With a thud, Sunset felt her journey through the mirror come to an end. Groaning, she took a moment as her stomach stopped doing flip flops. She hoped the return trip would be more pleasant.
"Ow," she grumbled as she slowly opened her eyes. She was greeted by the sight of a paved street beneath her, and strange appendages where her hooves should have been.
Normally, this might have caused her to panic. But she was Sunset Shimmer, and she did not panic. Before she had left Equestria, she had been able to glean some facts about the world on the other side of the mirror.
1. Wherever this place was, it was not on Equus, nor did magic apparently exist here.
2. The dominant species of this world were called humans, and they were as different from ponies as anything could be.
And last, but certainly not least, she would not be able to return to Equestria for another thirty moons. Or whatever the hay that might mean here. Who knew what that could be in this world?
Sunset had originally meant to present all she knew of the World Mirror and this world as a sort of present to Princess Celestia one day. She knew her teacher had often wondered about the mirror, and Sunset had been more than happy to look into it.
But that was no longer a possibility. Not after their fight. Not after the Sun Princess had denied Sunset her right, her destiny. Just thinking about her old teacher got Sunset's blood boiling.
After a moment though, she shook her head, as she came to a sitting position. Getting mad about it now would do her no good. She was on her own for now, and she still needed a plan.
Looking down at herself, she found herself clothed in what could only be described as a punk look. It suited her, as she took her new look in, she thought with a grin. On her skirt was her cutie mark.
Sunset wasn't sure how she would explain that, as she stood and dusted herself off. But one step at a time. From what she could see, it looked like she had been dumped in an alley. It sure smelled like it, as she pinched her nose. Behind her was a brick wall, and to her front was a street corner.
Something on the ground though caught Sunset's attention, as she bent over to pick it up. But none of what it said made any sense to her. What the heck was a mobile armor? The crudely drawn picture didn't help either. It almost looked like something from one of those anime from Neighpon. Not that she ever watched those of course.
She shook her head as she threw it into a nearby dumpster. It didn't help her in the slightest, so she soon forgot about it as she came to the end of the alleyway. Luckily, no one was close by, so she was able to wander onto the sidewalk without attracting attention.
If it wasn't for the lack of carriages, Sunset could almost swear that it looked like Canterlot. That made her smile in a way she hadn't for a long time. But something stood out, something that didn't make any sense to her as she looked up and down the sidewalks.
Where was everyone? The streets were deserted. Not a soul was in sight, and even the windows in the building fronts were closed up.
Looking back, Sunset could just make out the faint shimmer in the air that marked the location of the portal back to Equestria. Unless someone in this world was that lucky or had seen her come through, no one would likely find it.
And as much as she hated Celestia's guts at the moment, Sunset was glad of that. Whatever else she thought of her old home, she didn't want anyone in this world to find out about it or her. Not now, and maybe not ever.
But that could wait for the moment, as she felt her stomach growl. She hadn't eaten before she had come here, and it was showing. The trouble was, she had no idea what a diner around here looked like, and she had no way to pay even if she did. And she would die first before she even thought of stealing something.
Her pride would never allow it. But at the moment, the lack of life of any kind around her was unsettling in the extreme as Sunset walked down the sidewalk. Why was this place deserted?
A brush against her shoe caused her to look down. It was a newspaper. Bending down, Sunset picked it up and looked it over. She was shocked to see that this world and Equestria seemed to share the same calendar. It was March 27 on the other side of the portal, but this paper was dated the 12. But it was the headline that held Sunset's attention.
'Over a million feared dead as Los Angeles falls. Army divisions unable to slow the advance as Hashmal moves on the east coast of the United States.'
Sunset turned green in the face. She couldn't wrap her head around that number of killed. What could do that? Why would anypony ever do that? And for what?
She didn't know what the name meant either. Nothing in Equestria sounded like that or even close. Beneath the headline was what she could only guess was a picture of the city in question, in flames, and what might have been the army in question, fighting whatever this, Hashmal thing was.
Animalistic was the best way Sunset could describe the creature in question if that's what it was. It dwarfed in size everything around it. A long-tail swatted things like flys in several directions, and from what she guessed was its mouth spewed what looked like a beam of magic, one that vaporized anything it touched.
That the city around her was not in ruins at the moment told Sunset that whatever this thing was, it hadn't come here yet, and she hoped it never did. At least while she was still in the city.
"Ya look lost there sugarcube."
Sunset jumped at the unexpected voice behind her. Turning, she came face to face with a girl that looked to be about the same age as her. Blond hair and tanned skin stood out against the rather drab background.
She forced a smile. "You could say that," she replied.
The girl nodded. "Figured as much. Name's Applejack," she said as she extended a hand.
Sunset forced herself to be nice for the moment. "Sunset Shimmer." Her stomach growled at that exact moment, and she smiled sheepishly. "Um. You wouldn't know where a gal could get something to eat, do you?"
Applejack chuckled. "My family runs a place down the street."
Sunset's smile faded after a moment though. "I don't have much money though."
Applejack smiled. "That's okay. Apple never turns away a hungry customer, even if they can't pay. Ya can work, can't ya?"
Sunset bit back a scowl. Work was not something she enjoyed very much. At least not the kind Applejack might have in mind. But then she sighed as her stomach growled again. It was either this or go hungry. She could get back at her later, as she smiled again. "Yeah, I can work."
Sunset swore as she took another bite of the best salad she had ever tasted, that if this was heaven, or whatever the afterlife was called in this world, she never wanted to leave. This put to shame the best chefs in Canterlot Castle and then some.
The Apple Barn, as the restaurant was called, was nice in the homey sort of way. Nothing like the places she had known in the Upper District of Canterlot, but reminding her of her fillyhood in Baltimare. Whoever was the cook here, knew their stuff.
Applejack chuckled as she sat down across from her. "Lands sakes girls. It's like ya never had a salad before. This is just the basic Garden Meal."
Sunset swallowed before she answered. She didn't have to fake the smile that came to her at the moment. "Applejack, if this is what you call basic, I'm a beggar. This is the best thing I've had in a long time."
Applejack blushed as she pulled her stetson down over her face. "Shucks sugarcube, you're just saying that. Then again, the Apple Family has been here a long time. Been cooking even longer. Course we know a thing or two."
Her face soon turned serious, however. "That said, you're not from around here, are ya?"
Sunset shifted in her seat. "You could say that. I don't even know where here is."
"Don't know if it ever had a name, back before all this started," Applejack replied. "Few people still here just call Home. Rest ran east, trying to outrun those, things. Lot of good that did those out west. Killed more than I care to count."
Sunset winced. Her mind returned to the newspaper she had seen. Applejack saw her look and sighed. "Ya saw the paper, right?"
Sunset nodded. "What is that thing?" She asked.
Applejack shook her head as she sat back. "Don't rightly know myself. Don't know if anyone does know much about them. They just showed up one day and started killing everyone. Some said they're made for the war for the Ahab Reactors, and went rogue for some reason. I don't know. All I know is that nothing's been able to stop even a single one of them, and they're's more than one of them."
Sunset processed this. It was a start at least. "Are they machines or what? Is there someone piloting them?"
Applejack shook. "Nope. The only thing most do know is that they're all machines. No pilot, no controls, nothing. And no ethics either obviously. We call them mobile armors. No idea who started calling them by the names some do, but they've stuck."
Sunset digested this as she took another bit. This was not what she had expected to find on this side of the mirror. Not by a long shot. There was still a chance she could get back to Equestria before Princess Celestia noticed that she was gone, but that meant admitting she had been wrong, and there was no way she going back like that.
Even if she wanted to, there was no way at the moment she could ditch Applejack without looking suspicious or out of place. She still had time though, but she had to plan it carefully. Her best bet would be at night when everyone would be asleep.
For the moment though she shook her head. "If everyone's left, why are you still here?"
Applejack laughed. "This is our home. We ain't abandoning it just like that, no matter what. My brother Big Mac joined the army to try and help people as much as possible. We haven't heard a word from him since. We promised we'd wait for him here, and Apple's don't break promises."
Sunset could respect that as she finished her meal. She wasn't one to break a promise either, and it had saved her flank more than once in her life, and gotten her into trouble more often than not. Not that she cared either way of course.
She had just taken another sip of her tea when her world turned white, and the whole room exploded around her. She and Applejack were far enough back that they survived the blast, but the front of the store was gone.
Sunset's ears were ringing as tried to pull herself up. From the corner of her eyes, she could see Applejack do the same, her calm expression gone as she stalked to the front of the ruined restaurant. Even as she came to what had been the front door, a distant siren began to wail.
Applejack saw someone she knew in the crowd of people running past. "Braeburn, what the hell was that?!"
Braeburn said only one word as he rushed past, but it made Applejack's blood run cold. "Plumas!"
AN: And now the fun really begins. This chapter also reminded me of how much I hate Bitch Queen Sunset Shimmer. Even though it won't last for long here. People will be more than happy to leave her behind.
Who would be the one to find Sunset was hard to pick. But I feel Applejack works in that regard.