Sugar Blossom wasn't exactly looking forward to what awaited her at the end of the line. She had already spent about four years trying to attain fame in Los Pegasus, only to run out of money and have to return home. To Ponyville. It wasn't exactly something she was wanting to look forward too.
Part of the reason she had left Ponyville for Los Pegasus in the first place was because she didn't think that she could have really done much inside a small country town like that. Forget Canterlot, she thought to herself. Canterlot was full of stuffy upperclass folk who weren't for her. Sugar Blossom wanted to be throwing parties of crazy dancing or be singing on stage, not simply living around Ponyville where the most wild parties were thrown by that newcomer Pinkie Pie.
But now she had to return home to Ponyville - where her parents could help her out. At least they were supportive of her, no matter what she wanted to do. The problem was, her old friends - the ones she had grown up with in Ponyville. When she departed for Los Pegasus, she pretty much said "bye" to a few ponies and had left. She wasn't willing to come back and listen to what they might have had to say to her coming back.
But what else could she really do in Ponyville now? Help her parents out with the pottery and china? It was never her calling, she thought. She was capable of much more, not just selling bits of porcelain or clay to ponies in town. Her failings in Los Pegasus didn't exactly leave her in the best of mental states.
After the train stopped in Ponyville, she took several steps out with her luggage - what was left of it. Her hooves felt like they weighed a ton. She didn't want to go to Ponyville - but she had to.
She spent the rest of her first day back in Ponyville in her room, crying. She didn't want to return - except maybe when she was famous, and could walk through town and create a small storm like the minotaur Iron Will allegedly did. Yet her mom and dad still kept her room just as she left it - she thought it was going to be turned into a storage room, yet it was just as she remembered.
Everything was in place - all of her favourite little artifacts, even the first clay dish that she made all by herself. So glad she didn't take it with her, given how some of her stuff was flat out lost, something as valuable to her like that would not have survived. Ponies in Los Pegasus could be tough. At dinner, her parents decided to speak with her.
"We're so glad to have you back home, honey!" Her mother told her.
"I wish I can say the same..." she said,
"Oh come on, Ponyville is your home. Why don't you spend a few days to catch back up with your friends?" Her father said, "I know there are some new ponies for you to meet too - there's this really nice pony named Twilight-"
"I don't think I want to right now." Sugar Blossom said. "I'll...just do it tomorrow."
"Well take as much time as you need, hon." Her mother said, "You told us that was quite a trip in Los Pegasus. I'm sure your friends might be so glad to hear about them."
"If they want to..." Sugar Blossom said.
Sugar Blossom instead elected to do errands the next day. She knew her parents needed some more of those enchanted cloths that they used to clean the china so it looked pristine. Along the way, Sugar Blossom recognized a few ponies she recognized, and immediately ducked into a back alley. It normally didn't take so long for her to reach the magic shop, she was just taking extra long trying to avoid the gazes of ponies she knew. She had already burned too many bridges - they weren't going to be happy to see her without having heard of her as a famous Los Pegasus singer.
The magic shop was just as she remembered it - a blue wizard looking hat, with its brim forming a wrap-around deck on the second floor. Giant wands acted as columns supporting the wizard hat. She had been in there numerous times, and remembered the old pony who ran the magic shop before - at least he would be forgiving. Maybe given how forgetful he was in the years before she left for Los Pegasus, she could have convinced him that she never really left, or that she was just dropping in. He didn't really know of her aspirations.
The unicorn walked right into the store, looking around for that familiar unicorn. However, she spotted somepony completely different inside the store. A blue stallion, with a black mane and somewhat of a weird looking cutie mark. She didn't recognize him at all - even when she took a good look at him, this unicorn was nopony she had ever seen in Ponyville at all.
He looked up from what he was doing, and rushed behind the counter.
"How can I help you?" He asked. That confirmed it - he must have moved into Ponyville after she left. At least that was...one less thing she had to worry about, but what happened to the old proprietor of the magic shop?
"Err... hello... uhm... where did Emerald Charmer go? The last time I was here, he was in charge."
"Hasn't been here in years, so I'm told." The unicorn said, "I sort of 'took over' when I came to Ponyville. I hear he retired somewhere in peace. I heard he really wanted to look for thing-gummy-whats or something. Can I help you at all?"
"Well this will be a bit awkward but.. I'm Sugar Blossom. I'm from the pottery and china shop-"
"Are you here to pick up the cloths? Sure thing, I'll get them."
He vanished into the back, leaving Sugar Blossom alone. She knew not to act up - even if it wasn't the same old unicorn she was used to, you never misbehaved inside a magic shop. It was almost unsettling - it was about the same as she remembered the magic shop before she had left Ponyville. Only now, it was being run by some other pony she had never known before. At least that was one less pony to worry about being angry at her for leaving.
Maybe at least she should try and get to know him. After all, she was going to be staying in Ponyville for the long run this time. She wasn't likely to return to Los Pegasus with how much she had lost there. Her thoughts were interrupted when the stallion returned back, levitating a small box that contained all the enchanted cloths.
"Here you go." He said, "In case you need any magic stuff, you can come here. Same with any of Zecora's aids. I can guarantee you that they'll help cure whatever ails you." He placed the small box on the counter.
"Zecora? Who's she?"
"She lives in the Everfree forest - I guess you can say we're partners, alongside Twilight sparkle." The unicorn said.
"Ah, well thank you mister..."
"Nickel Steel." The unicorn said.
"Thank you, I'll... be leaving now. Oh! I am Sugar Blossom." The unicorn then left, taking the cloths with her.
One less pony to apologize to, it seemed. Sugar Blossom was a little relieved to find somepony new in town. She had already heard of someone named Twilight Sparkle who had moved in while she was gone - probably somewhat of a relief that she could start anew. Somewhat.
That was, until she nearly bumped into somepony. She was so lost in thought she didn't see where she was going.
"Oh my goodness, I'm sorry." She said as the pony was knocked to the ground, getting back up to all fours.
"It's alright." The pony said, turning around, "I walked out of nowh-"
Sugar Blossom gulped upon realizing who this was. She recognized this pony all too well - one of the ponies whom she had essentially abandoned after leaving the town four years ago. It was Happy Petal - a yellow and white earth pony who used to be her friend. That was one of the last ponies Sugar Blossom wanted to see.
At least, maybe, some part of Happy Petal could have been happy to see her, Sugar Blossom hoped. She hadn't bothered to speak to the pony since she left - as far as she knew, her parents had told her about her move. Sugar Blossom secretly prayed that her look of surprise would turn into a smile. But instead, it seemed to remain a look of surprise.
"Sugar Blossom? Is that you?" She said.
"Y-Yeah." Sugar Blossom responded.
"Well do you have some nerve showing up here!" Happy Petal said, her look of shock turning into a frown, "After what you did."
Sugar Blossom looked towards the ground as Happy Petal walked off. She wasn't savaged as much as she thought, but even then, that hurt. She and Happy Petal used to be best friends when they were younger. And when Sugar Blossom left without a word, it didn't really occur to her that she might have been a bit angry that she did it.
In fact, she thought of all the other ponies that she had left behind... maybe if she asked her parents, they'd fill her in a little bit on what happened while she was gone. Four years was a long time. A lot had changed. She herself had changed in Los Pegasus...different than how she was four years ago.
After what Happy Petal said to her, Sugar Blossom was a little hesitant to try and speak to her old friends. She already spotted some of her friends she grew up with wandering around Ponyville, but kept her distance. No doubt that Happy Petal might have gossipped about her return to Ponyville after essentially vanishing off the face of the earth for four years... in fact, she even spotted a familiar stallion crossing the road when he saw her coming. Rain Crasher must have still been a little bitter to avoid her.
Thankfully for her, not everypony in town seemed to be avoiding her. Most other ponies she either didn't really know that much or simply left her alone because they assumed she wanted to be. She didn't exactly have much of a smile on her face. Just about the warmest reception she had outside of her parents' home was Nickel Steel.
It was an old habit of hers, something that only matured in Los Pegasus...cafe sitting. So she spent a few hours at a cafe every once in awhile. Sugar Blossom didn't find anything wrong with that - it was a nice way to get a feel of the town. The number of ponies who walked by and didn't even so much as look at her (or were at least, visibly ignoring her) at least gave her some bit of comfort. Her problems were minor - it wasn't like she managed to anger the entire town.
"Say, Sugar Blossom? Is that you?"
She was brought out of her thoughts by another familiar voice. Sugar Blossom had trained herself by now to expect the worse - the teal pegasus who moved to Ponyville just a before she left. She simply nodded shyly towards the pegasus and braced for impact. Maybe she would have let her off lightly - after all, Nightshade, as she recalled wasn't as close to her as otherponies were. However, what the pegasus said surprised her.
"Say, I haven't seen you in years, do you mind if I join you?" Nightshade said.
Sugar Blossom looked up. She expected to get insulted or snubbed. Instead, the pegasus with the black and pink mane was wanting to talk with her. She didn't know what with, though...she was one of Nightshade's friends from Ponyville, but of all ponies, why would she be glad to see her return? Of course, she was desperate enough for some kind of friendly contact she nodded at her.
"Is something wrong?" Nightshade asked, sitting in front of her.
"Oh... nothing... nothing really..."
"I heard the news that you came back. I was rather excited to hear about that!" Nightshade continued, throwing her black and pink mane to her side instinctively, "So, how was Los Pegasus?"
Sugar Blossom was still in a little bit of shock. It took several minutes, but she finally managed to get a few words out of her muzzle.
"At first it wasn't so good... then it got a little better... but then it got bad. Then it went from bad to worse and well, I was forced to move back home. I really wish that didn't happen, though." Sugar Blossom said.
"Well, that really sucks." Nightshade continued, "Well, I hope Ponyville is a little better to you than Los Pegasus was!"
"I just wish I hadn't done it... I burned all my bridges and now... I have to cross them again..."
Nightshade gave her a rather friendly seeming look.
"So? You can rebuild them after all."
"Given how some of my friends have been acting... I don't think so. I'm a terrible pony and an even worse friend." She lowered her head to the table.
"Look, I'm speaking from my own experiences, too." Nightshade spoke up.
Sugar Blossom looked at the pegasus, head still on the table.
"You weren't around for this, but I'll tell you this... I've been sort of helping Princess Luna and Celestia with a study of theirs. And because I couldn't be doing it here, I had to be doing it in Canterlot. So naturally, I spent lots of time there."
"...Okay so?" Sugar Blossom continued.
"Well, I spent so much time there, I started to lose sight of my friends. I've been a rather poor friend to Applejack especially. She was the one who got me to hang in Ponyville, and I repay her by essentially pretending like she never existed, while letting my little 'studies' consume me in Canterlot? Well... I met a pony there who helped get me back on track of what was important to me and others. Draco Scales - you see that house with the clouds? That's where he lives. So he gave me a little reminder of Ponyville - unlike Casabaleric where I'm from originally, there were ponies waiting for me here."
Sugar Blossom at first didn't respond to what Nightshade had to say. She let the words sink in a little bit. She also pondered to herself why Nightshade was trying to say all this to her - she wasn't even that close to Sugar Blossom before she left. Nightshade was sort of the new pony in town.
"Other than my parents... I don't think there were that many ponies waiting for me... At least not Happy Petal and Rain Crasher."
"Look, I'll tell you this... both of us, we did the same thing. We burned our bridges here, but came back. You can rebuild a bridge, and possibly even make it stronger than before. Maybe some of them are bitter that you just up and left without telling them - but you'll be able to tell who your true friends are. They'll forgive you for having done that if you were sorry. It hurt you just as much as it hurt them. Well, that's what I think. You at least have ponies here. I didn't have anypony waiting for me in Casabaleric."
Sugar Blossom finally looked up, smiling at the pegasus.
"Thank you Nightshade - that's just what I needed to hear. I know somepony I need to talk to."
The Carousel Boutique was just as Sugar Blossom remembered it. Virtually unchanged ever since she had left for Los Pegasus. Hopefully it hadn't changed owners like the magic shop did. Sugar Blossom walked right up to the door and knocked with one of her forehooves. Even though she knew she didn't need to, it was just polite anyways.
The door opened by itself, showing a rather small unicorn on the other end. Sugar Blossom immediately recognized her - it was Rarity's little sister, Sweetie Belle. Unsurprisingly, she had gotten a lot bigger than the last time she had seen Sweetie Belle.
"Who is it Sweetie Belle?" Rarity's voice called from inside.
"If you're a customer you didn't need to knock on the door." Sweetie Belle said, stepping aside.
Of course she wouldn't recognize Sugar Blossom - Sweetie Belle had probably been a tad too young to have remembered her.
"Thanks," Sugar Blossom said. "Err, I actually need to speak to Rarity."
"Sugar Blossom? Is that you?" Rarity's voice said.
Within minutes, Rarity had walked right back out into the lobby of the Carousel Boutique, confusing Sweetie Belle in the process. She immediately deduced that she must have been a friend of her sister's. And any friend of her big sister was a friend of hers after all. She tried to say something to Sugar Blossom, only to be interrupted by Rarity.
"So have you been in any plays yet? How have things been in Los Pegasus? Have you met Shaved Spear? Are you in the hall of fame? Oh this is so exciting! If I knew you were coming I'd have done something to prepare!"
"Err... about that..." Sugar Blossom said. "I... I actually won't be starring in anything. Los Pegasus didn't turn out so well. I had to move back home. Look, I'm sorry that I burned all my bridg-"
"What? It didn't turn out so well?" Rarity lowered her ears. "That's horrible! What happened there?"
"I would rather not talk about that." Sugar Blossom simply responded. "Well, I meant to apologize - I didn't think I'd have to return to Ponyville so soon. I didn't think I'd have to do it so well..."
"What exactly are you apologizing for?" Rarity asked. "Things didn't turn out so well, so you returned home. What's wrong with that?"
"What is wrong is that I basically vanished and burned all my bridges since I did not expect to return home so soon. I mean I missed so much. See, when I left, Sweetie Belle was such a small filly."
"Oh! How rude of me - Sweetie Belle." Rarity brought Sweetie Belle over in front of Sugar Blossom. "This is Sugar Blossom. You were a little young when she left, but she and I were friends, and we go pretty far back. Before Twilight even came. Oh! Say Sugar Blossom - I should introduce you to Twi and Spikey Wikey. And so many things have changed too - do you know the Cakes?"
Sugar Blossom indeed remembered Mr. and Mrs. Cake - who could forget the two who ran Sugarcube Corner? It was one of the best places to have a party of some kind in Ponyville. And the Cakes were always such nice ponies.
"Well of course!" Sugar Blossom said. "Don't worry - I remember Pinkie Pie as well. Nopony could forget her."
"Oh she's still there - but Mr. and Mrs. Cake have young fillies now! Oh! And you remember Rain Crasher?"
Sugar Blossom reeled back a tad.
"Yes... I am... almost afraid to ask..."
"Well, Rain Crasher is married to Spring Darling right now. They make such a cute couple - I even designed their wedding dresse-" Rarity suddenly closed her mouth.
Sweetie Belle and Sugar Blossom both raised their eyeridges at this. Rarity suddenly clenched her mouth shut. Her eyes nervously darted around the room, as beads of sweat bubbled in her brow. Somehow she managed to turn a little bit red, despite having white fur covering her skin.
"Is something wrong big sis?" Sweetie Belle asked.
"Err... I... just... remembered something... Sugar Blossom, what exactly did you think of Rain Crasher?"
"He is - well, I think, he was one of my best friends here. Why, did something happen?"
"Don't tell him I said this but... I think Rain Dasher may have had a crush on you. It was a colthood crush! Nothing serious - He really loves Spring Darling but... I think he was quite hurt when you left. You didn't even say bye to him."
"...Oh goodness... I didn't mean to hurt him that much. I've been afraid to talk to him... especially after what Happy Petal said to me. How long have they been together?"
"Two years." Rarity said.
"Wow really? And they didn't even... I know why." She looked down at the floor. "Stupid stupid stupid... I blew it hard."
"Say Sugar Bowls!" Sweetie Belle piped up.
"That's Sugar Blossom." The pony reminded the young filly.
"Sorry, Sugar Blossom - Why don't you go have Rarity show you around? So much has changed. We got all sorts of new neighbours here now."
"Oh yes! I have to show you the magic shop. It's back and under new ownership. It's a little slow here - Sweetie Belle, can you close up shop for the day?"
"Oh, I've actually been-"
"Of course big sis! Lemme come with you!"
"Sure thing!" Rarity said, hugging her little sister close to her.
Sugar Blossom wished she had a little sibling like Rarity did.
Rarity and Sweetie Belle were in the process of leading Sugar Blossom back to the magic shop. It wasn't too far from the Carousel Boutique, she had been there before. Both unicorns were quite enthusiastic about showing her this shop, they didn't let her talk.
"...You have to meet the new shopkeeper. Do you remember Emerald Charmer?" Rarity said.
"Yes, I do, but I've alr-"
"Now it's run by a rather courteous gentlepony named Nickel Steel. He came from somewhere else - where was it again?"
"Dartmoor, right?" Sweetie Belle spoke up.
"That's right! Dartmoor! He escorted me to the Grand Galloping Gala this time we met another pony from Las Haygas - Daisy Chain. I'll have to see if she's around!"
"That sounds interesting... but I've already me-"
It wasn't long before they were right in front of the magic shop, where a pony was leaving. Sugar Blossom instantly shied away behind Rarity when she spotted the pony who was leaving - none other than the pegasus whom Rarity had just refreshed her memory on - Rain Crasher.
At first, Rain Crasher looked surprised or confused - as if he couldn't immediately recognize Sugar Blossom. Within a few seconds, he suddenly lowered his brow just a tad, bringing his head back just a tad in surprise. He thought he'd never see that pony again - and here she was shying behind Rarity.
Sweetie Belle didn't exactly understand what was going on. She looked up at the earth pony shying away from the pegasus - and even her own sister's look of surprise, mixed with fear. A few minutes later, she looked right back at the pegasus and bit her lip a little, expecting the worst to happen. What a coincidence - Rarity had mentioned Rain Crasher, and the first pony they ran into outside of the Carousel Boutique was the pegasus himself.
"Sugar Blossom?" Rain Crasher broke the silence first.
At first she did not respond. Rarity didn't say anything either. They stared at each other in silence for what they perceived to be forever. Finally, Sugar Blossom walked out, with her neck tilted down towards the ground. At first she couldn't bring herself to look Rain Crasher in the eye at all. He didn't say a word, until Sugar Blossom finally raised her head up to look directly at the pegasus.
"I-I... hello. It's been a long time... no see."
Rain Crasher still looked too shocked to be angry at Sugar Blossom.
"What're you doing back here? I heard you moved to Los Pegasus."
"It didn't work out... look, I heard about you and Spring Darling. Congratulations!"
"I assume she told you?" Rain Crasher looked over at Rarity for a moment. "It's a tad late for that - we've been together for two years."
"I'm sorry for what I did..."
"Now you apologize? You should have at least told us where you went years ago - Everypony here was wondering where you went and were worried about you. You didn't even tell Rarity here - we had to ask your parents where you went. You didn't even write or visit. You just tossed us all aside like all of your friends and your life here in Ponyville was just one stepping stone on your way to stardom or whatever it is you wanted to do in Los Pegasus. Like all it meant was just nothing."
Sugar Blossom kept her ears down, starting to twitch a little bit.
"Look, if you want to talk, I'll be at home. I can't leave my little Spring Darling around with the colt too long."
With that, Rain Crasher stepped aside from the other ponies and walked off towards his own home. Unlike other pegasi, he lived in Ponyville with the earth ponies and the unicorns. After all, Spring Darling was an Earth Pony too, just like Sugar Blossom.
"Just when you think you know somepony. I turn my back one minute and they're married. The next, a colt? I have certainly been out of touch with those two!" Rarity said.
Sugar Blossom was speechless. She didn't even notice the door to the magic shop opening and closing, or the sign on the nearby window saying "Nickel Steel is OUT". All she could think about was how much Rain Crasher had probably been holding back on her - she deserved everything that he threw at her and possibly even more. Maybe she couldn't mend all the bridges she burned after all.
"What was that all about?"
She was brought back to her stupor, looking back up at the shop to find that familiar blue stallion, Nickel Steel.
"J-Just a spat with an old friend." Sugar Blossom said.
"Boy, drama on my doorstep now... If it's personal, I don't want to know. Just wondered what was going on."
"Something I regret heavily. I don't mean to bring you into it." Sugar Blossom said.
"Oh no it happens - I'm surprised that it even happens here of all places."
After Rarity had shown Sugar Blossom around the town to show what kinds of things had changed (As well as several of her new friends - like Twilight Sparkle and her lovely Spikey-wikey), she decided to go home. It helped a little bit to see ponies who were glad to meet her, and some other ponies she knew who were glad to see her back. At least not everypony was like Happy Petal or Rain Crasher.
Speak of the devil - right outside the shop was a familiar pony. Happy Petal. She seemed to be waiting for somepony. Sugar Blossom's ears lowered a little bit - that somepony was most likely her.
"Sugar Blossom! There you are!" Happy Petal instantly spotted her.
Sugar Blossom reeled back a bit, expecting another bit of verbal abuse. The other pony walked closer and closer to her. She braced herself for another onslaught - any second now.
"I've come to apologize."
She looked back up at Happy Petal. Rather than a look of anger on her face, she saw something much much different. Fortunately, ponies were very expressive - it wasn't hard to read their emotions.
"Y-You really mean it?" Sugar Blossom asked.
"Yes, I do. I was way too hard on you. I should not have been so bitter to you."
"I deserved it though - Listen, if I knew how much that hurt you initially I would have at least told you where I was. I'd have written to you and made sure you knew. Just... let me know. How much did I hurt you?"
Happy Petal reeled back a little. She did not expect Sugar Blossom to be so brutally honest - even inviting such onto herself.
"A lot. There was so much you missed. Not just new ponies moving into Ponyville like Twilight, Nickel, Beats, Draco, and that... Draconequus Discord."
"It's a long story... but listen. I'm sorry for overreacting."
"No, I deserve everything and more."
Happy Petal actually smiled, surprisingly for Sugar Blossom.
"The fact that you're willing to take any form of verbal abuse says a lot about you as a pony. Come on - let's go talk to Rain Crasher and Spring Darling. They'll be more than willing to forgive you."
"You seriously mean it?" Sugar Blossom said.
"Of course! We can always try and start over a little bit - you still changed, after all."
The two ponies walked off, presumably to where Rain Crasher and Spring Darling had moved. Sugar Blossom must have been so caught up in the moment that she didn't even notice that Rarity and Sweetie Belle were still with her, and that both ponies had left them behind.
Rather than react with anger, Rarity turned to Sweetie Belle, who promptly looked back at her older sister. Both immediately looked at each other with a look that said, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?". They had after all just introduced Twilight Sparkle and Spike to Sugar Blossom. The two unicorns ran back off to the library. They didn't care that Sugar Blossom had forgotten about them - right now they had a different priority.
"Dear Princess Celestia-
Today I learned something very important about friendship from a friend of Rarity's"
"Don't forget me too!" Sweetie Belle piped up.
"And Sweetie Belle. Before I came to Ponyville, Sugar Blossom had left without saying goodbye. She hurt many of her friends - Spring Darling, Happy Petal, and Rain Crasher. All of them started worrying, and felt angry that she didn't feel the need to tell them goodbye.
Wounds heal, but some heal much more slowly than others, or leave a scar. I'm glad that Happy Petal could say that . I can still understand how they felt - they felt like Sugar Blossom just threw them aside like they were nothing. You should at least tell your friends if you're ready to move on, so you don't burn your bridge and have to rebuild it again. It still hurts when you leave your friends... but it hurts much more if they worry that something has happened to you.
I learned that actions speak louder than words. The action of leaving your friends behind says a lot about what kind of friend you are, but it also says a lot when you show regret and are willing to try and make up for it."
"Alright," Twilight said, "Anything else you'd like to add?"
"Add a note saying you'll check up on her next week when you have to send a letter to Celestia?" Sweetie Belle asked.
"Sure thing." Twilight said as she finished up the letter to the princess. After that, she rolled it up, and handed it to the draconic postal service, who promptly sent it to Canterlot.