97w, 1dCoffee, Tea, and Everything Else
95w, 3dDoubled Fun
96w, 5dAlicorn Twilight
94w, 1dTwilight, Alicorns, and Awsome
87w, 3dTwilight is Best Pony
93w, 6dTwilight Sparkle
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82w, 5dKeeria's Library
61w, 4dfimfiction's favorites
67w, 8hAlternate Perspectives
17w, 1dFic Graveyard: Untimely Deaths
37w, 21hSolitary Confinement
17w, 3dMy reading list
9w, 5dThe Vixens recovered scrolls
“Your majesty. It’s time to wake up... You need to raise the sun in fifteen minutes.”
Twilight rose her head in confusion. She was not in her bed, but instead was laying on cold rough stone. Rather than a ceiling above her head, it was the black, empty night sky.
She was outside.
She was in the castle gardens.
She had returned to that place once again.
Craning her head, Twilight could see that she had slept curled up next to the largest statue in the Canterlot gardens. Towering above her was a sculpture of two alicorns twisting around one another. One was carved of smooth marble, the other of rough hewn obsidian. It was a memorial. The obsidian form was in the likeness of Princess Luna, while the other...
About once a week Twilight would wake up to find that she had slept outside. Instinctively, her unconscious mind would bring her there when she was feeling particular afraid or alone. She missed Celestia.
Daily Vigil stood besides her with a particularly unhappy look on his face, and every few seconds his feet would shift in agitation. She could see some guards near the edge of the memorial’s clearing watching over her, and near the entrance to the memorial’s plaza Rainbow Dash was waiting. If her friend had been waiting for her to wake up, the mare likely had something important to discuss with her.
Twilight never overheard the palace staff discussing her choice of sleeping locations. The guards along the hedges were vigilant in their watch, but they behaved no differently than if she was sleeping in her bed chambers. None of the ponies there seemed particularly judgmental about her habit to sleep under her empty sky, but she doubted if any of them other than Rainbow Dash understood. After all, they had all been born after Celestia’s death.
Some of the older members of the palace staff remembered the way in which the little filly that the Princess had taken on a student would trot after Princess Celestia. In their mind their new princess was still just the most beloved of Celestia’s students. They understood why Twilight would sleep next to her mentor’s statue, or at the very least they did not seem confused by it.
Really, she was still that same little filly, except that now she had lost the her most important pony. When the older staff members looked at her, it was not just with acceptance of their lavender princess's eccentricities. They looked at her with understanding and sympathy. That meant a lot to Twilight. Unfortunately, with each year there were fewer and fewer ponies in the palace who had been around when she had been a student of Princess Celestia. Most had either retired or passed away.
Twilight slowly rose to her hooves as she remembered why she had come to sleep by Celestia’s side. The dream had plagued her once again.
“I’m so sorry. Celestia, Princess Luna... Pinkie Pie. I want you to all understand how sorry I am. I didn’t want to do it, but... You can’t fight destiny. It’s already happened, so I don’t have a choice. I’m sorry, but I need to kill you.”
Pinkie didn’t even have time to scream.
The dark purple monster that they had first mistaken for an alicorn shot towards the two shocked princess after having crushed the pink earth pony in its telekinetic grip.
At first Twilight had thought it was Nightmare Moon. Its ethereal mane flowed around it protecting it from the blasts the sisters sent its way. However, its mane was not like the night or filled with stars and wonder. Where as Nightmare Moon had almost been a thing of beauty, this creature was just wrong.
The more she saw it, the more she realized it was far from an alicorn. It had a horn and wings. It had a tail and mane. But it was something almost alien.
The purpler of its coat was nearly black. Its mane was composed of deep purple living flames. Though the mane danced like fire, it did not emit any light. Its color was so dark as to almost be black. If Twilight stared too long it would seem to absorb all the light around it. Its flank lacked a cutie mark; it was a being without purpose. Its very existence caused the world to cry out in pain. The monster’s wings seemed to burn away as she watched, but they were constantly renewed by some magical force. The entire creature was aflame. But the fire did not consume it. The fire was something else.
It was not a creature of the night as Luna was and had been. The night was beautiful and filled with wonder and a light all its own. This was a creature of the darkness. It was the absence of light - the absence of good.
It was nothing.
Words were exchanged in the battle. Twilight, consumed with her dead friend, only caught some of them.
“Did you miss me, Celestia? I missed you. It's been lonely. But... I suppose you haven’t had a chance to miss me yet.”
“Sister, it’s absorbing our magic.”
“What are you?”
“I’m glad to see you again.”
“We must draw it away from the city.”
“I'd forgotten how serious you can be, Celestia.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“Not everything can be nice and ordered. This bit of chaos was preordained.”
“Stop this before anypony else gets hurt.”
“I’m sorry; I can’t cheat. Even I need to follow the rules. I didn’t make this game.”
“Who are you?”
“I know nopony will forgive me, but I am sorry.”
The beast’s horn shot out a brilliant spiral of energy and Twilight heard her mentor’s wail tear through the air. Twilight was confused when she saw that her teacher appeared to be fine, but then she discovered why the Princess had yelled. In the afterglow of the spiral beam of energy, Luna’s body plummeted to the ground, disintegrating as it fell. Ash sprinkled around Twilight as she clutched at her dead friend.
She wanted to help the princess. She wanted to stop the nightmare. But one thing prevented her from moving. The creature’s eyes. Despite the ‘wrongness’ of the creature Twilight had understood something when she had looked into its eyes.
It had been telling the truth.
The monster had not wanted to kill Pinkie or Princess Luna.
But it had.
And it had said it was going to kill Princess Celestia.
In sudden realization Twilight dropped the corpse of her friend and bolted to her hooves. As she stood the ashes of Luna fell from her mane. She had finally decided to act, but her decision had come too late.
A bolt of unholy fire streaked upwards towards the princess of the sun. The creature had turned its entire being into a projectile with one purpose. Twilight’s hoof reached out in a feeble gesture. Twilight did not know what to do. In her mind she screamed for the Princess to live. Time seemed to freeze as the arrow of fire hit her teacher’s chest. For a whole second the Princess and the creature seemed frozen in the air. Twilight gasped and blinked, and suddenly time was moving again. The creature was on the other side of Celestia, having pierced through the ruler of Equestria.
And Twilight’s most important pony was falling.
Then Twilight was holding her teacher. She must have used magic to catch the Princess, but she did not remember doing so. There was blood everywhere. The Princess’s eyes were closed and Twilight could not tell if her teacher was breathing.
Twilight looked up in desperation, wishing for some pony who could help. All around her Canterlot was in flames. Unfortunately, the dancing orange glow was now the only source of light. For the sun had exploded in a brilliant flash of light the moment the creature had struck its blow against the Princess. The image had burned itself onto the back of her eyes, but the light had already faded from the sky.
Vaguely she was aware of ponies screaming in the distance. The fallout of the battle had leveled great swaths of the city. The lavender unicorn could not begin to guess what the death toll must be, however she did not spare the rest of Canterlot a moment’s thought. At the moment Twilight’s world was confined to the pony she desperately tired to cradle against herself.
Her ears twitched, and Twilight looked up when she heard something landing in front of her. The twisted mockery of an alicorn was standing there looking at her with something akin to pity in its bizzare eyes. It’s limbs were misshapen and malformed. It was not a pony; it was a monster. Its razor sharp rows of teeth glinted as it spoke.
And Twilight knew that it was sorry. She could feel the emotion pouring off the monster. Guilt and sadness nearly overwhelmed her.The creature spoke again.
“I am sorry.”
Then she felt it - deep in her heart. It was greater than anything she had ever felt before - greater than the power of friendship. Twilight felt infinite rage.
She spoke one word.
She denied the thing’s existence. For the first time in her life, Twilight turned her magic to harm another being. She tightly twisted the fabric of reality, and then she pulled. Gone was the monster. She had erased all trace of the creature from reality. The only trace was the physical reminders of the sins it had committed.
In uttering that single word she destroyed any chance of making sense of that horrible night. There would be nopony to question, no remains to study. Not even a hint of magical residue remained. She had not cared that she would never know who or what the monster was; she had only been concerned with her all consuming anger.
Unfortunately, as years marched on, she would always wonder where the thing had come from. She would never shake the feeling that it had been somewhat familiar.
The thing that had destroyed her life in an instant was there one moment, and in the next it was gone. Her magic had worked beyond question. She had twisted existence at a fundamental level and removed it from reality. She felt the universe slowly smoothing out as the natural order was restored. The thing had been a snarl in existence.
But then Twilight was alone with just the rage. Killing the creature - she had killed another living thing - had brought her no solace. In fact she could not help but feel that she had done something horribly wrong. She was supposed to be a good pony, but she had just killed. Did it matter that the thing was a monster, that the thing had killed-
She was interrupted from her thoughts by a cough coming from the form that even still she cradled, and her heart burst with hope. Celestia was alive.
Her mentor was smiling up at her with tears filling her eyes. If Twilight did not know any better she looked happy, perhaps even content. But Twilight could see that Princess Celestia’s horn and wings seemed to be disintegrating and floating away on motes of light. Slowly the glow was moving towards the Princess’s body.
Her voice cracked as all she could do was hold back her own tears. She wanted to see her princess clearly.
The voice was weak, so Twilight lowered her head closer to her teacher’s muzzle inorder that she could better hear her mentor. She also did so in order to keep the princess from seeing how upset Twilight was. She needed to be strong for the Princess.
It was then that Princess Celestia spoke her final words to her most faithful student.
“I said you need to raise the sun in fifteen - now fourteen - minutes. If you are not prepared we might fall behind schedule. With the planting season upon us, that would make the council of farms most upset.”
The words of Daily Vigil broke the princess from her memories.
Twilight looked at the pony, with a slight blush across her snout as she rose. Using just the slightest hint of magic she dusted herself off even though it was unnecessary. When the gardeners had realized that their princess would insist on sleeping near the statue, they had taken to sweeping the area around it on a nightly basis. Twilight suspected that they were even washing down the part of the stone walkway directly underneath the statue.
She had never been a morning pony, but with her new responsibilities the mornings were the best moment of the day. Right when she would wake up was when she felt the most refreshed. The magic required to power the sun had not yet taken its toll on her, and the responsibilities she would need to deal with still seemed far away. Still, she never could wake up feeling completely refreshed. Even once the sun set on Equestria Twilight needed to maintain it. As she had explained to Moon Dreamer, she could not afford to let it be extinguished. Even if she could light and extinguish her sun at will, the lands beyond Equestria needed sunlight just as much as her own ponies did.
As long as she moved the sun smoothly across Equestria’s sky during the day it would generally swing around the other side of the world without too much trouble while she slept. Occasionally when she had a particularly bad dream, it would get caught up opposite the world from Equestria. When that happened, she would need to hurry to get it in place for sunrise, and her sun would streak across the sky of those distant lands. It meant that some other nations would sometimes get more or less light than they should, but it was important to maintain the schedule.
Ponies used the sun’s passage to measure the passage of days. Equestria’s sunrise and sunset were how she made sure the sun maintained something at least roughly equivalent to the schedule the it was supposed to have. But more importantly, Twilight had also learned the hard way that if she allowed the sun to get too far out of place it would become harder to maintain the spell.
Her magic knew where the sun should be and Twilight lacked the self control to deny her own magic. The sun itself seemed to have a natural desire to cut a steady path across the sky. However, her sun was simply too young and immature to be able to do so reliably. The unicorn did not know if she could stop the sun’s passage for long even if she tried her hardest. At least she did not think she could do so without damaging the spell she had used to make the sun, and Twilight could never risk allowing the it to come to harm. Equestria depended on it.
So some corner of her mind was always occupied with trying to keep the sun where it wanted to be and where the spell expected it to be. Even when she slept that part of her mind was still busy, still drawing from her vast reservoir of magic to fuel the spell. Twilight just wished that corner of her mind was a bit better at its job. If it was, perhaps Daily Vigil would not be looking at her with such a grumpy face.
“Thank you for the wake up call Vigil. It looks like Captain Commander Rainbow Dash wishes to have a word with me, but if you could please let me know when it is time to raise the sun, it would be most appreciated.”
Twilight then trotted towards her old friend. They exchanged greetings, with Rainbow Dash once again being stiffly formal, and she soon found herself walking through the gardens with her captain of the guard. Their way was lit by magically powered lamps - variants of Moon Dreamer’s light orbs - spaced throughout the winding paths of plants.
“So what has had Vigil so grumpy for this past week anyways? I hear he’s been waking you up an hour early each morning for sunset. He was going to to the same thing today, but I managed to get you an extra quarter hour.”
Twilight looked back behind them towards where the gray and white earth pony was trailing them along with her guards. Rainbow Dash had spoken quietly enough so that her voice had probably not carried.
“Oh that? Well do you remember last week when our planning meeting went over and we ended up being stuck in it nearly the whole day. Well after dealing with the magistrates, I ended up staying up late studying.” Twilight ignored the snort that came from her friend as she continued her story, “Well long story short I accidentally slept through the scheduled sunrise the next day, and unfortunately, the sun had slowed down while I was sleeping. Sooooo it didn’t come up on time.”
“So what? It’s not like you’ve missed a sunrise before. You’re still getting a hang of this whole sun thing.”
“Yea well, I had been perfectly on time every day of winter. Even that day we had to deal with that fire in Hoofingham and I slept the entire day afterwards. I had been able to maintain proper pacing in my sleep then, even though I was completely exhausted. Daily Vigil had been planning on having a party arranged to celebrate my first season - ever - of being on time.” Twilight paused to ensure that Rainbow Dash was following along.
“However, that morning last week was technically the last day of Winter. So now we need to ‘start all over with spring’ according to Vigil.” When Twilight saw the frown on her friend’s face, she hastened to add, “He’s just doing his job, and I would like to actually make it through a whole season without messing up...” Twilight’s words trailed off as she looked down at the ground in contemplation of her own failure.
“Well I suppose if I was waking up to that face every morning, I wouldn’t be complaining too much either.” As she spoke Dash gave Twilight a gentle nudge in the side.
“I’m just saying Vigil’s a pretty handsome stallion. If he wasn’t half my age, well...”
Twilight turned her head to prevent her chief commander from seeing the blush on her face. She knew that if Dash looked her in the eyes, her friend would know that Twilight had contemplated very similar thoughts in the past.
It was always awkward.
Some thirty years ago a noble unicorn had spent some time courting her. It had been all the talk in the courts. As she remembered the pony, her blush intensified. Twilight had been very flattered, and the pony had been very dashing. However, in the end she had to refuse his advances. It was with a heavy heart that Twilight had informed him that her duties left her no room or time for romance. Even though the fiasco had caused her to realize that her responsibilities meant she would never have that certain special pony in her life. However, it did not mean she did not fantasize.
Still as the years passed things had gotten quite absurd. Every now and then some young noble pony would try and flirt with her at a gala or ask her to dance. Of course it was not the same type of flirting that ponies in Ponyville, for example, would partake in. It was all befitting of the courts and their status as nobles and her status as princess. It was almost always tasteful, and when it was not the offending pony generally found himself - or herself in one particularly embarrassing instance - challenged to a duel by some other pony leaping to defend their Princess’s honor. The older nobility understood her celibacy, but each generation seemed to need to give a shot at wooing their princess.
Because she still possessed the body and form of a young mare in her early twenties, they would often forget that in actuality she was approaching her seventieth birthday. And of course, whenever she found herself appreciating the appearance of any of those young stallion callers, she would end up feeling like a dirty old mare. However, no matter how handsome any of the stallions were, they would never match a certain somepony that she would always remember.
She wondered if she would still be dealing with these emotions in a hundred years. They seemed so base and primitive. At least now she could date a pony her own age if she really wanted to. In a few more decades that would be impossible. Even though her body did not seem like it was going to age, maybe her libido would eventually fade away. Twilight remembered occasionally seeing ponies try to flirt with Princess Celestia, and She wondered how her mentor had dealt with these issues and feelings.
It did not help that one of the few things Rainbow Dash was willing to blatantly discard protocol for was merciless teasing on the matter.
“Daily Vigil is married and you know that. In fact he even has a son. Apparently Daily is already training little Evening Vigil to eventually carry on the family job of being the royal timekeepers.”
The unicorn soon to be alicorn tried to say it as matter-as-factually as possible. However, her friend’s chortling told her that the pegasus had seen her blush.
“You’re as easy to fluster as ever Twi- er princess.”
And like that Rainbow Dash remembered herself. Suddenly her posture shifted and she was no longer Rainbow Dash, element of loyalty and friend of Twilight Sparkle. She was now Captain Commander Rainbow Dash, chief of Equestria’s military and head of Princess Twilight Sparkle’s Royal Guard.
From behind, Twilight could hear a disgruntled voice call out, “Princess, it is time to raise the sun.”
With a sigh, Twilight stopped their walk and braced herself. She expanded her senses and could feel that her wayward sun was running a few minutes behind. Eventually, she would not need to do this. Twilight knew in her gut that one day her magic would be able to keep time perfectly without her intercession. Her sun would mature at some point in the future, and all it would need would be the constant drain of energy from her.
With a slight push the sun broke the horizon spreading its first rays of light across the Equestrian country side. She knew that across the land foul creatures were scurrying back to their lairs, and ponies were heading out their doors. For the farmers especially, it was important that they began work at the first moment of dawn to take advantage of every moment of daylight. Soon the Night Guard would be returning from their patrol. With any luck, they would be without casualties.
“You look well rested this morning, Princess.”
Rainbow Dash had waited for Twilight to finish her spell before speaking. Twilight sighed at the formality.
“When a unicorn rests, their magic can recover. It increases at an even faster rate while they sleep. Luckily, when I sleep I’m usually able to recover what I used during the day as well as account for the magic that the sun drains while I’m sleeping. However, I’ve recently started drinking a new type of tea before bed. It’s quite good, but more important, it supposedly increases a unicorn’s rate of magical recovery when drunk regularly. Its still a bit early to tell, but I think it actually works. I plan on waiting a few weeks to be sure, but I feel like I could permanently increase the brightness of the sun by a little bit. Not much mind you, but it would be noticeable. Every bit counts after all.”
Twilight smiled as she thought of the tea’s origin.
“It was a thank-you gift from the zebra diplomats. They wanted to show their appreciation for not keeping the sun only over Equestria but sharing what light there is with the whole world. The tea leaves grow only far outside our borders beyond where even the Zebras call home. Some of the members of the court seemed to think their token of appreciation was a paltry gift. However, if I keep feeling this energized when I wake up, it will be Equestria that will need to send the Zebras a return gift.”
The unicorn could not help but chuckle at the idea of an endless exchange of thank-you-gifts. Luckily for Rainbow Dash the thought had derailed Twighlight before she could begin to ramble about her research on different types of teas. It had been a fun night of study.
“However, I take it my captain of the guard did not come and wait for me to wake up simply to ask why I seemed so rested.”
“Unfortunately not. I am afraid I have some bad news.”
Princess Twilight's sides were beginning to throb again.
There was always more bad news.
In regards to grammar errors, feel free to message me them if you like. I do appreciate it, and as long as people keep catching mistakes I have made, I will keep fixing them.
The 'dream sequence' was the most frustrating part to write in this chapter. Versions of it swung from being way too explicit to being not explicit enough. However, I think I am very happy with how it turned out and hope you enjoyed it. I know it didn't tell you guys anything that you didn't really know, but there should be enough details to inform any guessing.
Let me know if the italics set the dream sequence off enough. In the font I first wrote the story in it seemed more noticeable. If people are having trouble telling where it begins and end I will need to add in a line break or something.