I walk through the front doors of the school. As usual, Flare is standing next to the entrance.
"Morning, Liv," he says with a smile.
"Flaaaaaarey!" We kiss.
His smile fades slightly. "You okay?"
"Um... What do you mean?"
"You seem a little tense."
Guess I can't hide everything from him. I was really hoping he wouldn't notice. "Well, Sunset Shimmer's still around, and after what happened this weekend..." I'm still trying to work up the nerve to approach Sunset, but I can't tell Flare about it.
He sighs. "I didn't want to say this in front of the others. You need to stop living in fear of her."
Uh... I hope I misheard him. "Excuse me...?"
"You've been back at CHS for a few months. Except for the day you came back, Sunset Shimmer hasn't directly confronted you at all. You don't need to keep hiding from her."
He's joking, right? "Sorry I can't just forget everything she's done like you can!" I sarcastically say, annoyed.
"I haven't forgotten anything. I just don't worry about what she might do 24/7 and rely on others to protect me!"
"I don't want to rely on others!" Now I'm getting mad. "I hate being dependent on all of you! I'd love nothing more than to snap my fingers and have the 'magic of friendship' make all my fears go away. Until then, I guess I'll keep being a burden to you."
"I... Olivia, that's not what I –"
"See you at lunch, I guess." I walk away from him.
Where the hell did that come from all of a sudden? He knows it's not easy for me to get over my fear after all I've been through. And why did he choose now to tell me? This is the kind of thing I would've liked to hear as soon as he had concerns. I know he doesn't think I'm a burden, but it sure as hell sounded like it!
He wants me to stop being afraid? In that case, I've made up my mind. No matter how much I want to reconsider, I will talk to Sunset Shimmer today and confront my fear head-on!
In the cafeteria, I sit at the table my friends are at... on the opposite end from Flare.
"You're not sitting next to Flare today?" Twilight asks.
"We had an argument this morning," I say.
"You two?" Pinkie says in surprise. "But you're, like, the perfect couple!"
"No relationship is perfect, Pinkie," Rarity says.
"What was the argument about?" Twilight asks.
"Nothing that concerns any of you," Flare says. "I said something I probably shouldn't have, and now she's not talking to me."
Something to my left catches my attention. I look that way. Sunset Shimmer is sitting at a table. Trixie is next to her. "Huh..."
"What is it?" Fluttershy asks.
"Since when did Sunset Shimmer and Trixie become friends?"
"That is a little strange," Applejack says, "'specially after how Trixie acted over the weekend."
"I bet she somehow fooled Trixie into believing she's not mean," Rainbow says.
Fooled, huh...? I wonder if she... No, I doubt it. She might be able to fool me, but she can't fool the photos on my phone. And thanks to Flare's outburst, I'm even more determined to get to the bottom of this. If she is nice, that means there was a time when I wasn't afraid on a daily basis.
How... How many of my memories are a lie? My phone hints they go as far back as Camp Everfree, but what if it's even further? Maybe she didn't reveal my missing leg to the school. Man, I would do anything to go back and change that. Although that's what drew Flare to me...
Is... our relationship a fake memory, too? I can't see myself being apart from him, but if we never met in the first place... And Sunset did say the two of them were dating at one point...
No... No, that's silly! Flare and I are together! My phone proves it!
"Olivia?" Twilight gets my attention.
"Are you alright? You've been staring at those two for a while."
"Uh... Yeah, I'm fine. I was just... thinking about some stuff."
With my friends here, there's no way I'm talking to her right now. Even though Flare wants me to get over being afraid, he'll probably stop me anyway. I don't feel like getting into an argument with him twice in one day.
The drone clicks, taking our Best Friends picture outside of the school. Not how we planned to take it, but it's better than nothing.
"Hey, Liv?" Flare says to me. "Look, I'm... I'm sorry about what I said this morning."
I sigh. I guess we had to talk about that eventually. "I mean, you weren't wrong. I do need to get over living in constant fear of her. I wish it was easy for me."
"I know it's tough for you, and I shouldn't have said you rely on us to protect you. I didn't mean to imply you're a being a burden."
"So why did you bring it up in the first place?"
"Uh..." He hesitates. "I, uh..."
"I promise I won't get mad this time."
"Just spit it out, already."
He sighs. "Okay. I'll just come out and say it. If it was just you and me, I could understand still being so afraid, but you have six other friends here at CHS. I've seen you become more outgoing over the past few months because of them, yet every time you so much as see Sunset Shimmer, you clam up and hide behind me. I guess what you said this morning was the breaking point."
Huh... Seems we both don't like how cowardly I've been acting.
I suppose now, there's no harm in telling him.
"I actually... wasn't bothered by her this morning."
"I didn't want to tell you what I was really thinking because I knew you wouldn't like it. Last night, I was thinking about the stuff she said at the beach."
"About somebody supposedly erasing our memories of her being nice?"
"Yeah. I have photos on my phone that would only exist if what she said was true. I'm not entirely convinced, which is why I wanted to ask her about it today."
"You were afraid I'd stop you."
I nod. "I knew you wouldn't let me out of your sight. But, now that I know you want me to stop being afraid of her..."
He sighs. "I really want to say no and not give Sunset Shimmer any chance to do something to you. But after what I just said, I know that's not an option." He pulls me into a hug. "Promise me you'll be careful."
I return the embrace. "I promise."
We kiss. "If things go south, get out of there. I don't want you getting hurt trying to prove yourself."
"Don't worry. I don't have anything to prove. I just want to ask her a few questions, then leave. If anything happens, hopefully Trixie has my back." As far as I'm concerned, Trixie owes me for what she did a couple months ago.
"Alright. Guess I'll leave you to it." We separate. "Do you know where she is?"
I check my phone. It's 2:55 PM. "Probably in the yearbook room."
"Okay. I'm a call or text away if you need me."
I smile, then head for the front doors.
I reach the door to the yearbook room and look through the window. Sunset is inside, along with her new BFF Trixie.
My heart is racing. This is exactly what I was worried about. Now that I'm here, I don't want to go through with it. Every instinct is telling me to turn back. It's easy enough to say you're going to do something, but when the time comes, it's like there's an invisible barrier that you can't find the strength to push through.
Those photos, though... and how she acted at the beach...
I take a deep breath. I gave Flare my word I'd face my fear, and I intend to keep it no matter how much I think it's a terrible idea. Just get it over with. I knock on the door, then slowly open it and peek inside. "Um... He-Hello?"
"Olivia? What are you doing here?" Sunset asks.
"I..." Come on, girl. "I, uh..." You worked up the nerve to come here and open the damn door. Just say it! "I... thought about what you s-said over the weekend. A couple of my... m-memories don't make sense, and you're in some of the pics on my phone." I slowly step into the room. "Even though I'm... practically petrified to be around you..." My heart is pounding even faster.
She's sneaking over to... a green-haired girl sitting at the computer to my right. How did I not notice her when I looked inside? She grabs the girl's wrist.
"What are you –"
Sunset's eyes go white for a second, and the girl stands up. Sunset's eyes return to normal after a few seconds, then she lets go. "You erased everyone's memories?"
"Uh..." The girl hesitates for a moment. "Yes."
So... "Sunset was right?" I say to myself. She actually is nice?
"Wait..." Trixie says. "Who are you, again?"
The girl walks over to the computer next to her and picks something up. I think it's a photo, but I can't see what it is from here.
"You don't see me fitting in"
Singing, huh? Complete with backing music, as always.
"I'm sitting here alone"
I wish I knew where the music keeps coming from. Her phone isn't out, and she doesn't have one of those Lexis devices.
"Right beside my shadow
Always on my own"
Maybe the computer...?
"If I could share my wildest dreams"
She walks away from it. I sneak over and sit down. I look at the programs open in the taskbar. No media player. I grab one of the speakers and hold it to my ear. Nothing. It actually sounds like it's coming from her. I stand up and turn around.
It's like I don't exist"
I would've loved to be invisible after Sunset ruined my life.
As she continues singing, she shuts off the computer monitor and walks over to a bookshelf. I notice Sunset in the corner of my eye walking over to me. I look at her, then follow her gaze. She's looking at the girl's backpack. She quickly glances at the girl, then grabs the backpack. She hides behind the counter in the middle of the room.
"A memory forgotten
Until the end of time"
The girl walks back to the computers and spots Sunset.
"Hey! What are you doing?"
She grabs one of the backpack straps and is able to yank it away from Sunset.
"What did I do to you?!" Sunset says. "Honestly, I don't even know you!"
"Exactly!" Uh... What? "You had everyone fooled, but now they know you're still... the Biggest Meanie!"
"You're about to see how mean I can get!" Sunset says in her usual tone. Yeah, not seeing the niceness.
"Whoa!" Trixie stops her. "Whoa whoa whoa whoa. Let's not antagonize the person with the all-powerful mystery rock."
"I don't like confrontation," the girl says. She rummages through her backpack. "Let's just..." She pulls out some sort of rock. "...forget this ever happened!" It glows green.
The designs on it look like Sunset's –
"Don't erase –"
Mmm... What... just happened? Where am I?
Someone sighs. "What was I saying?" That sounds like Trixie. "I'm sure it was something brilliant." I look around. It looks like I'm in the yearbook room. "Also," Trixie says with a gasp, "how is it already 3:00?"
And... Sunset's here, too...
She looks at me. "Olivia? When did you get here?"
No no no! I'm not ready! "Oh.. I-I, uh..." I can't do this. I gotta get out of here! "Sorry! Sorry! Wrong room! I-I'll just... I gotta go." I quickly walk over to the door and turn the knob. It won't budge. "What the... Locked?!" Very bad! "No no no no!" I keep turning the knob and trying to pull the door open. "I can't be locked in here with her!"
"Calm down, Frost," Trixie says.
I glare at her. "Don't tell me to calm down, Lulamoon! You know how she ruined my life!" I glance at Sunset, then back to Trixie. "What are you two even doing here, anyway?"
"Uh... Hey, Sunset? What are we doing here?"
"I... don't remember," Sunset says.
I take a few deep breaths. "Get a grip, Olivia," I say to myself. "If what she said is true, you have nothing to fear. Besides, Flare made it perfectly clear this morning you need to stop being afraid. Just ask her and get it over with." I turn around and look at Sunset. "So, uh... Su-Sunset Shimmer... What... What did you mean when you said someone erased our memories?"
"Remember the drawing of the Memory Stone I showed you over the weekend? Somebody used the Stone to erase everyone's memories of me being nice. We need to figure out who, but we only have a few hours until it'll be too late to restore them."
And with the door locked...
"How are we supposed to catch someone who can erase our memory every time we get close to catching them?" Trixie says. She walks over to me. "I didn't expect you to believe her," she whispers. "I saw you hiding behind your boyfriend at the beach."
"She's in some of the pics on my phone. I kinda have to believe her now."
"By being clever!" Sunset says.
"Yeah, by being – Wait..."
"I wrote myself a note!" She's holding a strip of paper. "'Check the video'." The... video?
She runs to the island table in the middle of the room and picks up a drone that's sitting on it. Is that Twilight's drone?
"Yes!" She picks up the drone's controller. "It's been recording this whole time!"
"Twilight's camera?" Trixie asks. "What are you talking about?"
When did Twilight drop that off? Weren't we supposed to take a Best Friends picture this afternoon with it?
"I don't remember doing it," Sunset says, "but I must have realized our memories would get erased, so I pressed record!"
"Ah!" That was pretty clever. "Clever girl," I say with an accent. Still can't believe people openly talk about that series.
She starts rewinding the footage.
"This is like a real-life Doc Who episode!" I say.
"The one with the Silent?" Trixie asks.
Trixie knows about that? "Yeah, that one. Without the risk of being disintegrated, anyway."
"That only happened to the first woman. As long as I don't meet them first, I'll be fine."
I hope she's not implying I would meet them first. "I didn't know you liked Doc Who."
"There are a lot of things you don't know about me. Trixie doesn't share her interests with just anybody!"
"So what makes me so special? Is it because you made out with my boyfriend?"
"I told you that was Gilda's idea!"
I smirk. "You couldn't satisfy his needs, anyway."
She scoffs. "Says you! If he hadn't fallen for you last summer, Flare and I would be inseparable by now. We'd be in the yearbook as Greatest and Powerfullest Couple!"
I chuckle. Flare said there's no way he'd fall for her.
The video stops rewinding, and Sunset presses play.
"That's my garden." Trixie is standing on the left, Sunset on the right, and a green-haired girl is sitting at the computer.
"Who's that?" Trixie asks.
"Wallflower Blush," Sunset says.
"Name's not ringing a bell."
"Wallflower..." Hmm... "I... feel like I've heard that name recently." Whoever erased everyone's memories probably erased that, too.
"You don't see me fitting in"
"Ugh..." Trixie fast-forwards through the song. I also didn't know she hates when people break into song. Sounds like the only thing she and Flare have in common. "Long song, huh?" She stops fast-forwarding.
"What did I do to you?!" recorded Sunset says. "Honestly, I don't even know you!"
"Exactly!" recorded Wallflower says. Uh... What? "You had everyone fooled, but now they know you're still... the Biggest Meanie!"
"You're about to see how mean I can get!" recorded Sunset says in her usual tone. Doesn't sound like she's changed.
Sunset pauses the video.
"She's kinda right about you," Trixie says.
Sunset sighs. "At least when the sun goes down and everyone hates me forever, I'll still have one friend in the morning." She looks at me. "Or two?"
I... I don't know... "I'll have to sleep on it." I need some time to think it over. After the last couple days, I believe that she's not as mean anymore. I could give it a shot. I mean, I pushed past my fears to talk to her. However, keeping it a secret from the other girls would be tough. Hell, keeping Flare in the dark would be nearly impossible. He knows about keeping a friendship secret from everybody, so no doubt he'll pick up on it pretty quickly. Telling me to get over my fear of her is one thing, but becoming her friend? I don't think he'll like that.
"I understand." She looks at Trixie and walks over to her. "Well... my one friend is the Greatest and Powerfullest CHS has to offer, so I guess I can't complain."
"You poor fool! You actually believed me when I was pretending to give up?" Trixie seems like the easiest person in school to manipulate. Just cater to her huge ego. I wonder if the Trixie in Equestria is the same way. "Behold! The Magician's Exit!" She throws a smoke bomb on the ground. When it clears, she's nowhere to be found. "Yes! It worked! I finally did it!" Outside the door?! How the hell did she do that?! I'm 99% sure she didn't install any trap doors in this room.
Sunset knocks on the window. "Still in here!"
"Um..." I hear Trixie nervously chuckle. "All part of the trick! Have you out in a jiffy." Smoke fills the area around Sunset, and when it clears, Trixie's in her spot. I can see Sunset outside now. Trixie throws several smoke bombs, swapping their positions each time. Does Trixie have, like, the Geode of Illusion now?
"You know what?" Trixie says, inside the room. "Just leave me in here. Just go!"
"I owe you one, Trixie!" Sunset says. "I will never forget this." Forgetting is all everyone's been doing lately.
"Never say never!"
"Say, Trixie..." I say. "Think you can magic me out of here, too?"
She turns around. "Uh... I'm kinda... out of smoke bombs."
I sigh. "Of course..." I sit in one of the computer chairs. "How did you do that, anyway?
She chuckles. "A great magician never reveals her secrets!"
"You blurted out a Doc Who reference without a second thought."
She crosses her arms. "Secrets to my tricks, one-leg."
I glare at her. You really went there?
She uncrosses them. "Sorry."
"So..." I say. "You're a fan?"