Out of Space
Twilight Sparkle’s heart pounded in her chest as the hardcover book that bore Celestia’s cutie mark glowed red and vibrated. Sunset Shimmer had written her again, and much like the last several dozen times Sunset had written, Twilight had feared it would be the last time.
The portal between Sunset and Twilight’s world had stopped working quite unexpectedly, Twilight’s setup using her former mentor’s book no longer being sufficient to keep it open. While it was possible the portal would still open in a few dozen moons from now, there was actually no telling if it still worked at all after Twilight’s hasty ‘jury rigging’ that reopened the portal had broke down. At least that’s how Twilight saw it.
How many pages had Twilight wasted kicking herself over her monkeying around with the portal? Well… ‘too many’ was the obvious answer. Sunset was quick to point out time and time again that her quick thinking is what opened the portal outside the thirty moon timeframe in the first place and that the sirens would have likely taken over the school, or worse, without Twilight’s help.
Still, Twilight couldn’t help but feel she had done irreparable damage to the portal at this point and stranded Sunset in the other world… An idea that Sunset was quick to point out was a bit paradoxical in that if Twilight didn’t use the book in the first place to open the portal, Sunset wouldn’t even have befriended Twilight and begun talking to her using the book… Plus, again, there was that bit with the Dazzlings.
Twilight once again mentally kicked herself for wasting so much space on her troubled emotions.
The book, of course, still worked as a communication device, which only led credence to the idea that Twilight had broken the portal and not the book itself. With pages dwindling, and many of those few, precious pages used up on Twilight apologizing profusely to which Sunset couldn’t help but try to make Twilight feel better, Twilight did her best to coordinate with Sunset regarding how to get the portal back open, or make a new portal, or anything to keep the line of communication open.
Notes were shared. Calculations were made and meticulously copied into spaces so small both girls needed magnifying glasses to read what was being sent across dimensions via magical paper. The girls even attempted to repurpose already written-on pages… an experiment that sadly failed and only succeeded in running out the parchment clock further. Hope began to give way to frustration and frustration to emotionally charged exchanges when it seemed the combination of magic and science had somehow failed the women who were devoted followers of both.
Again, the book glowed and vibrated. Twilight swallowed. Did she have the emotional energy to read this now? I mean… this could be Sunset’s last message to her ever… and… if it was… Could she reply back? There was so little room left… though it was likely that Sunset had left room for her to also respond with what could be her final note… Why did that prospect scare her more than Sunset filling the book to capacity?! Why did she have to have this same mental struggle every time Sunset sent a message?!
It wasn’t fair… None of it was fair… But Twilight couldn’t just let the book sit as it impatiently reminded her she had a new entry to read. That wouldn’t be fair to Sunset, and leaving the message to read later just meant a lingering feeling of stress for Twilight to carry.
With a heavy sigh, Twilight’s horn glowed purple and she opened the book to near the very end. It was easy to find Sunset’s latest entry, it was written on the second to last page and far, FAR larger than the near microscopic entries the girls had been exchanging as of late.
Dear Twilight Sparkle,
I fear this might be my last entry to you. Part of me thinks I should hold onto this space for one last hypothesis, calculation, or suggestion for getting the portal working again, but a bigger part of me knows that’s not the most important use of our dwindling space. It’s far more crucial that I tell just how much you’ve meant to me. You gave me a second chance when I didn’t deserve it and taught me the value of friendship. The value of feeling loved by those you love in kind. Letting you know how much that’s meant to me is worth a hundred hypotheses, thousands of calculations, and an untold amount of theories.
Because of your kindness, I’m a happier person/pony than I’ve ever been and you’ve been there time and time again to help guide me when things have been difficult. I can only hope I’ve been half as good a friend to you in turn. I know you blame yourself for what has happened to the portal, but I want you to forgive yourself Twilight Sparkle. I need you to do that for me.
Because of you I’ve found a home where I had none. Because of you I’ve found friendship where once there was nothing but a cold and empty desire for power. As terrible as it is that I may never see you again or even read anything written by you again, your friendship has meant the world to me and has changed me into a far better person.
I wish we could have found a solution to the portal, but even now just knowing you has enriched my life and helped me learned just how precious friendship can be. You’ll never know when you won’t be able to talk to those you love again and this experience has taught me to make the most of the time you have.
Thank you so much for your love and friendship, Twilight. I’ll never forget you. Hopefully one day we’ll meet again, but in case we don’t, just know you’ve helped me in ways I don’t think I can even begin to express in words.
Tears were already streaming down Twilight’s face and as she reached the end she couldn’t help but erupt into a mess of soul-wracking sobs that shook Twilight to her core. Her magic faded and the book fell on the table in front of her. She buried her head in her forelegs and cried openly into them.
Twilight’s world was torn. She wanted to continue her work, continue her efforts to open the portal, get another book to Sunset Shimmer, anything. She wanted to sit there at her table and do nothing but cry, and cry, and cry until she felt nothing.
Twilight moved her forelegs enough to look at the book still open to Sunset’s letter.
She wanted to pore over her and her and Sunset’s work, find that one thing they had missed and finally solve this problem once and for all. She wanted to scream. She wanted to…
Tear-soaked as her eyes were, Twilight finally noticed a little ‘P.S.’ on at the end of Sunset’s letter. Not a final heartfelt note, but a request.
‘P.S. The last page is for Starlight Glimmer and for her only. Please give the book to her immediately and don’t read the message until after Starlight has.’
Twilight took a deep breath, her mind reeling with the possibilities. Had Starlight made enough of an impression with Sunset that she felt she warranted a goodbye message as well? That was certainly a possibility, though the amount of contact Sunset and Starlight had seemed to pale in comparison to how often Sunset and Twilight talked… Granted, attempts to rebridge the gap between worlds had dominated both Twilight and Sunset’s time as of late. Was this… Was the message final words of encouragement for Twilight’s friendship student? Sunset was rather selfless in that regard…
Twilight’s began to run with the idea. Was the message one of love?! It was true Sunset and Starlight had much in common. There certainly were similarities in their backgrounds that made for connections between them that Twilight couldn’t even imagine… Maybe it was a confession?! One last declaration of love before the ability for them to speak with one another was gone forever…
Twilight suddenly came to her senses and realized she was now staring at one of the doors in the castle. Starlight’s to be precise. Maybe it was the urgency in Sunset’s words, or her own curiosity, but somehow she had carried herself and the book straight to Starlight’s door.
Twilight took a deep breath and barricaded her own emotional storm. At least this way she’d have another pony to talk things over with…after Starlight read the message from Sunset.
Twilight wrapped on the door lightly with a forehoof. “Starlight?” she called. “Are you there?”
There was the sound of hooves lightly walking across a hard crystalline floor followed shortly by the door opening. Starlight’s inquisitive face met Twilight’s.
“Yes, Twilight?” Starlight said. “Did you ne—Oh my gosh, Twilight!”
“Erm… yes?” Twilight replied as calmly as she could.
“Are you alright?!” Starlight said. “You look…” Starlight sighed. “You look well beyond ‘stressed’ at this point and well…miserable. Did… did something happen with Sunset?! I mean, you two have been working on the portal since it stopped functioning, and…”
Twilight turned away and raised the open book in between her and Starlight. “Yes, something happened,” Twilight said. “Sunset…” Twilight clenched her eyes hard. “Before we talk, Sunset wrote a message for you…”
“For me?!” Starlight cried in disbelief as she looked at the book.
Twilight swallowed hard as she fought back the sobs that threatened to overwhelm her. “The… the final pa-page…” she managed to stutter out.
With a sad knowing look and an azure glow of her own horn, Starlight took the book in her magic and flipped the page. Her lavender eyes moved over the page briefly before a startled cry caught in her throat.
Twilight looked away, her heart once again pounding in her chest. She wanted to hold her emotions just long enough for Starlight to read her message… and then… and then the two mares could let all their emotions out freely. At least… at least Twilight would have somepony who could comfort her… Somepony whose life had also been touched by Sunset and would understand what a tragic loss this w—
“I’M GOING TO BUCKING KILL HER!”
Twilight was startled out of her thoughts and even her roiling emotions seemed to stop on a dime as she looked up at Starlight. “Wha-What?!”
Starlight was positively seething. Boiling even. Twilight was quite sure she would have to update all her dictionaries under the entry of ‘angry’ and all its synonyms to include a picture of what she was seeing now. Starlight’s usual purple face was now hot-cherry red despite the small coat of fur on it as she stared at the words on the page… no… Beyond the page, beyond the book, beyond this world to something else that only she could see. Something that had taught her a new definition of the word ‘rage’.
Twilight swallowed. That was no small feat with Starlight. “Starlight? What… What’s wrong? What did your message sa—”
Starlight practically pounced on Twilight, placing her forelegs on the purple alicorn’s shoulders with enough force Twilight was afraid her shoulders would bruise. “Sunset’s and your notes on the portal… And Starswirl’s… everything you have on it… All in your study?!” Starlight said, her final incomplete sentence ending in heavy huffing and puffing like fire might be the next thing to escape the furious mare’s mouth.
“Ye-yes!” Twilight answered, a tinge of fear coming over her face. “But… But wh—”
“GOOOOOOD!” Starlight shouted as she dropped the book and trudged past Twilight. “I’ll show her! I’ll show her! And when I find her I’m going to bathe dimensions in her blood! HER BLOOD!”
Twilight turned and looked after Starlight with a shocked expression on her face. Had… Had that really happened?! How could… What…
Her mind once again reeling with possibilities, Twilight picked up the book and turned it to the final page. Despite what had just happened with Starlight, she had a new metric for what she could not believe she was seeing. Written in massive letters that seemed to perfectly fill the last page was Starlight’s message from Sunset.
Dear Starlight Glimmer,
I feel it’s important I use this last page to pass on a final bit of wisdom to you. Life is short, and you never know when you’ll never be able to tell someone EXACTLY how you feel about them. On that note, I probably should have opened this letter with ‘Dear Twilight Sparkle lite’.
Face it, you’re the diet soda of purple smart ponies. I know it, you know it, Twilight knows it but she’s too polite to say it to your face. Speaking of Twilight and how she’s generally better at everything than you, how are those easy-peasy friendship lessons she’s writing for you coming along? Do you still suck at them like you suck at everything else you’ve ever done?
Best friend gets a cutie mark? Go mad and create a never-before-seen spell to steal cutie marks until Twilight Sparkle rains on your crazy parade. Mad at Twilight? Master a time travel spell and use it to stalk children rather than use that power to fix what Twilight did! Try to be a good pony and rekindle the friendship that started you on your insane journey? Fail at THAT until a catastrophe that threatens an EMPIRE forces you to get your act together! Heck, I screwed up, and I’ve seen others screw up here as well, but at least all of them and myself had an awesome transformation to show for it. When you had your showdown with Twilight all you two managed to do was disrupt an impromptu race between children!
Well, at least you’re good at one thing, being a crackpot failure! So, you have THAT going for you.
In closing, good luck in all your continual endeavors of being completely bat-guano insane and putting in loads of effort to accomplish not much of anything. It’s a shame the book is pretty much out of space. I would have loved to read what I KNOW would have been a wonderfully psychotic rant that ultimately accomplished nothing and only highlighted your impotency at not being able to do ANYTHING to get to me. Oh well. I’ll just take solace in the fact that there’s absolutely nothing you can do to even speak to me and that you get to spend the rest of your life wallowing in self-pity at your own obvious ineptitude.
Sunset Shimmer sat in a lawn chair next to Canterlot High’s big white horse statue with its mirrors on all four sides of the base. One of said mirrors once served as the portal between this world and Equestria. Sadly, with the magic of the portal on Twilight’s side no longer working, it was now a simple mirror that reflected bits of the Canterlot High courtyard.
Despite this rather gloomy fact, Sunset appeared to be the very picture of relaxed. She wore a pair of sunglasses over her eyes and sipped from a tall glass full of a light-blue liquid and ice. The beverage was even garnished with fresh fruit and an umbrella.
‘Camping out’ next to the portal like this had understandably worried her friends. Of course when she had finished her final two letters and said her intentions to wait by the portal, her friends practically fell over each other to show their support. They planned to set up a vigil with Sunset. Camping gear, sleeping bags, the whole shebang… Explaining to the girls and talking dog that this was something Sunset had to do on her own was only met with protests…
That was until Sunset set up shop like she was on vacation at some sort of tropical paradise rather than a trembling heap of emotion that spent most of her time staring at the portal mirror and swaddled in a sleeping bag while Pinkie spoon-fed her cupcake soup… Pinkie’s visual suggestion, not Sunset’s… Also she felt a little relieved not to know what ‘cupcake soup’ tasted like.
Now the girls gave Sunset her space, though they were likely rather concerned with Sunset’s mental health. Sunset couldn’t blame them. Potentially losing the portal back to Equestria and the ability to talk to Twilight would mean some pretty fundamental changes in the direction Sunset’s life could take and some very real changes to how things were now.
It probably wasn’t the sort of thing one should dwell on while lounging outside and drinking what very well could be a taboo beverage on school grounds, even if it was outside of school hours. Sunset couldn’t blame the girls from maybe assuming she was just in denial about what was going on. Heck, a nagging voice at the back of Sunset’s head wondered if maybe she was simply in denial. That her last letter had only accomplished to hurt the feelings of somepony Sunset considered a dear friend. It was possible that worse than waste the last page, she had actually done irrevocable psychological damage with it.
Sunset took a sip of her drink and pushed the thought aside. No… This would work… It had to work… Perhaps Sunset had misplaced her faith, but if stories from Twilight and Starlight had taught her anything—
—it was that Starlight could accomplish miraculous things if properly motivated.
Sunset Shimmer turned to look at the newcomer who was laying belly down on the cement in front of the statue and appeared to have just been ejected from a fully functioning portal. In fact, the portal had spit out a light-purple skinned female with wavy purple hair that contained a light blue streak going through it. The woman wore a light purple shirt with a sky-blue trim, tight purple pants that ended at her ankles, and a pair of black flats. Although this human woman didn’t exactly match the physical makeup of anyone Sunset knew, the hair and skin was a pretty good indication of who she was looking at.
“Hello Starlight,” Sunset said casually. She slowly checked a watch and nodded approvingly. “Less than 48 hours… Not bad.”
Starlight’s eyes snapped open revealing lavender orbs filled with hate and malice that quickly sought out Sunset and stared at her with a fury that could bridge dimensions. “Not bad?! NOT BAD?!” Starlight screamed. “Oh, I’ll show you ‘not bad!’” Starlight got ‘up’, which in this case meant onto her hands and knees. Sunset did her best to stifle her laughter. Starlight likely hadn’t figured out the whole being bipedal thing yet, and probably thought she looked quite a bit more intimidating than she actually did.
Starlight continued, “And by ‘not bad’, I mean the opposite of ‘not bad’ and in fact I’m going to be super bad to you!”
Sunset nodded. “Remind me to work on your ‘angry banter’ with you sometime.”
“QUIET!” Starlight snapped. “I’m going to DECORATE this place with your ENTRAILS!”
Sunset took another sip from her beverage. “You’re a daisy if you do,” she replied.
Starlight grit her teeth. Still on her hands and knees, she began to stare intently at Sunset as veins on Starlight’s forehead and neck started to become prominent. Her already fury-focused eyes seemed to change to laser-focused windows of pure hate as she shook with anger in place.
Once again, Sunset did her best not to laugh, fighting back the corners of her mouth that threatened to skyrocket upwards with the same enthusiasm Pinkie might have if the hyperactive girls was told it was ‘national whipped cream day’. After a few moments of staring back at the violently quaking Starlight, Sunset spoke again. “Sorry. No magic,” Sunset gently put down her drink, sitting it a good few feet away from her chair on the opposite side from Starlight. Her sunglasses came off next. “If you’re going to hurt me, you’re going to have to get your hands dirty.”
“I…” Starlight looked down. “Okay, I’m guessing you mean these flopping things at the end of my forelegs.”
“Arms,” Sunset said. “Your hands are at the end of your arms.”
Starlight returned to glaring hatefully at Sunset. “I’M GOING TO OBLITERATE YOUR FLANK AND USE IT FOR JELLY ON MY SANDWICHES!”
“I uh… Okay, for starters, human's don't have a flank so much, and I mean… uh… Are you coming onto me?”
“Oh, I’ll come onto you, alright!”
“... Seriously! I’m not sure if you want to kill me or kiss me at this point…”
Starlight began a mad dash on her hands and knees towards Sunset. “HERE’S A HINT!”
Sunset eyes went wide as Starlight awkwardly crawled on top of her, straddling Sunset’s mid-section. With the same fervor and awkwardness as Starlight had shown getting on top of Sunset, she began raining blows at that started as haphazard slaps at first before Starlight formed a notion of how a fist likely worked and began punching at Sunset’s face, her blows occasionally connecting.
Starlight’s frustrations finally unbound, Sunset could feel her own emotions letting loose. As her expression began to change, she raised her hands up to her face as an avalanche of haphazard blows rained down.
“Oh, CELESTIA!” Twilight’s voice suddenly called out. “Starlight! Stop it! Your flailing on top of Sunset looks like it might actually be hurting her!”
“THAT’S THE IDEA!”
Twilight rushed over to the two girls and wrapped her arms around Starlight’s midsection. With a strained grunt she successfully pulled Starlight off of Sunset and her chair and held her in place.
“STOP THAT!” Starlight commanded. “Let me go and STOP doing that weird THING where you hold me by standing on your back legs and hold me in your—” Starlight grit her teeth “—ARMS!”
“That’s how you stand in this world, Starlight!” Twilight cried.
Starlight stopped her flailing as realization struck. She once again shot Sunset a rage-filled look. “Oh you’re so evil!”
Sunset said nothing, her face covered by her hands, however her body seemed to convulse slightly as she laid in place.
Twilight took a couple of deep breaths. “Look, I don’t know what happened between you two, but now that we’re all together, maybe we can go over some of the friendship lessons I wrote and fix this between you two.”
Starlight’s right eye twitched at the mention of ‘friendship lessons’. She let out a snarl and attempted to lunge back onto Sunset, however Twilight held fast.
“LET GO!” Starlight roared. “I’M GOING TO KILL HER! I’M GOING TO MURDER HER AND DANCE IN HER GORY REMAINS!”
“Starlight, no!” Twilight cried. “Remember your friendship lessons! REMEMBER LESSON 3-B-DELTA!”
“I DON’T THINK WASHING MY HANDS IS GOING TO MATTER THAT MUCH WHEN I BEAT SUNSET SHIMMER INTO GREASY ORANGE TAR, TWILIGHT!”
“That’s 3-D-delta!” Twilight countered. “3-B-delta has to do with not using violence to express your feelings!”
“YOUR FRIENDSHIP LESSONS NEED A BETTER NUMBERING SYSTEM, TWILIGHT!”
“I’m sorry! I have a lot of scrolls and it’s not like there’s a former Princess of Friendship I could take notes from!”
Her hands finally proving insufficient to keep her emotion in check, laughter began to pour from Sunset Shimmer in massive waves as her body shook and her chest heaved up and down.
“STOP THAT!” Starlight screamed at Sunset. “STOP LAUGHING AT ME!”
Twilight grit her teeth. “Sunset, please don’t laugh at Starlight! Look, now that we have a working portal again…” Twilight’s eyes slowly opened as she stared off into space. “We have a working portal again…” she murmured.
“Hahahaha! I KNOW!” Sunset exclaimed. “HeheheHAHAHA! Isn’t it GREAT?! HAHAHAHAHA!”
Starlight’s eyes likewise began to slowly open and she finally stopped struggling in Twilight’s arms. Her eyes drifted away from Sunset back to Twilight, then the mirror which was now a portal again, and finally back to Sunset. “You… You… you sneaky—”
“HAHAHAHAHAHA! GUILTY AS CHARGED! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”
Twilight let go of Starlight and looked back and forth between Sunset and Starlight. “To borrow a line from Sunset… Okay… Just… What?”
Starlight pointed an accusing finger at Sunset. “She KNEW if she made me mad enough I’d go bonkers and stop at nothing to reopen a portal between our worlds even if it was just so I could pummel her!”
Twilight’s gaze turned to Sunset. “That… That can’t… Sunset, is that true?!”
Sunset’s uproarious laughter was enough to answer Twilight.
Twilight’s shoulders slumped. “Oh… Oh… I have… I have so many friendship lectures I wrote in the last couple days I just have to put into storage now…”
Starlight’s already vein-filled eyes somehow turned redder and she grit her teeth hard. She let out an angry, primal scream.
Sunset removed the hands from her face. “HAHAHAHA! STARLIGHT! HeheheheHAHAHAHA! I just want you to know that heheheheHAHAHAHA! I love and respect you! Especially your mad genius skill!”
“I LOVE AND RESPECT YOU, TOO!” Starlight screamed at the top of her lungs. “BUT I’M STILL REALLY PEEVED AT YOU!”
Twilight gasped. Maybe at the mention of the ‘P’ word, or maybe because Starlight leapt on top of Sunset and resumed doing her best to pummel her. Eventually Twilight regained her senses to pull Starlight off Sunset again.
Sunset Shimmer was eventually presented with two new books, one for Twilight and one for Starlight. She looked forward to writing in them when her eyes were no longer swollen shut. But despite the grievous injuries to her face, she had yet to stop smiling.