Magical Girl Sunset 3

Jul 14th, 2019
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  1. >Your name is Sunset Shimmer, you’re a Magical Girl, and you’re currently sitting vigil at Silver Wings Hospital.
  2. >Brooding over the paperwork in your lap, you absentmindedly chew on a cigarette filter.
  3. >It’s lousy with bite marks by now.
  4. >The nurses keep reminding you that lighting up is positively forbidden, but the simple presence of the squishy bit of pressed fiber in your mouth already helps to calm you down a little bit.
  5. >You desperately need it, seeing as the chair you’ve been given is the most uncomfortable piece of plastic you’ve ever had the misfortune of sitting in and the fluorescent lighting is nothing short of torture for your strained eyes.
  6. >To your left, a long, sterile corridor stretches all the way to the nurses’ station at the far end.
  7. >To your right, the crowbar you’ve recently used to crack an old friend’s skull like a ripe melon is leaning against the wall.
  8. >You wiped off most of the gore with the hem of your skirt when you left Tower One but the metal is still shining with a dull tinge of red.
  9. >Next to the weapon is the door to a certain blue bitch of a Magical Girl’s recovery room.
  10. >And you’re expressly prohibited from entering.
  12. >The chief of medicine herself—an absent-minded woman by the name of Madaraki—personally ensured you that Rainbow Dash was fine, for lack of a better term, but that the wounds and subsequent operation had left her body exceptionally drained.
  13. >You would be the first to be informed as soon as she was stable enough to receive visitors.
  14. >That was two days ago.
  15. >Two days in this abomination of a chair.
  16. >Two days of sour glances from the entirety of the medical staff.
  17. >Two days of Diamond coming by every couple of hours to plead with you to go home.
  19. >The girl is not leaving you alone for some reason, even though you rudely tell her to do just that every single time.
  20. >The bags under her eyes get more noticeable each time, betraying that she herself is doing anything but getting the rest she so desperately wants to convince you of.
  21. >You don’t really get what she’s so concerned about.
  22. >It’s not like you’re not taking care of yourself.
  23. >You ate some potato chips from the vending machine at one point, and you’re pretty sure you nodded off for an hour or so last night, too.
  24. >You would kill for a smoke and a shot of whiskey right now, but other than that, your body and mind are pretty much all there.
  25. >You haven’t even started shouting at the hallucinations yet.
  27. >Surprisingly, despite the constant threats from the staff, no one has actually tried to throw you out so far.
  28. >You’re pretty sure Diamond talked them out of it.
  29. >It’s not like you’re bothering anyone, and you even—eventually—changed out of your soiled costume and into the fresh set of clothes your junior brought along.
  30. >You’d think hospital employees wouldn’t be bothered by the sight of a little blood.
  31. >Still, you took the shorts and simple t-shirt after refusing to wear the fucking hospital gown you were offered, if only to shut everyone up.
  32. >Your wounds are less severe than Rainbow’s, but they still insisted on dressing them at least, so now you’ve got to deal with bandages covering the entire lengths of your arms and legs, too.
  33. >They don’t exactly help the picture.
  34. >Your hair is messy, your face is still smeared with grime, and the blood is already starting to seep through and leave red marks on the gauze in some places.
  35. >You look like a burn victim cosplaying as a regular girl.
  36. >Which is funny—in some dark, depraved sense of the word—because you’re neither.
  38. >To top it all off, Diamond has also given you a stack of forms to fill out in lieu of a proper debriefing, prompting you to explain—from your point of view—what exactly happened at Tower One the day before yesterday.
  39. >She didn’t really want to hand them over on account of you being exhausted enough as it is or some shit, but you managed to convince her with a few well-placed expletives.
  40. >Your reward comes as a seemingly endless pile of paper with timelines to fill in, eyewitnesses to list—including disposal requests for the kill teams should you feel it’s needed—and expenses to declare.
  41. >Who’d have thought being a Magical Girl would comprise this much goddamn paperwork?
  42. >While you’re left to your own devices most of the time, a certain level of bookkeeping is still expected to make sure the business as a whole runs as smoothly as possible.
  43. >The healthy stack of bureaucracy will go back to headquarters once you’re finished, where a flock of MGs will go through it like they do with all the others coming in every single day.
  44. >It probably sucks, forming the contract only to become a glorified secretary.
  45. >Then again, the girls working in the offices probably don’t have to deal with things like murdering their former mentor.
  46. >There’s a field for ‘casualties’ at the bottom of the second page, next to another one labeled ‘confirmed kills’.
  47. >You haven’t decided where to fill in Trixie’s name yet.
  49. >"Miss Shimmer."
  50. >The nurse's voice is harsh, laced with the impatience of a woman who has her timetable filled to the point of bursting and then some.
  51. "I’m not leaving," you reply equally dismissive, and you don’t even bother looking up while crossing out another failed attempt to explain why Rainbow entered Tower One without waiting for backup. "If you want to call security, go ahead."
  52. >"You can see her now."
  53. >That takes your attention away from the stack of bullshit made paper, and you muster the scowling face in front of you in surprise.
  54. >A set of tired eyes is looking back at you, framed by a delicate pair of reading glasses.
  55. >"Miss Dash is still very fatigued and there’s a heavy dose of painkillers in her system. I must remind you again to be as quiet as possible and to not expose her to any unnecessary stress."
  56. >You nod.
  57. "I won’t."
  58. >"Then please," the nurse gestures towards the door. "Fifteen minutes."
  61. >You find Dash in a sterile-white hospital room filled with cool air and the potent smell of antiseptic.
  62. >A bit of light is coming in through the curtains, and it looks like the sun is just about to rise.
  63. >Or set.
  64. >You don’t really know what time it is, honestly.
  65. >A pitcher of water is sitting next to an empty glass on the girl’s nightstand, and an IV drip is hanging from a pole next to her bed, silently filling her with fluids and—you suspect—no small amount of morphine.
  66. >Rainbow’s hair is more or less the only source of color in the entire room, and even that is looking just a bit duller, just a bit less alive than usual.
  67. >Her left arm is lying on top of the covers next to her body, heavily bruised but otherwise intact.
  68. >Where her right arm should be, however, only a carefully-bandaged stump is jutting out from the sleeve of her hospital gown.
  69. >It stops shortly below her shoulder, leaving only a vague impression of the limb that was once attached here.
  70. >Rainbow is awake, and she’s wearily mustering her mutilation with her head turned sideward.
  72. >For a moment, you debate whether you should just leave her alone for now, to give her room to mourn in peace, but she speaks before you can come to a decision.
  73. >"Fucking cunt."
  74. >Her words are quiet, unaffected by any of the venomous bravado you’re used to hearing from her.
  75. >They’re almost disbelieving.
  76. >"Took the whole thing clean off."
  77. "How are you, Dash?"
  78. >Slowly, as if it took her a great deal of strength, Rainbow brings her sight away from the bandages.
  79. >"It hurts," she mumbles tiredly. "They doped me up pretty good but I can tell. You can feel that something’s missing."
  80. >Sitting down on the edge of her bed—on the side left eerily vacant by her missing appendage—you lean the crowbar against her nightstand.
  81. >"Why did you bring that?"
  82. >Her voice is empty.
  83. >No insults, no growled threats, not even an annoyed grunt.
  84. >More than ever before, Rainbow reminds you of a normal girl, one not used to leaving piles of corpses in her wake and fighting to the death with friends turned traitors.
  85. >For once in her life, she looks vulnerable.
  86. >You wonder if this is how she used to be before forming the contract.
  87. >"Not like I’ll be able to do much with it, you know."
  88. >As if to prove her point, she tries to wiggle her stump, which only yields her a fresh burst of pain she has to bite down.
  90. >"Fluttershy?" Rainbow sits up in her bed with a groan.
  91. "She’s good. Has some pretty ugly bruises and she’s had to spend the night to get some stitches. But she’ll live."
  92. >"Yeah. guess she’s been through worse, huh?"
  93. "I’m supposed to call her and tell her you’re okay as soon as I know."
  94. >"She’s worried about me?"
  95. "Of course she is, fuckface. I broke my cell earlier but she’s called the hospital like four times. She would have stayed with me but the painkillers knocked her out pretty good."
  96. >"Wait. You…" Rainbow musters you. "Holy fuck, you look like crap, Shimmer. And you’ve still got shit all over your face. Did you sleep in it or what?"
  97. "I haven’t really slept much."
  98. >The girl shakes her head.
  99. >"You seriously need to find a new look, you know? Because ‘covered in blood’ isn’t really working with the whole Magical Girl thing."
  100. "I’m pretty sure Trixie pulled it off often enough."
  101. >"That’s different. She’s always looked happy in it, ecstatic even. Content as a pig rolling in shit. And"—Rainbow points at your bandages with her remaining hand—"it was almost never her own blood."
  102. >The girl grins.
  103. >"You got her good this time though, right? Messed her right the fuck up."
  104. "Guess a crowbar to the face’ll do it. Even if you’re a psycho bitch."
  105. >"Shame about your bat," Dash nods. "Then again, it’s probably some poetic shit that the one who gave it to you in the first place was also the one who destroyed it. Maybe, I dunno. I don’t usually get stuff like that."
  106. "I’m not really seeing it."
  107. >Dash seems to think for a moment.
  108. >"Want to keep it?"
  109. "Hm?"
  110. >"The crowbar," she nods towards her weapon. "You seemed to get the hang of it quickly enough. I won’t exactly be using it and it’d be a shame if it just collected rust in my closet somewhere. I’m saying I wouldn’t… mind you having it. If you wanted to. Unless you got designs on that fucking chainsaw or something."
  111. "I think Diamond said she wanted to have that one."
  112. >"Seriously?"
  113. >You nod.
  114. >"It’s twice her size! Bet it weighs more than her, too."
  115. "She thinks she can handle it, I guess."
  116. >Rainbow doesn’t seem convinced.
  119. >You ask the question that’s been going through your head ever since the adrenaline from your fight subsided enough to actually allow you to hear your own thoughts again next.
  120. "What do you think happened to her?"
  121. >"Trixie?"
  122. >Rainbow’s sight drifts to her wounds again.
  123. >"I guess she went the way all Magical Girls go sooner or later. You either die or go insane. She did both but she always was an ambitious cunt. One was never quite enough for her."
  124. "She kept rambling about her work."
  125. >"They all do. You’ve dealt with about as many traitors as I, yeah? They’re always on some mission or creed or whatever the fuck else they call it. And it usually involves corpses. Cloudchaser was building a bloody skull throne in her basement when I found her, for fuck’s sake. A throne, Shimmer—made of actual skulls."
  126. "Trixie seemed more focused than that though. As if she actually had a plan."
  127. >"All I could see was madness."
  128. "There was a dead girl on one of the lower floors," you shake your head. "I don’t know why but she seemed like she wasn’t supposed to be there. She was positioned like… like someone apologized for killing her."
  129. >"Like how?"
  130. "She was holding her own head as if she was guarding it."
  131. >Rainbow makes a face.
  132. >"Well, whatever it was, I guess you put a stop to it when you turned Trixie’s brains to mush, huh?"
  134. >There’s a knock at the door before you can reply, and it’s followed by a small figure carefully opening a crack just wide enough for her to slip through.
  135. >She quickly closes it again behind herself, as if she was afraid that any sudden breeze would lead to the room—and Dash—spontaneously catching fire.
  136. >Holding a plastic bag in front of her chest, Diamond creeps closer to the bed.
  137. >"I’m sorry, Miss Dash," she whispers, "they said it was alright for me to come in for a moment. Are you… should I leave?"
  138. >Rainbow can’t help but smile, watching the girl fidget with her bag.
  139. >"S’alright, kiddo. If I can take Shimmer without ripping open my stitches, you shouldn’t be a problem."
  140. "Dick."
  141. >"I’ve got some magazines," Diamond pulls out a stack of papers. "You know, in case you get bored. I also brought some toiletries, body spray, a hairbrush, a toothbrush…"
  142. >She continues to unpack stuff onto the nightstand.
  143. >"What, no snacks?"
  144. >"Uhm… no, Miss Dash. I’m sorry but they said I wasn’t allowed. You’re supposed to eat the hospital food for now. When you can actually eat again, that is."
  145. >Rainbow grimaces.
  146. >"At least for a few days, Miss Dash."
  147. >"You’d think they would allow a girl some cookies after she traded her arm for a crippled fucking stump and enough pain to keep her from getting up to take a piss."
  148. >"I’ll ask again," Diamond smiles apologetically. "Maybe tomorrow."
  150. >"I, uh… They also had this in the gift shop downstairs…"
  151. >Fumbling in the bag for a few more seconds, Diamond pulls out one more thing: a small plushy animal vaguely resembling a pony.
  152. >Its soft, fluffy fur is sky blue, and two miniature wings are carefully sewn onto its back.
  153. >"It’s probably stupid but I thought…" she fiddles with the pony’s legs, "I thought maybe you’d want it, Miss Dash. I never liked going to the doctor as a kid so my mom used to give me things like this."
  154. >You trade a look with Rainbow, and both of you start laughing despite Diamond’s pouty glare.
  155. >"They do help!" she protests blushingly.
  156. >"Can it regrow limbs?"
  157. >"Ah… that’s…" your junior’s sight falls to the floor. "Of course it can’t, Miss Dash. I’m sorry, I’ll… I’ll just bring it back. I have the receipt."
  158. >"It’s fine, Tiara," Dash motions with her remaining arm, "give it here."
  159. >Reaching out to accept the fluffy animal, she places it into her lap to caress its artificial fur.
  160. >Digging her fingers into the soft warmth, Rainbow allows herself to lean back.
  161. >"You’re right. It does help a bit."
  163. >"That reminds me!" Diamond pulls something out of her skirt pocket. "I also got a new phone for you, Miss Shimmer."
  164. >She all but shoves the thing into your hands.
  165. "Huh?"
  166. >It’s one of those newer models, even thinner and less clunky than your previous one, and it’s loaded with so many cameras that you honestly don’t have a clue what each of them could possibly be good for.
  167. >It’s also not covered in scratches and grime.
  168. >Yet.
  169. >And where you old cell was pink and gaudy like a goodie you’d pull out of a cereal box, this one sports a sleek, polished coat of black.
  170. >"Miss Fluttershy told me that it broke during your mission so I thought…"
  171. >She drifts off, letting her words hang in the air.
  172. >Swiping at the screen, you’re greeted by none other than the enthusiastic girl herself, staring back at you from the screen in one of those selfie poses you never seemed to get the hang of.
  173. >Not the kind of thing you’d normally choose for a wallpaper, honestly, but it could be worse, you guess.
  174. >At least it’s not a drawing of some sparsely-clad beefcake like you’d expect to find on the phone of a girl who may not be spending as much time outside as would be healthy for her.
  175. >Or Fluttershy.
  176. >"I, uhm… set it up for you," Diamond notices your expression. "I was just messing around to see if the cameras worked and stuff. I also put in my number and those of Miss Dash and Miss Fluttershy."
  177. "Thanks, Diamond," you give her a shaky nod.
  178. >You’re not too sure how to deal with this sort of thing, honestly.
  179. >"No problem at all, Miss Shimmer!" Diamond beams. "I also installed a game where you can build up your own farm and tend to it. If you want I can give you my friend code later and–"
  180. >"I think Shimmer still needs to learn how to use the calendar app before moving on to stuff like that," Rainbow interrupts, and she looks like she’s trying her hardest not to laugh.
  181. "Y-yeah," you pocket the phone for now. "Maybe later, kid."
  184. >You listen to Diamond and Rainbow talk about her hospital stay for a while, although you can’t help but notice Diamond stealing more and more glances at the older girl’s stump.
  185. >"It’s gone, kid," Rainbow finally changes the topic after catching her staring for a good few seconds. "Not much to see anymore. They say I might be eligible for one of those high-tech bionic prostheses, though. You know, these new ones that can punch people real hard or give electroshocks."
  186. >"Is that… they can do that?"
  187. >"Sure," Dash grins. "Who knows, maybe I can get them to throw in a flamethrower or some shit. Everything has its plus sides, huh?"
  188. >"I somehow thought it would grow back," Diamond absentmindedly rubs her own shoulder. "Just... for some reason."
  189. >"What, the arm? How the fuck's it supposed to do that?"
  190. >"I don’t know," the girl shrugs. "I thought it’d be magic or something."
  191. >Dash gives you a confused look.
  192. >"What the hell have you been telling her, Shimmer?"
  193. "Magic," you mimic your junior’s gesture. "I ain’t gotta explain shit."
  194. >"Well, if you think being a Magical Girl makes you invincible, you’re wrong, kid. If you think it absolves you of consequences, it doesn’t. You won’t be regrowing any body parts. Go ask Flitter about her eye if you don’t believe me. She’s still waiting for that one."
  195. >Diamond seems a little disappointed, like she just found out her new expensive wristwatch was a knockoff.
  196. >It still looks the part, sure, but something about knowing the truth of the matter adds a somewhat bitter aftertaste to the sensation.
  197. >"What’s so magical about it then?"
  198. >You have to think for a moment.
  199. "You’ve got the jewel, don’t you?"
  200. >The girl produces a pink gem from her dress pocket, the light playing off its surface making it sparkle slightly.
  201. "You can call your costume with it. If that’s not magic, I don’t know."
  202. >"Hmph."
  203. >"You also die if it breaks," Rainbow adds helpfully. "And if you put it in the freezer it’ll make for a pretty sweet way of cooling yourself down in the summer. Fun party trick, too, using your own soul for an ice cube."
  205. >A knock at the door interrupts the tree of you chuckling like idiots, and the sour-faced nurse from earlier marches into the room a second later.
  206. >"I said fifteen minutes, Miss Shimmer," she whispers angrily. "Miss Dash needs to rest right now and not be hassled by a bunch of…"
  207. >She glances between you and Diamond, the girl looking like she’s getting a lecture from her mother.
  208. >"…friends," she finishes dryly. "You can come back tomorrow."
  209. >"I’m sorry," your junior explains hastily, and she practically runs out of the room, only turning back once she’s reached the safety of the doorway to bow her head in embarrassment. "Thank you for your patience with me and with Miss Shimmer."
  210. >She turns towards Rainbow.
  211. >"I’ll bring you some more magazines tomorrow. And some snacks."
  212. >"Snacks?!"
  213. >Before the nurse can berate her further, Diamond has already escaped around the corner with a startled squeal, leaving you alone to take the scowling gaze.
  214. >"And?"
  215. "I need another minute. I need to tell her one more thing."
  216. >The nurse is unconvinced.
  217. "I’ll be out of your hair straight after. I promise."
  218. >With a sigh, the woman turns to leave, grumbling under her breath about the growing disrespect of teenagers these days.
  219. >"If I have to come back, I’m calling the police."
  222. >"She’s a good girl," Rainbow chuckles after the two of you are alone again. "Shame she was stupid enough to form the contract."
  223. >You can see her starting to run out of steam, sinking back into the cushions more and more.
  224. >The painkillers are starting to take their toll.
  225. "I’m sorry."
  226. >"Nah. Nothing you could have done, I think," Dash shakes her head. "I stand by what I did and I'd do it again if only to get one more shot at Trixie myself. But I'm… glad you were there in the end. And you managed to keep Shy from getting cut up, too. That sort of goes into the ‘win’ column, right?"
  227. "I’m sorry about Applejack, Rainbow."
  228. >As if you uttered the worst curse she’s ever had the displeasure of hearing, the girl’s expression darkens.
  229. >Her exhaustion hides some of her emotions but you can still read them clear enough.
  230. >She’d have probably belted you one already if she still had her dominant hand to work with, and it looks like she just might make it work anyway.
  231. >Regardless, you feel it’s important that you tell her, even though nothing of what you’re saying is any news to her.
  232. >Or you.
  233. >You’ve spent too many sleepless nights going berserk in your apartment, swinging Skulltaker at the images of a crying Applejack until you were too exhausted to even lift the bat anymore.
  234. "It was my mission and I asked her to take it. I knew what Trixie was capable of and I asked her anyway. I fucked up and... let Applejack pay for it."
  235. >For a while, Dash just glowers at you, as if she was somehow trying to divine your thoughts by staring alone.
  236. >As if she was carefully weighing whether she should start screaming at you or not.
  237. >Then she relaxes.
  238. >She leans back, and the drawn-out sigh that follows carries her feelings more than words ever could.
  239. >Her regrets.
  240. >It speaks of the fatigue of a lifetime, coming from a girl who should—in a less fucked-up world—be concerned about her senior prom right now.
  241. >Or her boyfriend, maybe.
  242. >Instead, she’s in the hospital, kept company by a sleep-deprived mess of a Magical Girl and getting accustomed to the fact that she’ll never be a whole person again.
  243. >That the empty space her friend left in her soul is now mirrored on the outside by an empty sleeve uselessly dangling at her side.
  245. >"Being a Magical Girl does not absolve you of consequences," Dash repeats her earlier words. "You fucked up, nothing’ll change that. And I won’t ever forgive you. It’s your fault."
  246. >Rainbow takes a moment before continuing.
  247. >"But not only yours. I know you didn’t do what you did with the goal of hurting her. I know that. It doesn’t change the fact that you did but I think it makes a difference. Somehow. At least that’s what AJ would say."
  248. >She nods to herself.
  249. >"It’s just... one of those things. One of those mistakes you’ll have to live with."
  250. "I’m not really good at that."
  251. >Rainbow grins tiredly.
  252. >"Me neither. I’m kinda hoping knowing that Trixie finally kicked it will put the nightmares on hold for a while."
  253. "It won’t. Not for me at least."
  254. >"Yeah, I guess that ship has sailed, huh? Another advantage of being in here then. You don’t really dream when you’re chock-full of painkillers. It’s actually quite nice for a change."
  255. "I’m sorry, Rainbow," you repeat your apology, and somehow it manages to sound even frailer that the first time. "I really do miss her."
  256. >"So do I."
  258. >Rainbow falls asleep not long after, her body finally shutting down.
  259. >You leave her be after straightening out her covers and making sure there’s some water in the glass on her nightstand.
  260. >Taking the crowbar with you, you look over your shoulder one more time before quietly closing the door behind you.
  261. >The last thing you see is Rainbow hugging the stuffed pony to her side with her remaining arm.
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