any at that time.

Twilight had her regrets, but she knew she had to put the past behind her. Besides, as the saying goes: you’re never too old to still have fun.

What really brought joy to Twilight was the smiles and laughter she saw on everypony’s face as she passed by them. Even Pinkie Pie would approve of it.

However, when Twilight and Spike were clear of the crowds, Twilight noticed a unicorn couple with despaired frowns painted on their faces, sitting on a local street side bench.

The stallion had a light yellow coat with a short mane and tail that was tinted a slightly darker hue of what his coat was, while his eyes were painted a dark shade of gold. The cutie mark he donned was of a full sun with four rays of light illustrated on either side to express a glaring effect.

The mare which was his special somepony or wife had a dark tangerine coat with a maroon red mane that went down a little past her shoulder. Her eyes were a light teal blue, and her cutie mark depicted a rising sun on the horizon.

“Twilight? What’s wrong?” Spike asked a bit concerned, and irritated that Twilight stopped all of the sudden.

“Don’t you see those two ponies over there?” Twilight asked him. “They seem troubled--and on the eve of such a special day as well.”

“I can hardly see anything will all these bags in my face,” Spike grumbled.

Twilight sighed and used her magic to relieve Spike of his baggage, which he of course greatly appreciated.

“Now do you see them?” Twilight asked in a slightly annoyed tone as she gave an indication with her hoof.

Spike glanced toward the direction that Twilight was pointing at. Sure enough, he saw the mopey pair. He didn't however see what the deal was. He just assumed that they weren't successful in getting the gifts they wanted for the holidays.

“Yes, I do now. But don’t you think it’s best if we let them be to their own business? They look as if they don’t want anypony to talk to at the moment.”

“Of course they need somepony to talk to, Spike!” Twilight protested. “Nopony can be miserable before one of the most happiest holidays of the year. I must find a way to help them anyway I can,” she then stated before trotting off towards the couple leaving Spike with the gifts.

“I feel kind of miserable now,” Spike sighed to himself out of Twilight’s earshot. “If only you could help everypony in need at one time.”

This thought brought an amused smirk to Spike’s expression. Of course, he knew that if Twilight performed such a spell to make it happen, it could only end in disaster.

When Twilight approached the couple, they had not yet acknowledged her presence yet... or even for that matter, heard her hoof-steps. Both of their eyes were closed as the stallion rested his head upon his mare as she rested hers on his shoulder. They both were holding each other in an embrace which expressed that they were trying their best to comfort one another. Twilight also noticed that a small tear was beginning to run down one of the mare’s cheeks.

“Um...hello there,” Twilight said as gently as she could, not wishing to startle them.

The couple looked up at Twilight with solemn expressions at first, but they quickly changed into surprise when they noticed that royalty was in their presence. They both then got off the bench and curtsied.

“G-Greetings, Princess Twilight,” the stallion said. “Forgive us for not acknowledging your approach. We did not receive word that you would be in town today.”

“It’s alright," Twilight assured. “But I’m only here to do some shopping. You don’t have to be so formal with me when I’m just doing what everypony else normally does; and know that I was once a normal unicorn like you two.”

“But we must,” the mare insisted. “Word has spread here about your castle back in Ponyville. We just can’t accept your past terms. You are truly somepony of high hierarchy.”

Twilight wanted to keep reassuring them, but somehow she knew that her arguments would be invalid. Also, she caught herself slowly withdrawing from her intention.

“Well. If that’s the case, then I’m grateful for your mannerisms. I haven’t caught your names yet.”

“Midday Glare, Your Highness,” the stallion replied. “And this is my wife, Sunrise Glint.”

“Pleasure to meet you both,” Twilight said, shaking both their hooves. “Now, I wish to ask you both something, but you must pardon me if I’m being too invasive or anything.”

“But we can’t ever do something like that,” Sunrise assured. “If you need to know something, you have every right to know what it is. We always want to know what we can do to help you.”

“Oh, it’s not about me really. It’s what I can do for you.”

The couple looked at Twilight a bit puzzled.

“What do you mean by that, Your Highness?” Midday asked.

“You see,” Twilight began. “I couldn't help but notice that you both seemed a bit down while everypony else here seemed happy, it almost being Hearth’s Warming Eve and all. What I want to know is what’s troubling you both, and what I can do to help.”

The couple looked downcast again.

“Oh, we see,” Sunrise glumly said. “Well, perhaps there is something we can ask you to do--but maybe it’s too much to ask for.”

“Try me,” Twilight stated.

After taking a deep breath, Sunrise looked Twilight directly in the eyes with a mixed expression of sorrow and hope and said, “Can you locate ponies who have been missing for a few years or so?”

Twilight raised a brow in confusion.

“Uhhh,” she uttered.

“No. It’s alright, Your Highness,” Sunrise reassured in a calm tone, but her voice was beginning to falter. “We understand already that it was too much to ask of you, and that we shouldn't exploit your magic for our own needs. We just…..we just,” her voice finally broke out into a choked sob, “...wanted our little girl back!”

Sunrise then grasped her husband and buried her face deep into his chest as she wept with convulsing shoulders, and muffled sobs. Midday could only hold his wife in silence and let her pour out her emotions. Twilight noticed tears were beginning to spill from his own eyes as well, but he maintained a calm and strong composure.

Twilight hesitated for a brief moment to process the situation, and to overcome her self pity for not providing a direct answer. Fortunately, she recovered just soon enough.

“Now, now. Let’s not jump to conclusions here,” Twilight assured. “I really haven’t gotten the full story here about your missing daughter. There might be something I can do if I had some more information.”

“Well you see,” Midday began while still holding Sunrise, who seemed to have calmed down a bit. “Three years ago, our daughter disappeared without a trace. She was a very special filly with so much talent and potential for magic. She was one of very few lucky students who made it into Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. However, she had quite a lot of trouble making friends. Also, she had little tolerance for waiting to get what she wanted. It brought quite a burden on Sunrise and me, and that she fought with us quite a bit. The only time that the three of us seemed the most happy and close, was on Hearth's Warming Eve. Now that it seems she has disappeared off the face of the earth, the holidays mean nothing to us now. We even still have the gifts we were going to give her on the Hearth's Warming before she vanished.”

Twilight was very moved by Midday’s story, but she kept her composure. Twilight didn't realize it yet, but she felt there was some sort of coincidence linked to their missing child.

“I’m really sorry that this has happened to you both, but I’m maintaining my word to help find her. Perhaps if you give me a name, or maybe something I could use for a DNA sample--I could find and perform some kind of locating spell.”

“Thank you, Your Highness,” Sunrise finally said, wiping her eyes dry. “Would you like a name first?”

“That would be fine,” Twilight replied while pulling out a quill and notepad to record details. “Ready when you are.”

“Alright,” Sunrise said. “Our daughter’s name is, Sunset Shimmer.”

Twilight’s eyes went wide with surprise as she gasped while dropping her notepad and quill. This greatly alarmed Sunrise and Midday.

“Your Highness? What’s wrong? Are you alright?” Midday asked.

Twilight immediately snapped out of her shock.

“Yeah. I’m alright. But did I just hear you say, Sunset Shimmer?”

“Yes, Your Highness,” Sunrise confirmed. “But what is it about the name of our daughter that surprised you?”

A look of suspicion then crossed her face.

“Is there something we need to know that hasn't been shared with us in the past about where she could be?”

“I...uh,” Twilight stuttered. She wasn't sure how to explain herself to Sunset’s parents that their own daughter escaped from Equestria, and took residence in an alternate world. Twilight even wondered if Princess Celestia even bothered to inform them of Sunset’s resignation? From what the current situation was, it seemed as if Celestia didn't bother to do so, and it confused and angered Twilight a bit. It wasn't like Celestia to be unfair to her own subjects like that!

“Well?” Midday pressed, snapping Twilight out of her hesitation. “Is there?”

“I,” Twilight began again, but was cut off.

“Please, Your Majesty!” Sunrise pleaded with tears once again flowing. “If you know anything about our little Sunny, please tell us now! Is she alive? Hurt? Lost? Anything! Neither of us can have peace of mind without knowing if she’s alright or not!”

Sunrise began to sob into her husband’s shoulder again. Midday once again embraced her, but kept leering at Twilight to force a direct answer out of her.

Twilight knew now that she could no longer hold anything back; well maybe a few things, like the fact that their own daughter became a power-hungry raging she-demon. She only had to reunite them together, and she had a way how.

“If you both must know, your daughter is perfectly safe--and alive as well,” Twilight assured in the best calming tone she could muster. She didn't exactly have the velvety voice that Celestia was gifted with, but it was still decent enough.

The couple seemed to relax a bit, but Twilight could sense they still didn't have their closure.

“R-really, Your H-Highness?” Sunrise sniffled, looking at Twilight with a mixture of hope and doubt.

“My answer is official,” Twilight confirmed.

“But where is she?” Midday insisted. “You haven’t told us where she is yet.”

“I think it’ll be best if you both come with me to my castle. I’m sure you’ll find all your answers there.”

Midday and Sunrise glanced at Twilight, then at each other with looks of uncertainty. They weren't sure if they should fully trust Twilight, even if she was a princess. But since Twilight showed signs of knowing who their daughter was, they really had no other choice--well, Celestia of course would've been an alternate option, but she would have left Twilight in charge of this mission anyway.

“Alright,” Midday affirmed, nodding his head along with his wife. “We’ll go with you if it means we may have a chance of seeing our little girl again.”

“Good,” Twilight said and lit up her horn to put her gifts; and an unsuspecting Spike to her side.

“Hey! What gives, Twilight?” Spike cried. “You know how I feel when you don’t give a warning when you’re about to use a spell on me.”

“Sorry Spike, but this is kind of urgent,” Twilight excused before turning to face Sunset’s parents. “I’ll teleport us all there. Take mine and each other’s hooves. You can ride on my back, Spike.”

“But what about the gifts?” Spike asked. “I surely can’t touch all of these at once.”

Instead of giving an answer, Twilight lit up her horn and zapped the gifts, which caused them to vanish into thin air.

“They should be back at the castle now,” Twilight assured. “Now c’mon. We have to reunite Sunset Shimmer with her parents.”

Spike gazed at the two unicorns with observative eyes. He frankly didn't see what would cause the daughter of two perfect looking parents to be influenced into a greedy, and impatient pony. He just came to the conclusion that Sunset Shimmer had a mind of her own at that time, and felt like she could do whatever she wanted.

“Alright then,” he finally said and climbed on to Twilight’s back. “Let’s go.”

Twilight nodded and extended one of her fore-hooves towards Sunset’s parents. Sunrise was the first one to make contact with Twilight’s hoof before she used her other to take Midday’s.

Seeing that everypony seemed ready, Twilight closed her eyes as her horn began to channel it’s plum-colored mana. Almost instantaneously, they all vanished in a brief flash of light, leaving behind nothing but prints of where they once stood in the snow, soon to be filled by the continuously falling flakes.

As soon as it began, the flash vanished in an instant and Sunset’s parents found themselves in the warm, and breathtaking interior of Twilight’s castle. The material used on the interior and exterior of the castle seemed to made up of crystals--almost similar to the ones of the Crystal Empire. The big question was how this place was so well insulated from the freezing weather outside.

“Uhh,” Spike moaned, looking a bit queasy. “I think I need a moment,” he stated before running off towards the bathroom. He could never grow accustomed to being teleported.

“Follow me please. This way,” Twilight said, and began leading them to the study room where she kept the mirror to the human world.

Sunset’s parents looked around the room anxiously in hopes of seeing their daughter somewhere within the room.

“Princess Twilight?” Midday asked. “I’m afraid we’re not understanding yet why you brought us to your palace. Is Sunset even here at all?”

“If you’re referring to the palace itself, then no,” Twilight sadly replied while selecting a certain brown book with an illustration of Princess Celestia’s cutie mark on it. “I think it’s about time I tell you now that Sunset is not residing anywhere in Equestria.”

“You mean like...Griffinstone?” Sunrise fretted.

“No, no, no,” Twilight replied shaking her head. “Look, I can’t think of any way of clearly saying this without sounding discombobulated--but your daughter fled to an alternate dimension via this magical mirror,” she explained while pointing to the magical artifact. “The gateway was intended on opening every thirty-moons when it was being held at both Canterlot Castle, then at the Crystal Palace. Now, since Princess Cadance entrusted it to me, I've found a way of opening the portal at will by using this book that used to belong to Princess Celestia as a power conduit. It also acts as a way of sending messages back and forth between the two worlds. The beings that live in this alternate world like to call it texting. There’s also something called a cell phone. I have yet to figure that contraption out.”

Twilight finally finished her explanation with a sheepish grin while Sunrise and Midday just gazed at her with bewilderment.

“We don’t understand, Your Highness,” Sunrise said. “Sunset never seemed to be the type to run away from an issue. She would either come to us, or Celestia. Perhaps there’s been some sort of misunderstanding here.”

“I wish I could explain everything to both of you, and I want to; but it’s not my business to go ratting on about somepony’s hidden problems. I’m only a monarch of friendship, not tattling.

“But,” Midday protested.

“No,” Twilight interrupted while flipping to an available writing space in the book, and retrieving a quill from her desktop. “Just let me handle this, alright? I’m going to write a message to Sunset right now. I can’t guarantee an immediate reply because she’s probably busy with school and her friends, which of course happen to be the alternate versions of my own friends here in Ponyville. Just trust me on this, okay? I swear by my oaths that I won’t let you be disappointed.”

Sunrise and Midday were once again hesitant for a moment because they thought that Princess Twilight was a bit delusional and holding many things back from them that they needed to know. Leaving home without saying a word? Alternate worlds? Portals? Strange technology? It all sounded like complete nonsense to the Shimmers.

“Alright Princess Twilight,” Midday said gently. “We’ll let you do whatever needs to be done for us to reunite with our daughter. But I hope that you’re not playing some sort of mind-game with us. If you are, we’ll be sure to let Celestia know of your misleading intentions.”

Twilight only gave a nervous gulp before she dipped the quill in the ink bowl, and began to write down her message in hopes of being retrieved in a reliable amount of time.

Sugarcube Corner, The Human World

“So what are your guy’s Christmas Day plans for tomorrow with your families?” Pinkie Pie asked with her usual giddy tone.

“Well, it’s super obvious that we’re going to exchange gifts with one another,” Rainbow Dash smugly replied while spinning a hockey puck on a single finger. “I just hope I got that new hockey stick that I asked for. I just know it’s going to be a rough season this year, and my team needs a captain who is up to date when it comes to new equipment.”

“Don’t ya have enough of them sticks, Rainbow?” Applejack asked. “Ah mean, ya seem tah ask yer parents fer a new one every single year. Ah jus’ wanna know how come yer house isn't filled to the brim with ‘em? Matter of fact, we never even see ‘em around when we’re over at yer house.”

Rainbow rubbed the back of her head, looking a bit sheepish.

“Uh. I can explain that really,” she said. “All I can say is that hockey is a bit of a frustrating sport.”

“A, bit?” Applejack implied with a furrowed brow.

“Okay. A lot; but surely you all understand what it’s like to deal with heavy stress--and losing when you have the intention of winning.”

“No offense, darling, but you really haven’t learned the means of showing good sportsmanship for as long as we’ve known you,” Rarity stated. “You even nearly hospitalized someone after a tennis tournament.”

“Hey if you ask me, Tennis Match was getting a little too much of a big head. I was just giving her a friendly reminder to not get so cocky.”

“Um. I wouldn't call hurling a tennis racket at someone's knee cap, friendly,” Fluttershy gently said.

“Can we please just get back to the subject of holiday plans? I really don’t need to take a trip down Guilt Lane on Christmas Eve,” Rainbow grumbled.

“Don’t worry, Rainbow. I know how you feel,” Sunset Shimmer reassured with a small smile. “I can almost relate to what you’re going though.”

“Now, Sunset. Remember you agreed to no more self pity,” Rarity scolded. “Especially when it’s almost one of the most wonderful times of the year.”

“I’m sorry,” Sunset apologized while crossing her arms to express obvious discomfort. “I guess I've traumatized myself. I just can never seem to get over all the people and ponies I've hurt in the past. It’s just so difficult for me to let it all go, even if things are now looking up.”

“It’s alright, Sunset,” Fluttershy assured while placing a hand on Sunset’s shoulders. “You’re still healing. I've cared for injured creatures that took many months--- even a year or so before they were fully recovered.”

“But there were scars, right?” Sunset dimly asked.

Fluttershy shrunk back a bit and said, “Well, yeah. But they didn't happen all the time.”

“Look, girls,” Sunset sighed. “I’m grateful for what you've all done for me to make me a better person. You saved me from myself, gave me friendship, and let me join your band which really gave me a place in the group. But there are still some parts of me that are still broke and empty, and I don’t think friendship alone can find a way to fix or fill those parts.”

“Of course it can, sugarcube,” Applejack stated, even though she wasn't exactly sure with her herself. “We jus’ have tah be patient. Somethin’ might come up eventually.”

“I don’t think we should wait, Applejack,” Rarity protested while shaking her head before turning to Sunset. "Surely there’s something that you could share with us that could help us make you feel way more better about yourself, and to truly show how much we all really care for you.”

Sunset looked up and read the faces of each of her friends to check for any signs of true sincerity. When it seemed like all faces passed a successful inspection, Sunset finally decided to give in.

“Perhaps there is something that could be done, but it seems like kind of a long-shot--but not impossible. I hope.”

“Well, what is it?” Rainbow asked. “We can’t let you down, no matter what the conditions are.”

“It’s nothing that difficult at all really,” Sunset assured. “We all know that Twilight has found a way of activating the portal at will. So that’s one step done already.”

The girls exchanged glances of what seemed to be of a mutual understanding--and Applejack was the first to say it aloud.

“It’s somethin’ about making amends with Princess Celestia back in Equestria, aint it?”

“That too,” was Sunset’s only reply. Her lip began to quiver and she felt moisture beginning to well up behind her eyes.

“Then what is the main thing?” Rarity pressed. “Please just tell us the point of all this, if you can. I speak for all of us when I say that we can’t take much more of these trifles you’re giving us.”

“I miss my parents, okay?” Sunset finally, but tearfully spat, startling the friends and drawing ear-shotted onlookers within the coffee shop. “Of all the time I've been in this world, I was stupid enough to let the memories of them slip my mind while I only focused on myself. It wasn't until you guys used the Elements on me that my memories of them slowly began returning--and that I was actually starting to care for them as I always should’ve done. Hearth’s Warming Eve is when we seemed to be close, but any day after or before that wasn't all that great. Now that I know I can be a good person or pony, I can feel nothing but regret and homesickness for missing three Hearth’s Warming Eves and birthdays.”

Sunset then cupped her hands over her eyes and started to cry . She should’ve felt a bit embarrassed because she was creating a public episode, but she didn't care because the emotional pain of missing three years of her life in Equestria was too much for her to take.

With her friends now embracing her, she had the free will to release a portion of that pain. The remainder of it would be satisfied if she even had the chance to see her parents again in person.

When Sunset managed to calm down, the friends gently released her in order to get herself back together.

“I’m so sorry,” Rarity apologized with misty eyes of her own. “I shouldn't have been so forceful on you like that.”

“No, no. It’s fine, Rarity. You were right when I wasn't giving good enough details; and it was true I was holding back on all of you. Plus, I really needed a good cry anyway,” Sunset reassured with a light chuckle. The others followed suit.

Sunset then reverted back to a solemn glance.

“I only wish for some kind of miracle to happen for this Christmas. Not like I've always believed in them before, but one would be nice about now.”

As soon as Sunset finished that statement, the girls noticed Sunset’s entire backpack beginning to vibrate and ring, which could only mean one thing.

“Looks as if Twilight has somethin’ tah share with us--or most likely you,” Applejack stated.

“Yeah, but I wonder what?” Sunset asked while unzipping her backpack to fish out her old journal with the illustration of her cutie mark on the front. “I don’t remember asking her for any friendship advice earlier.”

“Maybe she’s just checking up on you,” Rainbow guessed. “Kind of overbearing if you ask me though.”

“Hush, Dash,” Applejack scolded as Sunset opened to a recent page with Twilight’s writing. What it read made everyone’s eyes grow wide. Sunset however emitted an audible gasp, and she heard her own heart begin to beat in her ears.

Dear, Sunset Shimmer

I know that this may seem out of the blue, but do you have parents by the names of Sunrise Glint and Midday Glare? They claim that you’re their missing daughter. If so, just tell me what you want me to do. They’re currently with me at my castle as I write this letter to you.

Get back to me whenever you can.

Sincerely your friend and teacher, Princess Twilight Sparkle

For a brief moment, no one moved a muscle or said anything.

“We’ll Ah’ll be damned,” Applejack cussed. “Ah never thought miracles happened that fast. But at least it is one you've been askin’ for, Sunset.”

“B-But how can this be possible?” Sunset stuttered. “How did she even find them in the first place?”

“Well. Are the names that Twilight gave you the same one’s your parents had?” Rarity asked, raising a brow.

“Yes, but..”

“But nothing!” Rainbow excitedly exclaimed, and once again eagerly presented Sunset with her pen. “Write her back already. You can’t blow this chance now while you've still got it!”

“I agree with Rainbow, dear. This could be the only way of finding the closure you desire,” Rarity stated.

“I’m just thinking of the reunion party I’m going to throw you both!” Pinkie squeed.

“It would be good for you,” Fluttershy said.

Sunset took a moment of hesitation as she thought about all the possible outcomes, both positive and negative when she reunites her parents once again. Finally, her decision was made... but she hoped it will work out alright.

“Okay, I’ll do it,” Sunset stated and took Rainbow’s pen.

“That a girl,” Applejack praised. The rest of the friends joined in on the encouragement.

Taking a deep breath, Sunset began to write her reply with both excitement, and anxiety.

Time ticked by in an awkward silence as Twilight awaited a reply.

Twilight didn't really plan out what she was going to do to pass the time, and she was too distracted by the ever growing intimidation of Sunset’s parents to think of anything.

Before things got even more uncomfortable, Celestia’s journal finally began glowing and vibrating. Soon enough, Twilight and Sunset’s parents crowded around the book.

When Twilight opened to the page of her message to Sunset, she noticed the reply written directly below hers that read:

Dear, Twilight Sparkle.

I got your message just now here at Sugarcube Corner. I’m currently hanging out with the girls now as they discuss holiday plans.

On the question about if Midday Glare and Sunrise Glint are my parents; my answer is yes. You have no idea what’s been like for me when I realized how much I truly miss them, as they possibly miss me.

What I think might be a good idea is to bring them here. I don’t know if I’m ready to go back to Equestria just yet, even if I do miss living there. Believe me, I’ll let you know when I’m good and ready; or frankly you may just have to come here yourself to drag me through the portal, lol (that means laughing out loud.)

Anyway. Listen mom and dad, if you are reading this with Twilight; I’m sorry for running away from home and abandoning my studies with Celestia. Yes, it’s true encase you haven’t known. I’m assuming Celestia didn't wish to alarm you both about me escaping into an alternate world.

I wish I could explain everything, but I’ll be running out of page soon, so I suggest you come here to where I am so we can hopefully work this out. I should tell you you’ll feel a bit weird at first, because you’ll be walking on your two back legs, and that your forehooves will be transformed into five fingered appendages which are called hands. Your coats will be sheared as well, along with your manes becoming fuller and longer. It will make sense if you actually experience it.

Trust Twilight, okay? She will hopefully go with you to show you the ropes. I highly suggest though that you bundle up. If it’s cold and snowing there, then it’s the same here. Since none of you will have your coats, I’m going to send one of my friends to come and pick you up in her car. Again, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

I hope to see you soon, and I really miss you both.

Sincerely, Sunset Shimmer.

When Sunset’s parents finished reading the letter, they both found out that tears of joy were running down their cheeks. They knew their own daughter’s writing when they saw it.

“Oh, Midday!” Sunrise joyfully sobbed into her husband’s shoulder. “It really is her!”

“Thank you, Your Highness,” Midday said while trying to suppress cries of his own. “We’re sorry for ever doubting you in the first place.”

“It’s okay, really,” Twilight said with a reassuring smile. “Do you wish for me to set the portal up?”

“Yes, please. We want to see her as soon as possible, and this fascinating world that she has resided in. All if it sounds rather intriguing,” Sunrise said.

“Alright, just let me send a message back to Sunset, and then I’ll be right with you,” Twilight said.

Sunset’s parents gave a nod in response and Twilight got to writing back her reply on confirmation.

Dear, Sunset Shimmer

Your parents have agreed to come with me through the portal. I think our best meeting place will be over at Pinkie Pie’s house, if that’s okay with her. I suggest that someone should go and pick us up in front of the school so Sunset’s parents won’t be exposed to the cold air without their natural coats.

You all best be heading there as soon as you can.

Your’s truly, Princess Twilight Sparkle.

“I’ll go and pick up Twilight,” Rarity offered while slipping on her bejeweled dark silver coat and earmuffs. She then turned to Pinkie Pie. “Look like here’s your opportunity for throwing Sunset a reunion party, dear.”

“I’m on it!” Pinkie exclaimed with her winter attire already on in the blink of an eye. She was already out the door before anyone could ask any questions.

“Ya goin’ tah be alright?” Applejack asked Sunset while placing a comfortable hand Sunset's shoulder.

“I think so,” Sunset assured with a small smile. “At least I know that you girls will be there with me for moral support.”

“It’s what friends are for, sugarcube,” Applejack stated with a comforting smile. “Now let’s get a move on, y’all. We have a family reunion to do.”

The girls agreed and quickly got on their own winter coats before heading out.

“I’ll just let Twilight know that we’re on our way now,” Sunset said.


Moments later, Sunset and the three friends arrived at Pinkie’s house. Rainbow then took the liberty upon herself to ring the doorbell.

Within seconds, the door swung open and Pinkie Pie greeted them with a wide toothy grin. Behind her, the girls could see the interior of her house fully decorated within a brief moment of time that seemed impossible to accomplish. The friends could never figure out how Pinkie could decorate so fast, but they decided to leave it as a mystery that could not be solved.

“Sooo! What do you think?” Pinkie asked.

“Everything looks great, Pinkie,” Sunset replied. “My mom and dad would surely feel welcome here when they see this.” She needed to be as sincere as she could to make up for all the times she insulted the party girl’s taste in decor.

“Aw thanks, Shimmy,” Pinkie said with a small blush. “I’ll get us all some snacks and beverages while we wait for Rarity!”

As minutes ticked by, Sunset and the others waited in silenced anticipation before they would hear the awaited knock at the door. The friends were feeling mostly excited while Sunset, on the other hand was a bit uneasy. Fluttershy was keen enough to notice this.

“Are you okay, Sunset?” she asked.

“Yes. No. I’m not sure at all,” Sunset rambled uncontrollably.

“Easy, girl,” Applejack cooed. “Ya have the right tah be a bit nervous, but it seems tah me that you’re a little too nervous. What’s the matter, sugarcube?”

“What if Twilight told them already about me tormenting the beings of this world, and me becoming a thief before turning into a demon?” Sunset fretted. “They may never look at me the same way again. Maybe not even love me anymore.”

“Don’t say that about yourself,” Rainbow said. “I’m sure Twilight would never even call you out like that. I mean being a Princess of Friendship and all, she should already know how to not be a tattle tale.”

“And that you is long gone now,” Applejack added. “Ah’m sure if ya show them the new you, they won’t have a reason fer disownin’ ya or anythin’.”

“I hope you're right,” Sunset said holding herself like a frightened child.

The friends were about to go over to Sunset to give her more comfort, but were stopped suddenly when they heard the expected knocking on the door.

“They’re heeere,” Pinkie sung in a gleeful, yet semi-creepy tone. “And not the TV people if that’s what any of you were thinking. Frankly, I think they should be called the mirror people,” she randomly rambled on.

Sunset held herself tighter.

Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Applejack were the ones that went over to comfort and reassure Sunset while Pinkie went to the door and opened it up.

The first one to step in was Rarity.

“Sorry it took me a while. I wanted to give our special guests some winter attire, so we stopped by at my mansion for a bit before we came here.”

“I told her she didn't have to,” Twilight said who stood just behind Rarity. “But I agreed to it. Plus it gave them some more time to adjust to their new bodies.”

“Well we’re glad that you came anyway. Please come in. Just make sure to hang up your coats and wipe your feet,” Pinkie said cheerfully.

Rarity and Twilight nodded and stepped right in. Twilight then turned her head behind her and said, “It’s alright. You can come in as well.”

Sunset looked up in time to see a young couple who appeared to be in their late thirties or early forties. The man was wearing a dark red and black diamond patterned flannel cut-off vest with a white t-shirt, which he all wore under his opened winter coat. A single black tie was visible as well. His skin tone was almost the same as Fluttershy’s light, buttery crèam hue.

The woman had the exact same skin tone and eye color as Sunset. Her hair color even matched Sunset’s red streaks perfectly, even through the length of her hair was a fourth shorter than Sunset’s waist-length locks. She was wearing a well knitted dark tangerine sweater with light blue clad pants that showed off her calf muscles.

As soon as Sunset and her parents made eye contact with each other, the room fell into an uncomfortable silence for a moment as the Shimmers took time to read each other’s emotions, or even their thoughts if possible--which of course was impossible because neither of them could perform any kind of spell to grant that ability.

Finally, Sunrise was the one to break the silence.

“Is it really you, Sunny?” she gently asked.

Sunset blushed slightly and gave a nervous chuckle and smile.

“Normally, I would tell you off for giving me that silly nickname. But you know what--- I've never been happier to hear it once again.”

Sunrise immediately teared up and cried, “It really is our little filly, Midday! And just look how much she’s grown up!”

“We've missed you so much, sweetheart,” Midday said with held back sobs of joy. “How about you give both your mother and me a hug? I can’t even remember the last time we have embraced you at all.”

Despite it being an embarrassing scenario, Sunset wasn't hesitant to get up from her seat and beginning to make her way across the room with open arms. But then, she suddenly stopped... and closed herself off with a look of shame in her eyes.

“Sunset? What’s the matter?” Midday asked in confusion. “Aren't you happy to see us?”

“Well of course I am,” Sunset replied with sincerity. “It’s just that….that.”

“Tell us when you feel ready, dear,” Sunrise assured.

Sunset looked around at each of her friends looking for anyone that looked willing to help her out with an explanation. Unfortunately, they each gave her a sympathetic look that clearly expressed that it wasn't their place to have any say in the matter. When she looked at Twilight however, she saw that Twilight was wordlessly nodding her head as if she knew what was on Sunset’s mind.

Gulping and taking a breath, Sunset faced her parents directly and said, “I think it’s about time you both learned the truth of why I ran away from home, and settled in this world before we have our moment of reunion-ship.”

Sunset’s parents looked at one another with concerned glances before focusing their gaze back on their daughter.

“Please tell us everything, sweetie,” Sunrise said. “Don’t leave anything out either.”

Sunset just nodded and took an even deeper breath before she began speaking again.

“The reason I abandoned my studies and left Canterlot and Equestria was because I knew that Princess Celestia was not going to take me under her wing as a princess-in-training. She even told it straight to my face. When I tried to get through to her by telling her all of her flaws, implying that she wasn’t a perfect princess as everypony thought she was; she kicked me out of the castle, saying that I was no longer her student. It really hurt me the most when she said “I'm sorry, Sunset. But if you can't accept friendship as the source of all the magic of our land, then I'm afraid you can't be my student anymore. You can still remain in the castle, but keep in mind that I'm no longer able to be your mentor.”

"It’s true that I didn't believe that friendship was the source of all magic, so I just pushed everypony away--even you guys.”

Sunset felt tears beginning to well up in her eyes now.

“Sometime after my argument with Celestia, I teleported myself back into the castle where a magical mirror was held. Since nopony, or Celestia, seems to go in that room: I decided to step in and see where the mirror led me; which was of course this world. It may have lacked magic, but I thought this place was perfect to start a new life without a care at all.”

Sunset’s bottom lip began to quiver, and the tears that have been building up in her eyes began to leak down her face.

“I then began to torment and bully the beings of this world in order to get what I wanted, when I wanted it. The feelings I got from those selfish actions gave me the wrong kind of confidence, which eventually led to my full corruption.”

Sunset’s voice was beginning to crack now.

“Two and a half years later when I knew the portal was going to be open again, I temporarily came back to Equestria to see what has changed. I was quite baffled as to why the mirror was in a different location, and even more surprised that the Crystal Empire had returned after being lost for nearly a thousand years. Anyway, when I overheard that a princess that bore the elusive Element of Magic was coming to the empire, and where she would be staying at the Crystal Palace, I returned here to this world, made a false copy of Twilight’s crown, then went back when I knew that everypony would be in their beds.”

Sunset’s speech was now broken and choked with escaping sobs. This was the climax of her breaking point now.

“W-When I finally g-got *hic* the c-crown on. I t-turned *hic* into a h-horrible *hic* demon m-monster, a-and I almost k-killed *hic* T-Twilight and her *hic* f-friends!”

Sunset finally collapsed onto both of her knees and bent herself forward so her head was bowing as she covered her eyes with her hands. She began to wail helplessly as her friends and parents only looked on without knowing what to do.

“I’m so sorry!” she managed to squeak out. “Y-You have *hic* every right t-to *hic* hate me! I've been a terrible d-*hic* daughter to the both of you! N-Neither of you should d-deserve *hic* a bad p-pony like me!”

At that statement, Sunset’s parents immediately went over to her and brought her into a tight but comforting embrace.

“That’s not true, Sunny!” Sunrise cried. “We don’t hate you! We can’t! That would make us horrible parents!”

“We love you unconditionally, sweet pea,” Midday added. “Even if you never wanted to be that close to us, we still loved you no matter what.”

“But…” Sunset whimpered.

“No,” Sunrise interrupted. “No more words or protests. We don’t hate you, Sunset, and we never will. Everypony will do something that they’ll regret, but it never stops them from getting better by learning from it. Since you have these six special girls who gave you a second chance and gave you their friendship, then you already proved to us that you have gotten better--and for that, we’re very proud of you.”

“And to let you know that to us; you are a princess,” Midday stated. “I even called you that when you were still a little foal. Also, it was your very first word.”

Sunset let out a warm-hearted chuckle that was still mixed with a choked sob, but she was starting to feel better from the sincere reassurance she was receiving.

“I always pronounced it as ‘pewncess’ though, didn't I?” she asked as she sniffed and began drying her eyes with her sleeves. Rarity was thoughtful enough to hand her a box of tissues.

Sunset noticed that her black mascara was running down her alabaster face which indicated that Rarity recently got emotional by the entire scene. The rest of the girls got teary eyed as well. Rainbow was trying to hold her composure, but she could not stop a single tear from leaving her eyes.

“Sort of like that, yeah,” Midday said smiling. “I’m glad you still remember me saying that to you when you first asked me when you finally learned how to talk.”

“I have to admit I surprised myself, but I’m glad I didn't forget any of it. What matters now is that you’re here with me. If it’s okay, will you stay with me and my friends here for Christmas Day tomorrow?” Sunset asked.

“Huh?” both Sunrise and Midday said at the same time with cocked heads.

“It’s what they call Hearth’s Warming Eve here. I know it doesn't make a whole lot of sense at first, believe me. But it’s celebrated the exact same way,” Sunset explained.

“Oh,” Sunset’s parents said again in unison.

“So can you?” Sunset asked with hopeful eyes.

“Well….perhaps we could,” Sunrise said, sounding a bit unsure of herself.

“Oh thank you!” Sunset squeed.

“But where would we stay though?” Midday asked. “We really don’t wish to be a burden on anyone.”

“Nonsense!” Rarity interjected, startling everyone. “Oops, sorry. What I meant to say was that my family’s mansion has one extra bedroom for two occupants. You can spend the night there. Besides, we don’t really get any visitors from other worlds there. We all are a generous bunch you know.”

Sunset’s parents took a moment to decide whether or not to accept Rarity’s offer.

“Alright, we accept your invite, Ms. Rarity,” Sunrise said. “You were quite nice enough to pick us up and give us these very interesting pieces of clothing after all.”

“Splendid!” Rarity cheered. “I’ll begin making preparations at once.”

“But what about the gifts we left behind back in our world?” Midday asked his wife.

“You have gifts for me?” Sunset asked, looking a bit surprised and touched.

“Why of course, dear,” Sunrise assured. “We have been holding on to them all these years, so forgive us if they seem a bit, outdated.”

“I don’t care,” Sunset confirmed. “I need that time to fill in anyway. Even if it means I have to act younger than my age.”

Everyone in the room shared a laugh that seemed to brighten up the room even more.

“If you want, I’ll go back to Equestria and retrieve your gifts before I bring them back here,” Twilight offered. “I’ll just need your address, that’s all.”

“That would be wonderful, Your Majesty,” Midday said.

“Aren't ya gonna stay the night as well, Twi?” Applejack asked. “It would be a darn tootin good time if you were here fer the holidays?”

Twilight looked disappointed which already prepared them for her answer.

“I’m sorry, girls. But I sort of already made plans for my other friends back in Equestria. I was already done with my shopping when I came across Sunset’s parents.”

“Oh. Well that’s cool really,” Rainbow assured with her best act of sincerity, but it really didn't pay off.

“There’s always next year, so it’s okay,” Fluttershy said.

“All I have to say is, bummer,” Pinkie shrugged.

“Hold on now. Don’t let yourselves think I’m going to miss your entire Christmas Day,” Twilight assured. “I still want to know more about this world’s cultures and festivities as I possibly can. I believe I can work something out back home. My friends and family would kindly give me some available time to be here whenever I can. I’ll be sure to send in a notification to let you know when I’ll be arriving, and for how long I can stay.”

“That sounds pretty fair to me, darling,” Rarity said while giving an approving nod. “Good luck.”

Twilight just nodded and headed her way out the door.

When Twilight was gone, Sunset and her parents decided to seat themselves properly down on the sofa together. They then decided to snuggle up with Sunset positioned in the center. The rest of her friends just smiled at the heart warming sight and offered them anything to eat or drink, which they humbly accepted, of course.

Sunset’s parents were more than eager to try out this worlds new kind of foods. Eggnog was one of the titles that fascinated both of them the most. Hopefully their new bodies were not lactose intolerant.

“This is going to be the best holiday I have ever had with both of you, and the girls,” Sunset said, sounding a bit drowsy. The drama from earlier surprisingly exhausted her--- and from the looks of it, her parents too.

“Glad we could be here with you for it,” Midday gently said as he and Sunrise gently stroked Sunset’s hair from her scalp to her neck. This action of affection lulled Sunset to close her eyes and drift off into a peaceful and relaxing sleep.

Fluttershy gave Mr. and Mrs. Shimmer a pillow and a blanket to put over Sunset who barely stirred when both objects were put in their respective places.

When they got Sunset good and comfortable, they could see a smile forming on her mouth. Sunset then took a breath before she uttered a content and adorable pony whinny which everyone within the room could hear.

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