King Of The Stingers

by forbloodysummer

Chapter 1: Epilogue

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Sunset Shimmer stepped off the bus, smiling as her boots hit the sidewalk outside CHS. However good the company, the bus ride had been long, and being able to stretch her legs again was a welcome relief. She followed Fluttershy off to one side, where Pinkie Pie and Rarity were already standing, the other students who’d been at Camp Everfree gathering in dribs and drabs nearby on the school front lawn. As she and Fluttershy drew level with their friends, an exuberant cry was heard from behind them, in the familiar voice of Rainbow Dash.

“That was an awesome summer!” she exclaimed as she too stepped down from the bus, Applejack right behind her, both heading straight towards Sunset and the other Rainbooms. Nods and smiles greeted her assessment.

“I’m kinda sad now that it’s all done, though,” she finished, eyes downcast.

“Ah know what ya mean,” Applejack agreed as she and Rainbow arrived next to Sunset, all six of them standing in a rough circle.

“It doesn’t have to end just yet, silly,” Pinkie chirpily chipped in.

“Indeed, the night is still young, darling,” Rarity concurred, “the afternoon, even.”

Rainbow perked up again at that, and Applejack clapped her on the shoulder.

“Ah know we already dropped Twilight off an’ all, on account a’ the bus goin’ right near her house, but the rest of us ‘re still here, we could hang out someplace for a while before headin’ home?”

Just as before, nods and smiles abounded between the six friends. Sunset hefted her bag on her shoulder, shifting its weight.

“Sugarcube corner?” she suggested. “I could use a walk to stretch my legs.”

“That would be lovely,” she heard Fluttershy respond beside her, almost drowned out by the others’ voicing their own approval, and the group as a whole set off in that direction, turning behind them to wave goodbye to their classmates.

They headed down the sidewalk towards town, all still wearing their Camp Everfree outfits, and lugging with them their heavy bags containing the rest of their clothes.

“Ya know,” Applejack said, glancing down at the logo on her polo shirt, “ah’m gonna miss that place.”

“It was rather spectacular, wasn’t it?” Rarity agreed, “the scenery was undisturbed, and the lake was so blue.”

“And wherever you went you were surrounded by nature,” Fluttershy added, “going to sleep in the forest each night, just like all the animals there.”

“And the stars!” Rarity gasped, remembering. “No light pollution, just an endless canvas of dark sky, and tiny pinpricks of light beyond count, impossibly far away.” She sighed happily. “It really was simply divine.”

For a minute, all six friends stayed quiet, thinking back to the magical nights they had had. ‘Magical’ was a term that Sunset often used when growing up as an accurate scientific descriptor, and so had always been hesitant to deploy it as a poetic adjective, but it certainly fit the bill here. The great, hazy silver bar across the sky, which she knew to be billions upon billions of stars, most too faint to see, was something she’d never witnessed from within Canterlot’s urban expanse; it had surprised her to find how moving it had been.

After a period of walking in silence, Rainbow brought the group out of their pleasant reverie.

“It just sucks that we have to go back to school next week,” she groaned.

“Had to go ‘n’ bring that up, didn’cha?” Applejack glared.

“I can’t help it, ok?” Rainbow shot back, “I don’t want the summer to end, but term time is looming right in front of us.”

Rarity pinched the bridge of her nose as she walked next to Sunset, turning to look back at Rainbow behind her.

“You know, darling, mentioning school starting again soon isn’t exactly the best way to make summer feel unending.”

Sunset looked back too, to see Rainbow Dash throw up her arms in frustration, but not make a vocal response other than annoyed noises.

“I like school,” Sunset said quietly.

Most of their reactions were predictable. Rainbow’s was the most dramatic, her jaw dropping open. Applejack raised an eyebrow in amusement and disbelief, Rarity looked inquisitive, and Fluttershy gave her a smile, though most of her face was hidden behind her hair. Pinkie Pie grinned and threw her arms around Sunset.

“Me too!” she cheered, “it’s full of all my favourite people!”

She then stopped dead, and her eyebrows dropped into a frown.

“I’m not so keen on the homework, though.”

“I’m not either,” Sunset laughed as they started walking again, “but that’s just it, Pinkie. I get to see you guys, day in, day out. I don’t want that to end.”

“But if we didn’t go to school, we could still just, you know, hang out together anyway,” Rainbow suggested, as if it hadn’t occurred to the rest of them.

“I don’t know if I could handle that,” Fluttershy said quietly, walking the other side of Sunset to Rarity. Fluttershy was in danger of retreating behind her hair again, so Sunset looked at her in askance and put a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

“S-Some days it takes a lot of courage for me to see people, even my friends,” Fluttershy admitted, almost in a whisper. “Some days I don’t have the energy at all. A-and on those days school can be horrible, but seeing you guys always cheers me up, and if we didn’t have to go to school, I wouldn’t get that kind of support.”

Nobody quite knew how to follow that, and so all six were quiet for a few moments.

“I will miss the forest,” Sunset spoke up, “but I do like it here.”

“Yeah; it’s not quite the same, though, is it?” Rainbow drawled from behind her.

Sunset slowed and stopped, the others noticing and coming to a halt around her. They were pretty much outside Sugarcube Corner anyway. She turned to her friends, who formed into a circle again.

“Everyone loves going away on holiday, sure,” she said softly, her gaze on the floor, “but I really like coming home.” She lifted her eyes to flit between each of theirs in turn. “I like it here. I like it more than I can tell you. In fact,” she grinned at them, “I gave up magical pony land to live here.”

Her friends watched her, unspeaking, unmoving, perhaps unblinking.

“This place,” she held her arms out, gesturing to the city around her, “is my home, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be.” She then gave each of them a warm smile, which seemed to break their motionless spell, for she received five in return. “And no one I’d rather be with.”

And with that, she turned, raised a hand to the glass door of Sugarcube Corner, pushed it open and led them inside.

Author's Notes:

I'm not trying to make some big statement with Fluttershy's anxiety, nor do I have any idea what being forced to interact with people in school must be like for those actually with such a condition. It just struck me that someone as shy as her might have days when she felt unable to face people at all, and that left to her own devices she'd probably see her friends quite a bit less, though never because she didn't like them.

I realised when I started this that it would be my first time writing for Sunset. I only realised halfway through that it was also my first time writing for the rest of the Mane Six. Between "That was awesome!" "Silly!" "Darling!" and Applejack's accent, I think I hit all the clichés in their opening lines save for Fluttershy's traditional "I mean, if you don't mind."

Anyway, this was a chapter intended solely to lead up to the next scene, and so would be way too long for an actual Equestria Girls film stinger, but it could always be the final scene of the movie, then followed by the credits, after which would come with the next chapter, the stinger itself.

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