Ghola Sunset

Sep 8th, 2019
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  1. >There is darkness
  2. >Then, there is warmth
  3. >And then there is you
  4. >Your eyes blink open, and you’re immediately blinded by sunlight
  5. “Ah…” you croak out
  6. >Your throat is impossibly dry, and you blindly reach outwards, desperate for water
  7. >Fortunately, your hoof bumps against a cold glass, and you raise it to your lips to drink
  8. >Slowly, your vision returns
  9. >Everything swims around you in a haze: you’re sitting on a bed, in a room of polished blue marble with high windows, all of which bear lavender-colored gemstones set into their center
  10. >The light makes your head ache, and your thoughts swim in a dull haze as you try to remember
  11. >Where are you?
  12. >You gulp the rest of the water down greedily and set the empty glass beside you
  13. >Your hooves are yellow-gold
  14. >You run them over your face, feeling features that are familiar, and yet totally alien to you
  15. >A horn sits on your brow— unicorn
  16. >You brush a lock of hair in front of your own face, finding it red and streaked with a bright, sunlight-colored yellow
  17. >This all feel right, it feels like how you should look
  18. >But… who are you, exactly?
  19. >You try to roll out of bed, but your legs are pitifully weak
  20. >As soon as they touch the ground, you stumble and fall to the ground
  21. >Shaking, you get back on all fours and lurch towards the door
  22. >It opens to reveal a narrow hallway of dull aquamarine crystal
  23. >The windows here overlook a courtyard of vivid green grass and well-maintained purple lilies
  24. >You rest your head against the glass
  25. >Beyond the garden, you see the alabaster spires of a city gleaming in the afternoon sun
  26. >This place doesn’t look familiar to you at all
  27. >Further down the hall is another door, but this one is locked
  28. >Frustrated, you try to pry it open with your hooves, but they’re far too weak
  29. >You light your horn and attempt magic, but even your levitation spell feels awkward and clumsy
  30. >It feels like being a filly
  31. >Though… you have no memories of being a filly
  32. >You take a few steps back and lower your head, ready to charge straight through the door
  33. >But just as you take your first stumbling steps and throw your body forward, the door opens on its own
  34. >A young female dragon is standing behind it, wearing an apron and carrying a silver tray laden with plates of food
  35. >”Ah! Ms. Shimmer, y-you’re awake!”
  36. >She nearly drops the try she’s carrying, and a few of the platters on it go crashing to the ground, spilling breakfast food everwhere
  37. >”No! Oh, no, no. The Princess is going to be furious with me…”
  38. >She stoops to clean, but you hold out your hoof, stopping her
  39. “No, no. This is my fault. Sorry about that. I kinda panicked and tried to break down the door.”
  40. >You furrow your brow, and manage to levitate the broken pieces into a pile on the try
  41. >The effort leaves you soaked in sweat, though, and your legs give out from under you, sending you spilling to the floor
  42. >”Ms. Shimmer!”
  43. >The dragon rushes to your side
  44. >”Are you okay?”
  45. “Y-yeah. I’m fine.”
  46. >You touch your hoof to your head, fighting the urge to pass out
  47. “What did you just call me?”
  48. >”Ah, right. You don’t remember. You never do.”
  49. “What is that supposed to mean?”
  50. >”N-nothing!”
  51. >The dragon extends her claw
  52. >”My name is Crest. I’m a servant of her majesty. And you are Sunset Shimmer.”
  53. >Sunset Shimmer
  54. >That name crashes over you like an icy wave
  55. >It feels so *right*
  56. >Flashes of memory accompany it too
  57. >Smiling faces of ponies you can’t put names too, magic, and a world very, very far from here…
  58. ”Agh…”
  59. >Your head begins to throb
  60. >Crest sets her tray down, then reaches under your forelegs and helps you stand
  61. >”I should help you to your room. You’ll be wanting breakfast.”
  62. “I suppose. Why do you know my name? Where am I? Why does everything feel so… weird?”
  63. >Crest helps you back to the room you awoke in, where you gratefully fall back into bed
  64. >She sets the try in front of you, then sits in a small wooden chair next to you
  65. >”There are a lot of questions you’ll want me to answer, Ms. Shimmer. Please eat first. You’re going to need your strength for it.”
  66. “I’d like answers before I eat.”
  67. >Crest sighs
  68. >”I know. I’ll, um, get to the good part. You were dead, Ms. Shimmer. Welcome back!”
  70. >Dead
  71. >You shake your head
  72. “As in… dead, dead?”
  73. >”I mean it in the most literal sense.”
  74. “And now I’m here? How?”
  75. >”Ah. Well, that’s the better news.”
  76. >Crest picks up a plate of mixed fruit and holds a piece out for you to eat
  77. >You scowl at the idea of being fed by anyone, but the fruit is so tempting: a strawberry glistening ruby-red, with little drops of condensation dripping from its tip…
  78. >You swallow your pride, and your first bite of breakfast
  79. >Crest feeds you several more, and you eat like a monster until the entire platter is gone
  80. >Belly full, you lean back against the pillows
  81. >This all feels so surreal that the news you just heard is bizarrely easy to process
  82. “Better news. Better how?”
  83. >”Well, an old friend brought you back. Someone who loves you very, very much.”
  84. “That’s impossible. Even the highest-level unicorn can’t do… something like that.”
  85. >You aren’t entirely sure how you know that
  86. >But such knowledge is buried somewhere deep inside you, and it bubbles up to the surface along with more memories, of books, of lessons, of a teacher you wanted so desperately to please, but now feel a spike of anger at the memory
  87. >”Ah, but it wasn’t a unicorn who did this. It was the Princess herself.”
  88. “Celestia?”
  89. >The name rises up in you as well
  90. >Crest gives you a small smile
  91. >”Not exactly. If you’re feeling ready, I’ll take you to her.”
  93. >After you devour the rest of your breakfast, Crest leads you back down the hall
  94. >Quickly, you begin to realize you’re in nothing less than a palace
  95. >But it’s not one familiar to you
  96. >You remember Celestia’s palace, or at least part of you does
  97. >But this one is bigger, at least twice the size from what you’ve seen so far
  98. >The corridors seem identical and never-ending, and your weak legs soon threaten to give out on you again
  99. >You grit your teeth, though, and keep pace with Crest, running your eyes over every wall, every window, drinking in every view of the outside
  100. >Beyond, you see city sprawling in all directions: towers of marble, many of them supporting glowing gems that radiate magical energy
  101. >Who could have built something like this?
  102. >And why does it feel so… good, to be here?
  103. >A part of you loves this place
  104. >Your heart jumps whenever you spy those lavender-colored gems set into the windows, or set in lines in the walls
  105. >Crest, finally, takes you into an ante-chamber so large that you could fit entire houses into it, stacked one on top of the other
  106. >The windows here depict familiar-looking figures in stained glass
  107. >One is pink, one a brilliant white, one orange…
  108. >Something inside you aches to see them
  109. >This is also something you love
  110. >How can you love something, but not be able to put a name to it?
  111. >At the end of the massive ante-chamber, Crest leads you to a set of double doors, each with a metal ring large enough for you to dive through
  112. >She merely touches her hand to the ring, and the doors swing open of their own accord
  113. >Inside is a throne room of brilliant diamond, with violet carpets leads in a path right up to the throne
  114. >And atop the throne sits a mare, a lavender alicorn with flowing purple hair and kind, intelligent eyes
  115. >Her face lights up when she sees you
  116. >”Sunset! You’re back!”
  117. “T-Twilight?”
  118. >Your legs totally give out from under you
  119. >But before you can hit the ground, Twilight has teleported to your side
  120. >She catches you in her magic, cradling you in its embrace, and lifts you up
  121. >”It’s so good to see you again! How are you feeling?”
  122. “Confused.”
  123. >”Ha! Oh, you really must be! I can’t imagine what it’s like, just waking up after all this time. Ah, I have so much I need to tell you about!”
  124. “Yeah. Yeah, of course…”
  125. >Your heart feels full to bursting with this sudden rush of feelings, after setting eyes on the mare in front of you
  126. >Twilight…
  127. >She’s really here!
  128. >She’d holding you!
  129. >Your last memory of her is… her face, but fading…
  130. >Weakly, you reach up your hoof to touch her face
  131. “Twilight. I can’t believe it…”
  132. >Twilight sniffles
  133. >”Neither can I. Even after all this time, I still can’t…”
  134. >You touch this mare— your wife!
  135. >She was your wife!
  136. >You touch your wife’s cheek
  137. >And then you pass out in Twilight’s aura
  139. >Once again, you breach the surface of sleep to find yourself curled in an unfamiliar bed
  140. >This one, though, is several times bigger than the one you woke up in… yesterday?
  141. >This morning?
  142. >Your sense of time has totally left you
  143. >The bed stands on a crystal dias, and has gossamer curtains suspended from the ceiling on all sides
  144. >It’s easily big enough to hold a dozen ponies, with plenty of room for each
  145. >And it smells faintly of Twilight
  146. >You close your eyes, repeating the important facts to yourself: you are Sunset Shimmer, you were dead until recently, you were married to a mare named Twilight Sparkle, a princess
  147. >And now you’re back
  148. >You push the curtains aside and step off the bed, finding yourself in a room of surprisingly cozy proportions, despite the huge bed
  149. >The walls are only a few paces from the bed on each side, and dozens upon dozens of bookshelves have been carved into them
  150. >Each shelf overflows with books, all of them neatly organized and kept totally free of dust
  151. >Aside from the shelves, the far end of the room opens up into a carved balcony, overlooking the mysterious city beyond
  152. >You step out onto the balcony and inhale a deep breath of the evening breeze
  153. >The city— Canterlot? —stretches for miles in every direction, disappearing against the horizon
  154. >The setting sun casts an orange glow, which is reflected by the marble structures and refracted by hundreds of magical gems
  155. >The air itself seems to crackle with magical power, and you can see ponies, dragons, griffons, and creatures you don’t even recognize milling in the streets beyond the palace
  156. >”Do you like it?”
  157. >You turn around, just in time to see Twilight swoop down from the sky and touch down next to you
  158. “It’s… beautiful.”
  159. >She beams
  160. >”I know. And it always looks best now. At my favorite time of day…”
  161. “Sunset? You’re so cheesy.”
  162. >You take a step towards Twilight, tempted to lean your face against her leg
  163. >But you pause short, feeling a strange misgiving inside of you
  164. >She’s your Twilight, sure, but she looks… different
  165. >Physically, of course she’s different: her proportions are now equal to Celestia’s, perhaps even surpassing her
  166. >But beyond that, there’s a different look in your wife’s face now
  167. >The curious, hopeful look that once seemed to constantly lurk somewhere in her eyes is gone now, replaced with a weary melancholy
  168. >Twilight notices your hesitation and holds out her hoof
  169. >”It’s okay. I’m the same Twilight. Your Twilight.”
  170. “I know. It’s just… how long has it been, Twi?”
  171. >A sad look crosses her face
  172. >”Are you sure you want to know that right now?”
  173. “I think it’s best to get it out there now, rather than later.”
  174. >”3,522 years.”
  175. >She speaks it so bluntly, that for a moment your brain doesn’t even catch up with her words
  176. >But when it does, oof
  177. >You sit down heavily, staring up at the sky
  178. “Three thousand…”
  179. >You shake your head
  180. “Whoa. Whoa, whoa,whoa…”
  181. >Everything you knew…
  182. >All your friends, family…
  183. >Everyone but her…
  184. >Gone
  185. >How could she do this to you?
  186. >Twilight sits next to you and wraps a gentle wing around your shoulders
  187. >”I’m so sorry, Sunny. You’re probably thinking this wasn’t fair of me at all.”
  188. “I… I was.”
  189. >”And it wasn’t. I’m a selfish mare. If all this time has taught me anything, it’s that.”
  190. “But why?”
  191. >Even as you ask, you already know the answer
  192. >”Because I can’t face eternity without you.”
  193. >She hangs her head
  194. >You turn to face the setting sun again, just letting the revelation pass through you
  195. >After a few moments of reeling, existential horror, suddenly you feel bizarrely peaceful
  196. >You’re back
  197. >After so much time, here you are
  198. >Everything is different but, from up here, it looks so beautiful
  199. >You blink back tears, suddenly feeling joy starting to well in your heart
  200. >To be able to see such a different world…
  201. >To be able to see your wife again…
  202. >You’re a pretty lucky mare
  203. >You look up at Twilight
  204. >She was watching you, but she looks away immediately
  205. >Her ears are flattened along both sides of her head
  206. >A sudden memory springs back to you, and you lift your face and kiss the tip of her ear
  207. >It was something she always loved, you remember that!
  208. >And her face immediately goes a deep red, and a girlish, nervous shudder passes through her goddess-like form
  209. >”I can’t believe you remembered that.”
  210. “Of course. I’m… remembering more and more, now. Lots more.”
  211. >You shut your eyes and let yourself lean against Twilight
  212. >It’s different, of course, now that she’s twice your size
  213. >But the feeling of her blank against your cheek is just as wonderful as you remember
  214. >You let yourself sink into the flow of memory, immersing yourself in images, tastes, smells, and tactile feelings of your wife and everything the two of you shared
  215. “We got married in Ponyville. Outside. In front of your castle, while half of Equestria crowded around. And then Pinkie threw that party…”
  216. >”Equestria’s never seen it’s equal. Not in three thousand years.”
  217. “And Rarity’s dresses… Applejack’s feast… Dash turning the Sunset into rainbows… Fluttershy’s little animal parade… Trixie popping out of the cake…”
  218. >”That part wasn’t planned. I don’t think I’d ever been so angry.”
  219. “It was hilarious.”
  220. >”I’ll always remember how proud the other princesses looked. And how happy you were.”
  221. “I thought I was going to die from happiness. Or wake up. I kept freaking out, because I thought it would all end at any moment.”
  222. >”Now it doesn’t have to.”
  223. >Both of you raise your heads
  224. “That’s why you did it. Even after all these years, you still love me?”
  225. >”The years just make me love you more.”
  226. >That line breaks the last little bit of restraint inside of you
  227. >You throw yourself into Twilight’s embrace, letting her catch you with her long, powerful forelegs
  228. >She lifts you so easily, and your lips meet hers
  229. >The kiss sends surges of delightful memories through your body
  230. >When her tongue meets yours, the taste is so familiar that it feels endless, the exact sensation your body is crying out for
  231. >In a haze of kisses and hooves running over each others’ bodies, she leads you to her bed
  232. >The two of you fall into it in a tight, hot embrace, and begin finding the parts of each other you both enjoyed so very much
  233. >You taste every bit of Twilight, easily finding the familiar spots to drive her wild
  234. >And, in turn, she does the same to you
  235. >But better
  236. >Better than any of your memories
  237. >She knows exactly where to touch you, where you run her tongue, when to make you hurt and when to make you purr
  238. >You’ve barely regained yourself, and already you’re losing yourself to Twilight
  239. >She drives you to such heights of pleasure that you’re sure something in you is going to give way: your heart is pounding, your back is arched, and shudders of incredible delight run through your body
  240. >It’s amazing
  241. “Twilight~”
  242. >It feels so good to scream her name again
  243. “Twilight!”
  245. >At some point, you must have passed out
  246. >You wake up well into the night, your coat slightly sticky in multiple places
  247. >Twilight’s in bed as well, but she’s sitting on the far corner, still awake and watching you
  248. >She looks away immediately
  249. >”Sorry. I thought you were asleep.”
  250. “I was. That was… wow.”
  251. >”It was amazing. Getting to be with you like this, again, is… all I’ve dreamed about.”
  252. >Twilight rubs her hoof against the bedspread
  253. >She sounds like she wants to say something more, but she stays silent
  254. >You scoot over next to her and rest your head against her
  255. “Aren’t you tired?”
  256. >A slightly self-conscious smile touches her lips
  257. >”Not really. My endurance is pretty great, in this body.”
  258. “I’ll say. I thought you were going to snap me in half.”
  259. >”Heh. Sorry. I just got a little carried away.”
  260. “No, don’t be sorry. That was amazing. And I think I’ll be ready for a little more, after I recover a bit.”
  261. >”Don’t you think you should sleep?”
  262. “Nah. I’ve slept for over three thousand years. I want to do everything!”
  263. >Suddenly, your eyes fix on Twilight’s wings
  264. “Hey… remember how you used to carry me, while you flew?”
  265. >Twilight immediately perks up at the idea
  266. >”Of course!”
  267. “Do you think you could do that again? I want to see this new world. And I want to see the city you made.”
  268. >Twilight beams
  269. >”I knew you would. Ah, this is so exciting!”
  270. >She jumps from the bed to the floor, dancing from hoof to hoof like the excitable Twilight you fell in love with
  271. >”I’ll show you everything, Sunset. This whole city, it’s my gift for you.”
  272. “For… me?”
  273. >For a second, you also catch a glimpse of a different kind of Twilight, one you also knew from time to time
  274. >A slightly crazed tone enters her voice, but passes quickly
  275. >”A happy, peaceful Equestria, open to everyone. From any dimension.”
  276. “Whoa. You mean, the portals?”
  277. >”They’re open! Anyone can live here. I wanted an Equestria you could be proud of. A perfect one, one you’d never want to leave.”
  278. “Anyplace with you is perfect.”
  279. >”Aww…”
  280. >Twilight sniffles
  281. >Tears are welling in your eyes, and you’re having difficulty holding them back
  282. >But Twilight’s eyes, you notice, are totally dry
  283. >You don’t have time to think too much about that, though, because Twilight holds out her hoof to you
  284. >”You’re all this new Equestria was missing, Sunset. And I want you to see it. I want you to be a part of it. I’m so, so happy to have you here.”
  285. >She embraces you, then lifts you onto her back with her magic
  286. >And together, the two of you take to the skies, soaring out the bedroom window and into the city beyond
  288. >Out over the horizon, the sun is just beginning to poke up over the rows of towers, scattering silver light over the city below the two of you
  289. >Twilight flies high, letting you take in as much of the view as possible
  290. >”Huge” doesn’t even begin to describe what you’re looking at
  291. >The city surrounds what used to be Canterlot’s mountain
  292. >But the former capital of Equestria no longer resides on the mountainside; instead, the mountain itself has been hollowed out, with Twilight’s crystal palace having been grown into the base of the rock itself
  293. >Atop the mountain, the peak has been ground into a flat surface, and atop that surface stand six statues of pure, colored crystal
  294. >One white, one pink, one orange, one yellow, one blue, and a different shape than the others, in an alternating pattern of purple and green
  295. >Even from here, it’s easy to tell who they are
  296. “You never forgot them, did you?”
  297. >”I never could. I still miss them every day.”
  298. >Twilight circles around the statues, letting you admire them
  299. >Your friends’ likenesses are captured perfectly, from Pinkie’s cheery grin to Rarity’s coy, confident stare
  300. >Your heart aches to see them
  301. >Twilight flies out further from the mountain, taking you out over the city
  302. >She flies a little lower now, letting you admire the alabaster structures and clean cobblestone streets
  303. >Below you, ponies, griffons, dragons… all races of Equestria are milling about, looking generally satisfied
  304. >Some early-morning pegasi are already taking to the air, but they practically fall out of the sky when they see the two of you
  305. >”It’s the princess!” one young mare calls out. “Twilight Sparkle! It’s Twilight!”
  306. >Suddenly, everyone is staring at the two of you
  307. >They raise hooves, claws, anything to cheer for you
  308. >Twilight blushes
  309. >”I, um, don’t really know how I got this popular.”
  310. “If you built all this, then I’m not really surprised. You’re amazing, Twi.”
  311. >Twilight beams
  312. >She greets her citizens with an elegant smile, looking very much like another princess you both remember, and then flies onward
  313. >More statues pass by below you
  314. >Luna, Cadance, Flurry Heart, Shining Armor…
  315. >Each are impressive, standing well over a hundred feet and constructed from dazzling metals and inlaid with colored gems
  316. >Though, you can’t help but notice that they aren’t the equals of the statues commemorating Twilight’s friends…
  317. >Gradually, the two of you reach a plaza, where sparkling fountains and stalls of fresh fruits and fine silks surround a towering statue
  318. >And this statue is also someone you recognize, and remember fondly
  319. “Princess Celestia.””
  320. >”I felt it was proper to give her her own place of honor.”
  321. >The two of you touch down at Celestia’s hooves, staring up at the massive alicorn
  322. >She’s built from white marble, and her mane is a near-impossible construct of three different bands of crystal
  323. >The rising sun catches in the stone and reflects dazzling colors for miles all around
  324. >Ponies in the plaza are quickly flocking around the two of you
  325. >Twilight quickly shields you with her wings
  326. >”Um, I hate to ask. But, would you be okay wearing this for me?”
  327. >Twilight conjures a small ring, just a simple red-gold band, and levitates it towards you
  328. “What is it?”
  329. >”It’s a glamor. A simple magical disguise, but one nobody but me can see through. I just don’t want any historians freaking out when they—“
  330. “Right, right.”
  331. >Seeing the princess’s bride from 3,500 years ago alive and walking around might raise some questions
  332. >”I’m sorry. I promise, you’ll look like the same Sunset to me.”
  333. “No, it’s okay. It’s like a brand-new wedding ring.”
  334. >You slip the ring onto your horn
  335. >When you look down at your hooves, they’re a pearly white
  336. >Your mane is pink and lustrous, and you feel a bit taller
  337. >”You look beautiful,” Twilight says
  338. >She kisses you, then sets you down just as a crowd is starting to form around her
  339. >They stare at her with awe, love, and a bit of fear
  340. >It’s different from the way ponies tended to react to Celestia, you remember
  341. >She was more of a celebrity, whereas they seem to treat Twilight almost like a goddess
  342. >Twilight bows before her subjects, full of grace and love
  343. >They approach her slowly, unable to find words, only wanting to raise a hoof, claw, or whatever to touch her
  344. >Twilight spreads her wings and basks in the attention
  345. >In front of them, she becomes a very different Twilight from the one you know
  346. >Pure magic seems to radiate outwards from her, and her royal presence settles in over the crowd
  347. >Even you, the mare making love to her just hours ago, feel an urge to join them in bowing before her
  348. >It’s exhilarating, and slightly terrifying
  349. >You keep close to Twilight, hiding in her shadow
  350. >Funny; you remember being the strong, confident one who had to protect shy little her, in a very different world…
  351. >And you remember when the whole student body of CHS was practically fighting over who got to kiss your boots, while Twilight some purple weirdo
  352. >Now, here you are…
  353. >Hiding behind her flank while she basks in the love of her citizens
  354. >However, there is a single pair of eyes focused on you
  355. >It takes you a moment to realize, since you’re mostly staring at the ground
  356. >But when you look up, you notice a mare watching you intently
  357. >She looks incredible familiar: blue coat, silver-white mane, purple-blue eyes…
  358. >Trixie?
  359. >But the mare has disappeared into the crowd before you get a chance to call out to her
  360. “Hey,” you whisper to Twilight. “Can we go?”
  361. >”Go? Oh, of course.”
  362. >She sounds strange, like her mind is somewhere far away
  363. >However, she quickly snaps back to reality, lifts you up, and carries you away
  365. >You land together in a quiet section of the city
  366. >At this early hour, nobody is really around, save for a single elderly griffon, who nearly has a heart attack when he sees the two of you
  367. >Twilight sets you down at the base of another statue, this one of a familiar-looking unicorn
  368. “Starlight. Starlight Glimmer, right?”
  369. >Twilight nods
  370. >”You don’t remember her?”
  371. >You squeeze your eyes shut
  372. >Memories of Starlight are there, but they’re strangely hazy
  373. >You remember generally liking her, but… that’s about it
  374. >You can’t even remember any specific time the two of you actually met, but you do know you knew who she was
  375. >Her statue is plain, compared to the others, just polished granite
  376. >Somehow that feels… right
  377. >Beyond her, the domed shape of a massive six-story library rises into the sky, nearly as tall as the statue itself
  378. “Starlight Glimmer Memorial Library,” you read
  379. >”A lot of this is thanks to her. She drafted a lot of the early ideas, but didn’t have the magical power to make them reality. I did. And I’ve had a lot of time to improve her original designs.”
  380. “Designs for… what, exactly?”
  381. >”For the city. Oh! I still haven’t told you its name!”
  382. >Twilight beams with pride
  383. >”Come on! Agh, there’s still so much to tell you…”
  384. >She scoops you up in her magical aura and takes to the skies again
  385. >The two of you land atop the library’s main glass dome, where a fat, healthy oak tree is kept growing in a small, magically enclosed terrarium
  386. >And built into the tree is a small, cozy wooden balcony, with a telescope and a comfortable reading chair: Alicorn-sized, of course
  387. “This place. I’ve seen it before.”
  388. >”Only in pictures. The original was… destroyed.”
  389. “That’s right. Tirek?”
  390. >How do you remember Tirek, but not Starlight?
  391. >”Tirek.”
  392. “Is he even still around?”
  393. >”No.”
  394. >Twilight doesn’t elaborate on that, and she quickly changes the subject
  395. >”I wanted to name it after you, but you wouldn’t have appreciated that.”
  396. “Heh, you got me there.”
  397. >”And naming it after Celestia seemed wrong. Same with my own name. So I tried to think about what’s most important to me, to Equestria, to all of us. So… welcome to Harmony!”
  398. “Whoa, that’s perfect!”
  399. >”I knew you’d like it,” Twilight says, beaming. “With Starlight’s designs, we started incorporating magic into the architecture of the city. Wardstones from the Crystal Empire amplify and store the magic I share with the city, and then can channel it into spells I’ve set up all over the city.”
  400. “Spells for what?”
  401. >”For everything! They can create food. Purify water. Cure sick or injured ponies. Preserve important books. Anything I need them to do.”
  402. >Twilight is getting that same giddy look she always used to get when she would explain magic to you
  403. >It’s funny, even after 3,500 years that look still makes your heart tremble with love
  404. >But something about this seems… wrong
  405. >Almost too perfect
  406. “And they’re using your magic to do this?”
  407. >”Yep! All me!”
  408. >Twilight touches her hoof to her chest
  409. >”When I first became an alicorn, nothing really felt different, aside from the wings. But my magical output just keeps growing and growing. And it keeps the city growing too. All I have to do is let the Wardstones siphon a little bit of my magic, and everything stays like this. Peaceful. Perfect.”
  410. “But… what will they do if they don’t have you?”
  411. >”What do you mean?”
  412. >Twilight’s smile fades slightly
  413. “I’m sorry. This is amazing, Twilight. It really is. But I guess I just… I haven’t seen Celestia. Or Luna. And I worry that you won’t be around to keep this city together forever.”
  414. >”I can be if I want to.”
  415. >Suddenly Twilight’s voice sounds flat, missing all that girlish, Twilight-ish excitement from earlier
  416. >Now, she sounds very, very old
  417. >”Celestia and Luna are still around. Just not the way you would remember them.”
  418. “Where are they?”
  419. >Twilight looks up
  420. >”They passed on. Into the heavens. Alicorns really are immortal, but we can choose to give up on this shape, and return to our element. I can feel eternity inside myself, like I’m holding time itself in my hooves. It’s heavy. And it’s hard.”
  421. >Twilight rests her head atop yours
  422. >”I miss them. Our friends. I miss Ponyville and Canterlot. I miss when there was still magic to learn. Now, it feels almost like I know everything.”
  423. “Everything? Come on, Twi, you’re smart, but let’s… oh.”
  424. >Something about the expression on Twilight’s face steals your words away from you
  425. >”I thought the same thing. But I’ve had a long, long time to study, Sunset. And magic has only gotten easier for me. Now, it’s like I don’t even need spells anymore. All I have to do is focus, and I can create anything I want.”
  426. “Is that… how you brought me back?”
  427. >Twilight takes a moment to respond
  428. >As silence stretches between you, a gentle breeze ripples through the canopy of tree branches above your heads
  429. >”Yes,” she finally says. “I needed you back, and I brought you back.”
  430. “And will I be like you? Immortal?”
  431. >Twilight sighs
  432. >”I don’t know.”
  433. >Both of you look away from each other
  434. >Twilight gently touches her hoof to yours
  435. >”But whatever time we get together, it will worth the world to me.”
  436. “Right. I guess this is all just… still a lot. Would you be okay if we went home— er, back to the palace?”
  437. >”It is your home now, Sunset. Our home.”
  438. >Twilight pulls you against her
  439. >”I promise, you’ll have everything you want there. We’ll be so, so comfortable together.”
  440. >Twilight takes wing again, holding you on her back as she flies back towards the massive mountain in the center of the city
  441. >It occurs to you that she could probably teleport you back, but she must want you to see the her creation
  442. >Harmony really is an amazing city, but…
  443. >You aren’t really sure why it bothers you
  444. >Everything seems perfect, as long as they have Twilight
  445. >But will they always have her, like she says?
  446. >You gently run your hand along Twilight’s back
  447. >She’s pure muscle beneath her soft, violet coat, and that muscle flexes intimidatingly beneath you as her wings beat
  448. >Her body is so different now
  449. >After three and a half millennia, is she even still your Twilight?
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