Red and Gold

by Rose Quill

Morning, August 25

"Do you really have to go?"

I sniffled. "Yeah," I responded. The girls were all gathered around me, including the Twilight Sparkle of this world. They had come to see me off a little reluctantly. I looked at AJ, who had spoken.

"At least, for a little while," I said, looking down. "It's been a long time, and I really want to see home again."

"Ah understand," she said, nodding.

"You'll come back, though, won't you?" Twilight asked. She was still awkward around the girls, but I knew from experience she was in good hands.

"Sure!" I said, smiling. "I don't intend to just up and vanish. After all, isn't Rainbow's birthday party already planned?"

Pinkie nodded enthusiastically. "And you can't miss it, cause I already got your party favor ordered!"

I smiled and stepped forward to hug everyone.

I opened my eyes, warm sunlight falling across the bed I was laying in. I sat up slightly, rubbing the sleep from my eyes with a hoof. The dream had been bittersweet, but I should be seeing them around Hearth's Warming.

I climbed out of bed and plodded down the crystal hallway to the kitchen to get some breakfast or at least coffee. As I walked along, all I could think on was how this might have been a mistake. I had been back for two months, most of which had been waiting for a judgment from the Daytime Diarch as to my fate. The princess Twilight had spoken as to my reformation and deeds since my ill-considered gambit to gain the magic I needed to return and stage a coup.

Celestia had declared that she needed time to consider the ramifications. That had been six weeks ago, and I had been limited to the Castle of Friendship until a ruling was reached.

I passed the door to the room that held the map table, and I heard voices from within.

"I don't care how much she's done over there," a voice rasped. "She still stole your crown and infused magic into that world. She's responsible for everything that happened over there."

Hearing Rainbow Dash say those words made me look down at my hooves in shame.

"Now hold up there," Applejack responded. "That may be true, but she took a stand against everything that happened. Ah think that shows true change of heart."

"It doesn't matter," the voice of the Princess of Friendship spoke up. "Celestia has decided to pardon her, and we are bound to follow the decree. Sunset Shimmer is now free to go wherever she wants."

I walked back to my room, my appetite fled. I may have been forgiven by the courts and the Princess, but Dash was right.

Everything that had happened across the mirror was ultimately my fault.