The Little Pony Legend
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Once upon a time, in a magical land called Equestria, 6 ponies were about to be devastated by the Windigos. But in a moment of true love, 3 of them accepted each other despite their differences, and in doing so, destroyed the windigos and saved their land.
Meanwhile, in another dimension, on a planet called Earth, 2 ponies and a man named Wan accidentally allowed Vaatu the spirit of Darkness to escape. In doing so, they almost caused the end of their world. However, unwilling to let the spirit of light lose for their mistakes, they journeyed far and wide to gain power to stop Vaatu when the time came for battle. In the end, Raava the light spirit needed to bond with Wan's spirit to ensure they would win the battle, and in doing so, created the avatar spirit. But with their victory, magic transformed all 3 into great heroes to maintain peace and harmony in their worlds.
So it was that these stories of redemption became ingrained into these worlds history, though not all would remember them. But they would be far from the last.
On Earth, there would be the legend of a prince who spoke up against the senseless slaughter of troops and was punished for his honor. He wandered long, and tried to earn back his father's favor by trying to destroy hope for his world once and for all. But in the end, Zuko saw with new eyes the truth about his life and his home, and returned home a redeemer. He then led his nation to new heights of glory by sharing in friendship rather than war, working alongside his friends.
In the same time, there was the tale of the avatar that vanished for 100 years. He became stuck in ice for so long, only waking up to a world in crisis. But Aang would not allow his world to fall to destruction, and with the help of many allies and his own team, fought to correct the mistake of disappearing for so long. Eventually he acted in justice and principle, removing the fire lord's bending and ending the war.
In Equestria, there were many tales of beings who began to work for their past misdeeds. Of a spirit of Chaos who eventually saw the value of friendship. Of an Alicorn who fell to darkness but who rose again to serve her ponies with love and care.
And then destiny intervened and everything began to change. For these two worlds came back together, and in doing so, redemption began to be seen far and wide.
This is a story of many things. Of forgiveness earned and forgiveness given. Of demons defeated and of hard truths accepted. It's a story that spans from the beginning of a new life to the affirmation of a God.
And it starts with a homecoming, and a tea party.
Prologue 1: Sunset comes Home
Canterlot High, 3 weeks after the Friendship Games
Sunset Shimmer looked at herself in the mirror. Gently running her orange hands through the red and yellow streaks in her hair, and then straightening her blue dress, thinking about what was to come. Part of her felt she was fretting way too much about what was to come. But then that other part of her suddenly flared up again as she remembered exactly what she'd done before.
It wasn't so much that she was going back to Equestria for the first time since she stole Twilight Sparkle's (the alicorn Twilight Sparkle's) crown. It was more that she had begun to realize that this was finally her chance to make up with Celestia (alicorn celestia she kept reminding herself) after all this time. And that made her more nervous than she'd been in a while.
She thought back to the last time she'd spoken with Celestia.
Sunset scowled at the Alicorn standing between her and her destiny, pointing at the forbidden book she had been researching from. "That book there says I could become as powerful as an alicorn princess. I could rule here. It's selfish of you to keep me from my rightful place! I deserve to stand beside you and be your equal…if not your better. And after what I saw in that mirror, I know it's my destiny to do this. Make me a Princess!"
Princess Celestia meanwhile was looking at Sunset with a firm expression. She finally saw the truth laid bare before her: Sunset would never be ready. Never be the new element of magic she was hoping she would be. Internally, she thought, 'Oh Leilani. Why aren't you here now to provide me with the hooves to do what is necessary? I thought for sure she was one of the ponies the prophecy spoke of. I guess I was wrong about others again..' Then she gave her reply to Sunset.
"No. Being a princess must be earned... I have been trying to teach you everything you need to know, but you've turned from it. Every time you say you "deserve" to get something without the effort just proves to me that you are not ready."
Celestia briefly closed her eyes. And when she opened them, they were filled with regret and anger. "Sunset Shimmer, I am removing you from the position of my pupil, and banish you from Canterlot Castle until you understand the true values of humility and friendship. Guards!" And she turned to the 2 guards next to her. "Escort her from this castle."
The two guards firmly stepped forward, moving Sunset out of the room. But before exiting, Sunset turned to shoot a hateful look at Celestia and snarled, "This is the biggest mistake you'll make in your entire life."
At that, Celestia's eye briefly flicked back to a tapestry of her banishing Nightmare Moon, before looking back at her former pupil's outraged look. At this, Celestia simply nickered softly, before closing her eyes and responding sadly, "One of many."
Sunset never saw Celestia again after that. She escaped through the magic mirror and had set herself up as "queen" of canterlot high school. But still her anger burned within, and Sunset eventually returned after 30 equestrian moons in order to exact her vengeance on Celestia. Of course, that's when she'd learned that things had greatly changed since she'd left. When she'd snuck back through the mirror, she'd quickly discovered that she'd ended up in the famed crystal empire. It had apparently been revived from the centuries of darkness that she'd learned about.
Thankfully, like all great cities, it did have a large library she could do some quick reading at to learn what had been going on. And the Crystal Ponies had also been especially easy to manipulate to giving up information. From them and the news articles, she learned about Celestia's other prized pupil Twilight Sparkle for the first time. About the Element of Magic and about Twilight saving Equestria from Nightmare Moon, Discord and other problems. And perhaps most importantly, she learned that Celestia had made Twilight an alicorn princess. Overcome with anger and jealousy, Sunset had decided the best way to get back at Celestia would be to do so through her own student like she was once. Once she heard word of Twilight coming up to the empire for a visit, well, it was a perfect opportunity to take what she deserved and become the princess she was meant to be.
Of course, things didn't exactly turn out that way. True, she had managed to steal the crown and put it on during the fall formal, but that was when the other shoe dropped. Instead of becoming the princess she thought she would, she instead became a demon. And not just any demon, but a raging she-demon which had goals of using her students to take the throne from Celestia by force.
It was only when Twilight and the Canterlot High 5 tapped into the elements of harmony that she was stopped. But more importantly, when the elements were used on her, Sunset's mind suddenly was opened up, and she saw with harsh clarity that she was no princess. No great leader. No, she'd become a true monster. No different from the legendary threats she'd learned about under Celestia. When she crawled out of the pit of her sins (literally as she was in a crater at the time), she'd tearfully confessed to the first princess of friendship that she didn't know any other way to be.
But looking at her reflection now, Sunset mused that she'd become so much more after all her time in a human high school. She'd saved her school twice from magical occurrences. She had friends all over the school. Several best friends. She even made friends with the other Twilight Sparkle from this world. So why was she feeling so uneasy on returning?
"It's because of her." Sunset realized. "She saw so much in me, took me in after...the incident, and I threw it away for my own pride. I've made up with the people of this world, but now I need to make up with the ponies of Equestria. And Celestia needs to be first."
She took a deep breath. Then she grabbed her school bag with supplies and walked out of her apartment, heading straight for Canterlot High. Upon reaching it though, she was surprised to find all her friends there waiting for her.
"Girls? What are you all doing here?"
"Darlin', you really think we were gonna let you leave without sayin' goodbye?" Applejack remarked.
Sunset blushed at that. Of course she should've expected this when she told the others she was going to go home. "I'm not leaving for good. We still have more high school to finish up together after all. I'm just using the weekend to visit."
"Well, we'll still miss you Sunny." Pinkie beamed. "Sleepover Weekend won't be the same without you."
Sunset chuckled a bit at that. "Don't be so dramatic Pinkie. After all, this will give you all more time to spend with Eye light."
At this, Twilight bristled a bit. "Sunset!"
"Okay, okay. But we really need to come up with a something to distinguish you from Princess Twilight without needing to bring up her formal title."
"That's never going to happen." Twilight curtly replied.
Sunset then walked up to the horse statue. Turning to the girls she said, "When I return, all my old wrongs will be righted, and all will be well."
"You got this Sunset!" Rainbow cheered.
Sunset pressed her hand hard into the statue's base, and the next thing she knew, she was falling through a cascade of rainbows. She'd forgotten how unpleasant this was, and began howling at the top of her voice.
Sunset slowly opened her eyes. Immediately she could sense that something was different. Namely, she couldn't feel her fingers anymore. This could only mean…
Sunset whirled around, looking at the mirror she'd just come through, and suddenly gasped. Yes, she was a pony again, but she was still different than she remembered. True, Princess Twilight and Avatar Korra had told them all about The Great Convergence, but now Sunset could see herself as Twilight said all the ponies were like now. And just looking, she felt different. Her head seemed so much smaller, while her mouth seemed slightly longer. Her eyes were a bit different, her mane seemed to fall far more loosely, her legs seemed a bit longer and she looked a lot skinnier than she remembered.
"Whoa!" Sunset exclaimed. She took a deep breath, and then exhaled. "This will definitely take some getting use to." Then she tried to take a step forward, only to fall on her face suddenly.
"That's going to need some remembering as well," she mumbled as she pulled herself to her hooves, adjusting the pack on her back. Just then, she noticed someone entering the room.
"And Spike, just because we recently got back from the South Pole doesn't mean we're not going to be getting ready for Shining Armor's visit as well. Schedule in a review of the week and then.." then the purple alicorn stopped. And saw who'd entered her palace. "Sunset!"
Immediately Princess Twilight Sparkle ran over to give Sunset a hug. "You're here. You came back just like Korra said you could!"
Sunset smiled a bit at this. Then she gently removed herself from Twilight's arms. "Yes Twilight. It is great. But I only have a few days. I need to go to Canterlot right away."
"Canterlot?" Twilight asked.
"Yes. I need to…go apologize to Celestia for my behavior in the past."
Twilight blinked once at this, then gave a soft smile. "Spike!" she called.
Into the room walked her number one assistant. "Yes Twilight? Oh, hey Sunset" Spike the dragon said absentmindedly. Suddenly he realized what he just said. "Twilight! Sunset Shimmer's come back!"
"Yes Spike." Twilight quietly laughed. "I need you to take a letter to Princess Celestia."
Spike immediately pulled out a pen and paper.
"Oh and Sunset? Why don't you head over to the throne room for a minute? I think Korra's still there looking over the friendship map. It's five doors down on the right."
"Sure." As Sunset began to exit, she then paused. "And Twilight, could you..maybe, not mention me directly Celestia in that letter?"
Twilight gave an inquiring look. "Why?"
Sunset shuffled her hooves. Then she looked up with a slightly uncertain look on her face. "I want it to be a surprise...and in case anything comes up and Celestia's busy this weekend. I mean, being princess probably keeps her very busy."
Twilight gave a slight chuckle at that. "Whatever you say Sunset. But something tells me Celestia will make time for me." She gave Sunset a wink at that, and Sunset, though slightly confused, made her way out.
Spike then began writing at Twilight dictated.
"Dear Princess Celestia, a matter of great importance has just come up. I request an audience with you at your earliest convenience. Please respond when possible.
Your fellow princess, Twilight Sparkle.
PS: Oh, and expect some extra company as well.
Spike rolled up the letter, breathed his magical fire on it, and the smoke flew out to Celestia in Canterlot. "Well Twilight, I don't know about you, but since Luna's been 'behind on her work' for some reason, I wouldn't count on getting a response very quickly. I mean, with all the smiling she has to do, especially with Fire Lord Izumi visiting, there's no way she could so easily.." then Spike suddenly spat out a letter. "Never mind," he groaned.
Twilight opened up the scroll. "My dear Twilight, absolutely! I have some time around 2 if this is as important as you say. Take the train up. My guards will be sure to let you through without issue. Your fellow princess, Celestia."
Twilight quickly closed the scroll, all sorts of worry flooding her mind. "2? But that means.."
"Twilight, just stop." Spike's voice came to Twilight. "This gives us a good excuse to go up to Canterlot to go see Doughnut Joe again. Oh, and we could visit Moondancer's home since she has 2 days leave from the the Airbenders. We just need to switch around our 'spare activities'."
Twilight lightly sighed. "You're right. Thank you Spike; I can always count on you to get through to me. Now come along. We better catch the train first thing or we might be late."
With that, she made her way to the Cutie Map. Inside, she saw Korra chatting with Sunset. "And that's how I reconnected with my first ever friend."
Sunset chuckled. "Guess redeeming others is becoming our second job."
"Hey you two," Twilight called out. "We can talk more on the ride, but we need to get up to Canterlot first thing. Celestia scheduled us in for 2 today."
Sunset gave a light but uneasy laugh. "Uh, alright I guess. I wasn't expecting to do thing so soon, but okay."
Sunset was now standing outside the doors of Canterlot Castle. Suddenly she felt her nerves coming back remembering Celestia's last command.
"I am removing you from the position of my pupil, and banish you from Canterlot Castle until you understand the true values of humility and friendship."
And from that, only one thought came to Sunset's mind. What if they don't believe me?
But then she turned to look at the two people beside her. On one side, Princess Avatar Korra was gently smiling down at her. And on the other, Princess Twilight was giving her a slightly playful grin. Spike was off chilling with Doughnut Joe for a little while. Said that 'princess business' like this wasn't necessary for him. So together the 2 ponies and human alicorn approached the main gates, where two guards suddenly crossed their spears.
"Hold it!" one of them said. "The exile of Canterlot is.."
"With us" Korra said firmly. "She's with us. I can promise you that whatever Sunset Shimmer did in this castle, she is more than qualified to make up for it now."
The guards looked at each other briefly. "Don't think we've forgotten when you knocked us out to escape." One grumbled.
'Because of course it would be those two on main gate duty' Sunset mentally sighed. "Yes" Sunset replied sheepishly. ""And I'm sorry for doing that. But please, may I come in again? I have learned the true meanings of humility and friendship."
"And what are those?" one asked.
"Well, humility is being able to look at you without ego and considering others first, and Friendship? Well, it's the most magical and powerful force in the entire universe. It brings you up, shows you hope, and stands with you in the darkest times."
The guards gave a small look to each other, but then nodded. "Enter."
Walking to the throne room, Sunset couldn't help but notice all the stain glass windows with pictures of the Mane 6 and Korra on them. "Wow. I know I heard some stories of what the element bearers accomplished, but you all really have done a whole lot for Equestria, haven't you?" she asked.
"Well, some things for sure," Korra admitted. "I especially like this one." And she pointed to the one showing the great convergence.
Sunset though noticed what looked like a white butterfly just outside the stain glass. Though she couldn't quite be sure, it looked like it was causing some rainbow shimmers in the light.
"Come on Sunset. It's almost 2," Twilight's voice broke through Sunset's musings, and she walked back toward the others, only tripping over her hooves 2 times while hurrying to catch up.
Finally they reached the throne room doors.
"Wait here" Twilight instructed. "We'll open the doors for you when we're ready to send you in."
Suddenly Sunset began to sweat. "I, I don't know if I can do this anymore. I mean, this is big. If Celestia won't take me back, then how can I ever visit around here again? I'll be.."
But the next thing Sunset knew, she was getting a twin hug from Twilight and Korra. "Oh Sunset" Twilight laughed. "I think you're starting to sound like me. And don't worry. Celestia's pretty merciful. Just ask for her forgiveness, and I'm sure you'll get it."
And with that, the two princesses entered the room, leaving Sunset waiting outside. Uneasily she fidgeted on her hooves, thinking of all she did before this moment. Then a thought came to her, and she touched her shoulder. Remembering when she became a phoenix warrior to defeat the human Twilight Sparkle's evil form.
I wasn't a monster anymore with the magic of friendship. I was reborn as a hero. I am worthy to come home.
Just then the doors opened partially, and she saw Korra's hand beckoning her in. With great humility and hope, Sunset entered in, seeing Celestia sitting on one of the 3 thrones.
She looked up with a small smile, and with all the courage she could muster, kept walking forward until she was right under Celestia's eyes.
"Sunset Shimmer?" Celestia asked. Sunset couldn't quite tell, but she sounded mildly upset. "Is…is it really you?"
Not quite sure what to make of this, Sunset braced herself for what was to come and kept talking. "Yes. I know it's been a long time, and the last time we saw one another was anything but positive." Then Sunset took a deep breath, and finally asked the question she really wanted to know now. "I came here in the hopes that….you could forgive me?"
Suddenly Sunset's vision was blocked by a blur of white fur. Celestia was hugging her? Then she felt something on her head. Celestia was…crying? And then she heard but one sentence.
"My dear child, I already have."
That's when the dam broke. All her fears melted away, and Sunset wrapped her hooves around Celestia with all the love she'd missed. And she felt some tears rolling down her face too. "I'm so sorry! You were right. I'm not a princess. Not anymore." The she spoke what she realized she'd always wanted to say after turning good. "I missed you so much...mentor." Somehow, Celestia just hugged her tighter after hearing this and Sunset did the same.
They just kept hugging each other. Neither ponies wanting to lose this moment, until at last Celestia pulled away. Sunset looked up at her teacher, seeing a thoughtful but happy look on her face. "Sunset Shimmer, how would you like to meet my mother?"
Sunset blinked for a moment. Then she said the only thing she could think of at that moment. "Whaaaaattttt?"
Korra and Twilight watched what was happening with love and amusement. Silently they nodded to each other. Then Korra spoke up.
"Well, you clearly have a lot of catching up to do. Tell you what? How about you send Sunset back to us when you're done with her? My regular appointment with Leilani isn't until Tuesday after all, and we promised Spike an extra treat while we were up here."
Celestia looked up, already a look of unbridled joy on her face. "Of course, of course. Thank you for this Twilight and Korra." Then the two exited out the doors.
Sunset then waved her hoof in front of Celestia. "Uh, Celestia, I think we're still missing the main point that YOU WANT ME TO MEET YOUR MOTHER?"
Celestia laughed a bit at this. "Everypony and everyone have a mother. Mine was out of town while you were my faithful student. But starting a little while ago, she decided to come back into our lives again. I think you need to meet her." Sunset opened her mouth to reply, but Celestia raised her hoof up. "It's not just for social reasons, but because we need to discuss what to do about your legal standing."
Sunset looked at Celestia as if she'd just told her that the sky was suddenly green. Celestia gave a slightly embarrassed chuckle at that.
"Sorry, sorry. I think I've spent a bit too much time with Lin Beifong lately."
"That grumpy police woman Twilight and Korra sometimes complain to me about?" Sunset asked.
Celestia just raised an eyebrow at that. But then she shook her head. "I forgive you for all you've done Sunset, but my mother is the high ruler of Equestria now. She needs to pass final judgment before we set you free." Celestia moved her eyes back and forth thinking through her schedule. "We still have 50 minutes left so…yes. Yes, that should be fine. Flash Sentry?"
Sunset raised an eyebrow as an orange Pegasus hustled up to the throne. "Yes your highness? Oh, hi Sunset….Princess Celestia! Sunset's come back!"
"Yes, Flash. You know her?"
"Of course I know her. I met my other counterpart in the mirror world!"
"Well then, it's important for you to follow this task quickly. Send a message to my mother to meet me in my private quarters for tea as soon as she finishes meeting with Firelord Izumi. It's a matter of great importance."
Flash rolled his eyes at this slightly but then hurried out. But not before calling behind him, "Good to see you again Sunset! We should meet up while you're here."
Sunset couldn't stop fidgeting looking around Celestia's room. She hadn't been here in such a long time, and it seemed so different now. It still felt warm and comforting, but now all around the room were scrolls, pictures, memos. Thinking about the other Celestia at Canterlot High, she remembered several times being called into her office when she was evil. Comparing the two rooms, it felt like someone had just taken part of Principal Celestia's office and instead tacked it up on the walls.
There was a circular table in the middle of the room, and Celestia was busy directing some servants to set up afternoon tea. Apparently they were getting the works. Biscuits, tea, cookies. Looking at it all, Sunset suddenly felt a bit ill and overwhelmed. Apparently she was bad at hiding it, because Celestia seemed to quickly notice.
Sunset braced herself. "Sorry. It's just, this is a lot to take in. I came here to apologize to you, and then there was the hug, and now we're having tea like nothing was wrong at all before. And that's not mentioning that I'm still trying to take in the whole 'you having a living mother' thing still." Slowly she moved her way toward the table as the servants cleared out. "I mean, I always figured you were this immortal goddess that didn't need parents."
Celestia gave a small flute like laugh at that. "The Ponies of Equestria came up with that. I never asked to be their goddess. Although, technically I am descended from someone with divine power. Did Twilight and Korra tell you about the Great Convergence?"
Sunset bit her lip thinking. "I, think so. That's how she saved both your worlds from disappearing."
Celestia smiled at that. "That's right, but there's more to it than that. Pay attention my student." Sunset raised a eyebrow at that, but sat down at one of the chairs. "The root of it all was because of a battle between The Light Spirit Raava and The Dark Spirit Vaatu. Both had battled longer than any pony, spirit or human had ever known. And then my mother, father and their best friend accidentally got the spirit of light in trouble when the spirit of darkness tricked them. However, the 3 of them resolved to help protect Raava when Harmonic Convergence began, and in the course of battle, their friendship and light combined with Raava's energies and the mystical spirit energies in the area. That's how the Avatar came to be, and the first alicorns were created."
Sunset realized that her mouth had been hanging open. So she closed it eventually. Then she spoke the first question that popped into her head. "So, does that mean all alicorns are technically part spirit?"
Celestia smiled. "Well, not exactly. The way mother explained it, it was more like their energies mixed with their hope and love reacted to the spirit world and expanded in power." Celestia then paused. "Though now that the worlds are connected, that would make for an interesting research project to see if our magic is similar to a spirit's energies."
Sunset's mind was still abuzz with thoughts. "So when you two were born, I assume you just got the same 'expanded' energies from your parents."
Just then the door opened, and a new alicorn walked in. An alicorn Sunset had never seen before. She was beautiful, and what caught Sunset's eye first though was that she was blue rather than white. 'At least that explains why Princess Luna is so different.' She was tall, regal looking, and much like her daughters, was clearly an alicorn with wings and a horn. Her mane and tail also resembled Celestia's: long and flowing with sparkles while colored pink, blue, purple and turquoise. Her cutie mark looked like an orb with a flower around it, but the area around the mark was dark.
Surprisingly though, she did not look too happy at that moment. "Celestia, what on Equestria is so important that you needed to call a private tea party with me? We never have those without good reason or extra time. And we don't really have extra time until next month."
"It's a matter of great importance. To restore a pony to her rightful place." And Celestia slowly stepped away from where she was blocking Sunset. "Mother, I'd like you to meet my former pupil Sunset Shimmer."
The alicorn blinked. Then the next thing Sunset knew, she was getting another neck hug. "So this is the little foal who thought she could be a princess on skill rather than heart."
Sunset laughed uncomfortably at that. "Uhh.."
The alicorn then drew away. "Oh, where are my manners? It's a great honor to meet you Sunset Shimmer. My name is Queen Leilani." Sunset was about to open her mouth, but Leilani wouldn't let her. "Now come. Please, sit. Tell me all about how you've been doing!"
"And then with her heart momentarily distracted, I managed to get through her magic, and was able to bring her out of her evil state. She's been going to Canterlot High ever since."
The tea party was now in full swing. Despite all the reservations Sunset had before this moment, Leilani was surprisingly easy to talk to. It seemed that Celestia took after her in an important way: having friendship be more important than rank.
"Well, sounds like quite the adventure Sunset." Sunset beamed a bit at hearing Celestia say that. "But now we need to get down to business. Mother, I called you here because I need your help. I want to give Sunset clemency for all she did to us. Let her hoof free without worry. Please, will you do this?"
Leilani smiled. "Of course." Then she rose up. "Sharp Quill, take a note please." A unicorn in the corner began writing. "I, Leilani, High Queen of Equestria, hereby pardon the unicorn Sunset Shimmer of all her wrongdoing and problems in the Kingdom of Equestria. May all who see her give her love and praise for relearning the magic of friendship and bringing peace and understanding to another world. And may she be welcome in Canterlot Castle once again."
Sunset gave a small sigh of relief. But Leilani wasn't done yet. "And may it also be understood that I wish to give her a title. Sunset Shimmer, please kneel."
"Please kneel before your queen," Sharp Quill noted in the corner.
Utterly dumbfounded, Sunset found herself kneeling down. Leilani made her way over to her, levitating a blue rod over to her. Then, she gently touched the rod on each of Sunset's shoulders.
"Though the world will always know you as Sunset Shimmer, to me, and to Celestia, you will always be Duchess Sunset, bearer of the element of forgiveness. May our records know this truth forever."
And Sharp Quill acknowledged, "So shall it be."
Sunset looked up at Leilani shocked. "What?!"
Leilani smiled down at her. "You have earned this my little pony. I can't make you a princess since only alicorns have been true princesses in our land, but what you've done shows that you're capable of bearing so much in the quest of light. And besides, this way I can have legal precedent to give you help if you ever need it."
Sunset then turned to Celestia, who just shrugged. "I can't argue with my mother. You've earned this my faithful student."
Sunset felt awe. Absolute awe and joy and so many other things. This was far beyond anything she had expected in coming back here. The first thing she could think of doing after gaining coherent thought again was to leap up and hug Leilani. "Thank you! Thank you! This is beyond anything I could've imagined in coming back here!"
Leilani just hugged back. "It was nothing. Now come. I think the biscuits are getting cold."
The 3 retook their seats, resuming the party. Both Leilani and Celestia were giving Sunset a proud look. Finally, Leilani spoke. "How long will you remain here Duchess Sunset?"
Sunset blushed at the title now given to her. "Just Sunset please. No need to let anything go to my head like before. And it's only a few days."
"What are your plans for the rest of your time?"
Sunset stared at her teacup. "Well, I suppose the next thing I should do is that I need to find Minuette, Moondancer, Lemon Heart and Twinkleshine. I…kinda remember blowing them off pretty hard the last time I was here. Then I need to go apologize to Princess Cadence for breaking into her home."
Leilani placed a hoof on Sunset's shoulder. "You will have time. You are once again a daughter of Equestria. You will have all the time you need with as many visits as you want."
Sunset chewed happily on a strawberry at the thought of being free. Celestia spoke next, her voice unusually somber. "Tell me Sunset, what do you think you'll do after this visit?"
Sunset smiled. "Well, I suppose I'll be finishing up high school at Canterlot High. Considering I left before you finished teaching me, I do need to complete some kind of education."
"And then what?"
Sunset suddenly blanched. "I…I don't know. I've been so focused on what's around me, I have no idea what will come after Canterlot High."
Celestia again got into lecture mode. "You will eventually need to answer that question Sunset Shimmer. You will always have another journey to start. The question is where will your next one lead you?"
Sunset drank a sip of tea, thinking this through. Then an idea came to her. "Well, I would like to see the Avatar's world sometime. Maybe I can go travel there." Then another thought struck Sunset. "Actually, what I'd really like to do once I can is I'd like to finish mastering firebending."
"Well I'm sure there are plenty of people who could help you with that," Leilani smiled. "The world is full of people and ponies that could help with your bending. In fact, I could probaby assign Mako to work with you on it if you wanted."
"Will you want to return to that mirror world eventually?" Celestia sounded a bit uncertain asking that question, but her royal training was clearly showing. She kept a calm face while asking the question.
Sunset paused to think about it. "I, I don't know. Maybe? The only thing I know for sure is I can't just stay at Canterlot High forever. Perhaps I'll need a sign before graduation to give me a hint about that."
Celestia gave a firm nod at that. "Then, I wish you all the best in determining your path Sunset Shimmer. Thank you for coming home to talk about it."
Sunset smiled. "You're welcome."
Author's Note: First thing's first. The Legend of Korra and all Avatar related products are owned by Nickelodeon and the different animation companies. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and all related products are produced by Hasbro. The Little Pony Legend was the idea of a woman named Jessica. I'm just jumping into the mix.
This was actually not the first chapter I conceptualized when thinking about this story, but it was surprisingly the easiest for me to write. Admittedly, part of it is because the middle paragraph was partially written for me already by Maggiesheartlove. However, as part of trying to create a story of redemption in this world, Sunset felt like a natural anchor point for the people/ponies around her. After all, she's among the first of the villains to reform themselves, and I'm not making Discord my central person due to his power levels being way too high on the scale for creating conflict at this time.