1. Published 20th Jul 2013
  2. 21,140 Views, 670 Comments

Sun Princess - Skywriter


In the final days of her life, an exceptionally faithful student muses on the subject of her perfect and immortal mentor Applejack.

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* * *

Sun Princess

Jeffrey C. Wells

www.scrivnarium.net

* * *

She had a name for herself.  Her name was "Faithful Student."

This wasn't how the Sun Princess referred to her, of course; the two did not speak in quite the same language, after all.  The Sun Princess's actual name for her Faithful Student was a quick series of low liquid yowls which were honestly a little difficult to hear at a distance.  Sometimes Faithful Student preferred it when the Sun Princess addressed her merely by whistling sharply.  The high frequencies carried a little better over the hills.

Why had she picked the name "Faithful Student"?  Well, it was at least a little obvious, wasn't it?  Faithful Student was exceptionally, painfully faithful to her Princess.  And, why be faithful to the Sun Princess particularly?  Did Faithful Student need any reason beyond the fact that the Sun Princess was huge and strong and potent and wise beyond all measure?  Beyond the fact that the Sun Princess deserved every scrap of her faithfulness?

No, but the regular feeding didn't hurt, either.

So, that was the "faithful" part, right there.  But what about "student"?  That one was pretty easy, too.  After all, there were all sorts of lessons to be learned about the silly old universe that the two of them shared.  "Don't mark the corner of the laundry room."  Good lesson.  She had learned that one early.  "Don't eat an entire half-rotted squirrel and then regurgitate it all over the living room rug."  Another fine lesson.  "Don't bother the smelly little waddling black things with the stripes on their backs."  Strictly speaking, the smelly little waddling black things had taught Faithful Student this message more-or-less directly, but the Sun Princess's obvious disappointment over the resulting situation (as well as the aggressive series of baths that had followed) really hammered the lesson home.

The derivation of the Sun Princess's name was obvious.  She was high and warm and provided good things from above.  Plus, to Faithful Student's eyes, the long hair that spilled out from under her sensible brown hat was the same color as the luminous ball overhead.  She believed that this could not possibly be a coincidence.

Faithful Student had many responsibilities as the Sun Princess's, ah, faithful student.  When the Sun Princess was feeling happy, it was Faithful Student's content duty to participate in the stick-throwing game that the Sun Princess seemed to favor.  When Sun Princess was feeling down, it was Faithful Student's solemn charge to lie by her side, nuzzling in under her elbow and placing her chin against the Princess's side until she felt better.  And best of all, when the Sun Princess was feeling industrious, which was almost every day, it was Faithful Student's joy and pleasure to help the Sun Princess move the Stupid Wooly Things from place to place, because the Stupid Wooly Things were extremely stupid and would wander all over if you didn't threaten them a little and put the fear of the Princess into 'em from time to time.

One mustn't actually bite them, of course.  There was a fine line of deception that Faithful Student was forced to walk.  She accepted it all with boundless joy.  This was her duty; and to her duty, perhaps above all, Faithful Student was faithful.

Therefore, it came as the greatest of all blows when the Faithful Student found that she could not execute her duty.

She had seen the warning signs for several months.  Joints that didn't spring back to working trim quite as quickly as they used to.  Eyes that had, truth to tell, become a little foggy of late.  Ears that didn't pick up on little details the way that they should.  Faithful Student was, in her own way, dimly aware that this was the natural order of things.  Students grow old and gray, while Princesses remain young and strong for—as best as Faithful Student could tell—forever.  She knew that there was no sense in despairing about it, but Faithful Student despaired nonetheless.  Not for her own sake, no.  Faithful Student merely feared that there would come a day when the Sun Princess would whistle for her and she would not be able to respond.

One day, quite out of the blue, Faithful Student's gut decided that it didn't want to pack food away as nicely as it always had.  Sun Princess had responded with characteristic kindness by giving her food that was extra, extra tasty, and while this worked for a while (and set Faithful Student's tail to wagging in the process) it didn't work forever; and eventually the day came when she had to heave it all up again.  Faithful Student expected to be scolded at having violated her carefully-learned lessons about making messes in the house, but instead, all she could perceive from the Sun Princess was a sort of deep sadness.

Slowly, Faithful Student's gut began to feel absolutely wretched.  This wasn't the sort of sickness she remembered from her youth.  This was something much different.  The Sun Princess eventually took her to see the ambiguous female in the white coat who lived in the clean, harsh-smelling place.  Faithful Student was never certain what to make of this one; she alternately petted Faithful Student and gave her painful pokes and pinches.  Faithful Student found this to be untrustworthy behavior (but she did enjoy the petting).

Faithful Student looked on from the table as the white-coated female and the Sun Princess had a long, long talk.  Eventually, the Sun Princess got angry and started barking very loud.  Then she began to make choking and howling sounds, and Faithful Student's uncompromised nose picked up the distinct smell of despair.  More than anything, Faithful Student wanted to get off the shiny table and comfort the Sun Princess, but she really wasn't feeling up to the jump, or even the walk, for that matter.

At this point, Faithful Student had pretty much come to the conclusion that the mere fact of leaving the harsh-smelling place wouldn't make her feel any better this time, but she found herself hoping that the beautiful Sun Princess at least would start to perk up.  Something in the harsh-smelling place had clearly upset her.

It was not Faithful Student's lucky day.  The Sun Princess remained as broken and black-smelling as ever, even as the Princess took her to the happiest place that Faithful Student could even think of, the sunny field where the Sun Princess had first taught her the stick-throwing game.  The field was warm, the Princess-like sun was high overhead, and the field was full of good smells and chaseable birds.  Faithful Student idly found herself wishing that she were in better condition to appreciate these things, but no, even if she had been in perfect health, the Sun Princess was despairing for some reason, and it was Faithful Student's job to stay by her side.

The Princess set Faithful Student down in the sweet-smelling clovery grass of the field, lay her head across Faithful Student's back, and howled.  Moisture dripped down from her big gray eyes and the deep scent of her sorrow washed over Faithful Student as the Princess spent her sadness onto the grass and onto Faithful Student's shaggy sides.

Faithful Student wagged her tail, despite the fact that even this small of a gesture made her hurt a little.  Don't worry, Sun Princess, she said.  I'm here.  Whatever it is, I will make it all better.  She wasn't sure that this was true, but it was a  nonetheless necessary thing to say.  There was a fine line of deception that Faithful Student was forced to walk.  

Time passed.  The tears stopped, eventually.  The Sun Princess held her Faithful Student close, as though she never wanted to let go.  The warmth of the Princess's body felt good to Faithful Student's aching belly, and gradually, she found herself drifting off into sleep, clutched there in her Princess's embrace.  Sleep was good.  Sleep made the pain go away.

And then, suddenly, a thought struck Faithful Student.  For the first time in her short little life, she began to wonder what it would be like to go to sleep and not wake up again.  An impossible concept, at first.  Faithful Student still had many jobs to do for the Sun Princess, which she would most certainly get right back to doing as soon as she was back on her game.

But... what if?  What if such a thing were to happen?

Something close to dread began clawing at Faithful Student's mind.  From a very early age, she had thrown herself, heart and soul, into being the absolute best student she could be.  She had taken all the Princess's lessons to heart, and even when she had occasionally slipped up, like that one mishap with the bag of potatoes, she had always striven to better herself in the eyes of her perfect, beautiful, ageless teacher.  She knew that she was nowhere near perfect yet.  If one could really go to sleep and never wake up again...

...if she would, eventually and effectively, stop being her Princess's Faithful Student...

...what had been the point of it all?  What was the point of all her lessons, all the happy times that she and the Princess had shared?  What was the point, if it was all going to end like this?

The doubt was short-lived.  What was the point, she asked?  The Princess was the point, as she always was.  The Princess would remember all the lessons she had learned.  The Princess would remember the good times.  The Princess would remember her.

The thought gave Faithful Student a small measure of comfort against the grim aching of her belly, and she gave herself over to sleep, there in her Princess's embrace.

At least there would always be someone to remember her.

At least something in this silly old universe would last forever.

#1 · 183w, 15h ago · 92 · ·

I haven't even read this yet and I'm already filled with the aching sads.

You monster.

#2 · 183w, 15h ago · 18 · ·

Wha- Oh, that makes sense.

I expect a lot of feels from this.

#3 · 183w, 15h ago · 77 · ·

WOW.  That...  That was incredible.

Bravo, dude.  Bravo.

~Skeeter The Lurker

#4 · 183w, 15h ago · 35 · ·

:raritycry:

A beautiful tale.

...actually, that emoticon helped cheer me up a little. Imagine Opalescence's version of this story. Heh.

#5 · 183w, 15h ago · 97 · ·

>>2906611 O my faithful student, do fetch a can opener and some of that delightful tunafish you got from the market. Your beautiful and majestic ruler is feeling rather under the weather today.

#6 · 183w, 15h ago · 21 · ·

I burst into tears. :fluttercry: This is only the second "immortal's friend's are dying" story that I enjoyed. :pinkiesad2:

#7 · 183w, 15h ago · 6 · ·

Beautiful story.

#8 · 183w, 15h ago · 44 · ·

And now I am sad, and looking at cheerful pictures of puppies will just make me sadder. :pinkiesad2:

#9 · 183w, 15h ago · 1 · ·

I have a soft spot for stories written from this perspective. Even when they're not tear-jerkers.

You pull it off well.

#10 · 183w, 15h ago · 22 · ·

Oh jeez, I don't know if I'm going to be able to handle this :raritydespair:

Edit:

I both love and hate stories that deal with character deaths in fanfiction, and this was a great and touching one. I liked how it was all from Winona's perspective, and especially how it was also about Twilight and Celestia. In fact, I wouldn't be too surprised if you had meant it to be entirely about them; seeing Twilight's traits expressed in Winona brought them out more sharply, at least for me.  I know you don't need me to tell you this, but good job dude. :pinkiesmile:

#11 · 183w, 15h ago · 38 · ·

...you magnificent bastard.

I'm not, *sniff* I'm not affected at all. At all, d'you hear me. :fluttershysad:

No, it's just, *sniff* it's just allergies, you know, ragweed in bloom this time of year, gets me all, *sniff* mucus-y, you know. My eyes water, is all. I ain't crying. :fluttercry:

I ain't--honest. :applecry:

I'd never just cr--:raritycry:

#12 · 183w, 15h ago · 21 · ·

*Slow, slow claps*

:fluttercry:

You wound my heart, good sir. Wound it deeply.

#13 · 183w, 15h ago · 2 · ·

This premise alone made me give a hearty laugh. It's clever, comparing Celestia vs. anyone else to a dog vs. their owner. Okay, I guess I should read it now.

Also, calling it now, insta-featured.

#14 · 183w, 15h ago · 2 · ·

Dammit, stop making me cry in public.

#15 · 183w, 15h ago · · ·

...I'm sad now. :fluttercry:

#16 · 183w, 15h ago · 4 · ·

I didn't ask for these tears!

#17 · 183w, 15h ago · 1 · ·

A short and simple, but remarkably effective piece. Only two things protected me from major feels:

1) I've owned multiple dogs in my time, but the only one who died while I was around was sudden, very tragic, and I was far too young to remember it. The others were given away to friends at some point because reasons.

2) The phrase "the fact that" in the middle of the big feels section at the end actually snapped the flow and pulled me out. A lot of people use the phrase, but I rage a little whenever I come across it, especially in a story.

With that said, I really enjoyed the story. :pinkiehappy:

I felt the premise worked and did a good job of touching on a common subject without going for MLD-esque cheep feels. Character and point of view made the narrative engaging and believable.

I do have one question, based on a similar type of story I saw in my second-year short fiction class: Have you considered seeing how this story looks when written in first person?

#18 · 183w, 15h ago · 1 · ·

Wow, I thought I had been desensitized to the old "dog getting old and passing away," but you made me feel for this again bravo.

I love how deep the story is. I said it before, but now I can say with absolute certainty this deserves a spot on the feature box.

#20 · 183w, 15h ago · 30 · ·

I must admit, the story title and narrator's name initially threw me off; I seriously thought this would be a first person story, narrated by Twilight spending her last days in her old age with Celestia. But you know, there aren't enough Applejack stories that feature Wionna, much less stories with Wionna as the protagonist. And, from Wionna's perspective, the audience can share in the simple joy of a dog's perspective as they try to understand Wionna's somewhat inverted view of her world, which tempers the otherwise bittersweet warmth and sadness such stories bring.

But hey, anything that can make us appreciate our pets just a bit more, if only for a little while, is something to be thankful for. Thank you for writing this.

#22 · 183w, 14h ago · 29 · ·

Great story.

Of course, after finishing reading it my mind immediately went to this.

#23 · 183w, 14h ago · · ·

Why did I read this, it's just so sad but I couldn't stop reading

#24 · 183w, 14h ago · 5 · ·

this hit more than it should have, if only for me having to bury my cat last week:raritycry::fluttershysad::fluttershyouch::fluttercry:

I spent his last night laying in bed with him on my chest..I'd swear you were watching me as you wrote this, but thats just me being angry at the world and justifying pointless things..

So instead I'll try to perk up and tell you this was beautiful and able to rip my heart back out right after painfully sewing it back in..

you should be in Mortal Kombat, what with you ripping out our hearts like this.:raritydespair:

#25 · 183w, 14h ago · · ·

Ah hell.  What a way to start the day.

I miss my cat...

#26 · 183w, 14h ago · · ·

you made me start my day with crying my eyes out and missing my dog!:fluttercry:

but this was such a beautiful story that I can't hold it against you...:raritycry:

#27 · 183w, 14h ago · · ·

Aw, man. Just when I was getting over the death of my bunny. This story got my feels. Well done, sir. Well done. :fluttershbad:

#28 · 183w, 14h ago · · ·

Wow that was really good, and pretty sad at the end... I swear I'm not crying, it's liquid pride over how good this story was :raritycry:

#29 · 183w, 14h ago · · ·

This is one of the stories where the often overused phrase "Right in the feels" really fits. It was beautiful and touching and sad. Winona is a good dog indeed. :applecry:

#30 · 183w, 14h ago · · ·

>>2906770

Dang it, why did I have to watch that after reading this story...

Comment posted by arachnidsGrip deleted at 11:47pm on the 21st of July, 2013
#32 · 183w, 14h ago · 19 · ·

My first dog I ever had just turned 16. She's blind, deaf, has cancer, and lost all of her teeth. I haven't read this yet. Gonna go lay down with my dog.

#33 · 183w, 13h ago · · ·

Oho, I get it.  The end is playing on the perspective of the animal how humans/ponies live for so long, which by the way, is a brilliant explanation for Applejack being viewed as a princess.

#34 · 183w, 13h ago · · ·

sad, but a great read:ajsleepy:

#35 · 183w, 13h ago · 7 · ·

Heh. This is the kind of story I sought out for some time after reading a certain two stories. I always got the feeling though, that the ones I found didn't really 'get it'. This though. By not taking the literal route, this gets it.

The irony of the things we assume about the princesses is brought to the fore by the situation they're presented in here. For once, we see the 'bigger picture', because it is our own size. The scale of things becomes clear. What's also clear is that you've seen things like this already. It's there, in places like Heretical Fictions, it just took a beautifully crafted metaphor to make me see it.

Have my upvote, and my tears, and congratulations on that first. :pinkiesad2:

#37 · 183w, 13h ago · · ·

I don't have to read this to understand how brilliant a story idea this is. Gonna have to put this in my read later folder.

#38 · 183w, 13h ago · 12 · ·

Good girl, Winona.

Good girl... :pinkiesad2:

...oh good, a distraction; why is that emoticon called pinkiesad2? Where is 1?

#39 · 183w, 13h ago · · ·

That was such a sweet story! You really nailed telling it from Winona's perspective. Bravo. :ajsmug:

#40 · 183w, 13h ago · 3 · ·

Dang it, I don't think I've ever cried this hard for any other Twilight leaves Celestia story. :raritycry: Stupid symbolism adorable dog :pinkiesad2:.

Plus sad Applejack is always heartbreaking. AJ's so stoic that you just know if you can see the pain it must be deep.

#41 · 183w, 13h ago · · ·

Having lost two dogs m'self, I can relate to this...

Well done.

#42 · 183w, 13h ago · · ·

Words fail me.  I shall let my tears speak for me in their stead.  :applecry:

#43 · 183w, 12h ago · · ·

no, you bastard how could you do this:raritycry: My dog's middle aged and now I'm getting worried that one day she wont wake up either:raritydespair:

no, its okay, its not that ba-

>>2906770

WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME US?!:flutterrage:

#44 · 183w, 12h ago · 1 · ·

This is a wonderful story. For some reason, though, now I really want to see a picture of Celestia giving Twilight belly rubs.

#45 · 183w, 12h ago · · ·

Skywriter! Ah, I KNOW this'll be awesome if it's by you!

#46 · 183w, 12h ago · · ·

God... DAMNIT, What the hell, Skywriter.

I knew what I was getting into when I started reading, and knowing what was coming just meant the tears started sooner.

(out of context, that picture is perfect. In context, maybe it'll help cheer up anyone else who can barely see through their tears now)

#47 · 183w, 12h ago · · ·

The tears, they won't stop falling.

#48 · 183w, 12h ago · · ·

I did have a few questions.

Dogs don't see in color, yes?  That explains the part about grey eyes, but what about the brown hat?

So who's the sun queen?

And what about the industrial sized pet hair dryer?

I'm sorry, I'm just being a dick because it helps me forget what I went through when my dog passed away.

#49 · 183w, 12h ago · · ·

>>2907319

Red/Green color blind. Some colors still come through just fine.

#50 · 183w, 12h ago · 7 · ·

DAMN IT.

NOW I'M THINKING ABOUT MY DEAD DOG.

YOU SADISTIC, MAGNIFICENT BASTARD YOU:fluttercry::flutterrage::raritycry::raritydespair:

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