“There's never one sunrise the same or one sunset the same.” Carlos Santana
A brilliant amber colored unicorn with cyan eyes trotted through the hallways of the castle, her red and golden mane and tail shook violently with each step. Sunset Shimmer, protégé of Princess Celestia was not happy, in fact she was furious.
Nothing was going as planned for her since a few days ago, the project she had been going to work on ended up destroyed by some kind of sonic explosion. Luckily for her, the princess was kind enough to let her continue under her wing, even when she shouldn’t have continued going behind her mentor's back. It had taken a lot of apologies and tears to get away from expulsion being her punishment.
Then the stars had decided to stop listening to her mentor's command, and all went to Tartarus. Her sleeping schedule was a mess because of two days of continued research about prophecies and star related tales. Everything just to apologize for her little rebellion phase, as Cadance had called it. Or as her mentor had called it during her disappointed talk when the stupid mirror had broken, a stupid obsession.
Having been Princess Celestia’s student for three years now, she was confident that nopony could surpass her magical talent and genius, although lately her mentor was bothering her about learning some humility. Now, during her morning lesson, her beloved mentor had just told her that she had gotten a new student. For Sunset this meant trouble, somepony could take her place if she wasn't careful, especially since the incident.
The position of Princess Celestia's protégé was her pride, the castle her home, the princess her mentor, and she would fight anypony she had to, to keep it like that. Celestia ensured her that the decision of getting a new student was taken before learning of Sunset’s research, but it still made her cautious of her actions.
She was responsible for hatching the baby dragon Cadance is taking care of. I don't even know her and I already don’t like her for jeopardizing my future. Sunset thought as she kept trotting through the hallways on the way to her mentor’s chambers to meet the Usurper soon after.
Stopping at the door of Princess Celestia’s personal chambers, the guards at the door didn't move as they payed attention to her, and said nothing. Sunset took a deep breath and knocked at the door.
“Princess, it’s Sunset,” said the unicorn as she prepared herself.
“Please come in Sunset,” responded Celestia on the other side of the door.
Celestia enjoyed the view from the balcony as the sun started to set. After Sunset entered the room she walked to Princess Celestia’s side. Princess Celestia closed her eyes and concentrated to raise the moon and start the night. Both mares knew it had become a delicate time these past couple of days.
The night took place in the sky accompanied by a curtain of stars as the moon raised and shone with the shadow in the shape of a mare in sight. It was a peaceful night as the wind blew around them, Celestia thought she caught some kind of melody in it with her sensitive hearing, but placed her attention back to Sunset and the matter at hoof.
Both mares stared on in awkward silence as they sat next to the table where the tea was served. Celestia drank her tea, enjoying the taste with her eyes close, Sunset wasn’t that comfortable drinking her tea, trying to avert her attention from the princess, her ears bent down as the time being ignored increased.
Breaking the silence, Sunset asked with her eyes reflected her worries, “Do you want me to apologize again?”
“That won't be necessary,” Princess Celestia responded opening her eyes and placing the cup back on the table, “I’m quite aware that you learned your lesson, but it’ll take time until you regain my trust.”
Lowering her head, Sunset felt depressed, this was the first time since being Princess Celestia’s protégé that her mentor was so cold to her. Being obsessed with gaining power wasn’t a problem until the mirror incident.
She should have known better, the princess was not going to let her learn anything significant until she could prove it wouldn’t happen again, and had learned her lesson for real.
Taking a moment to analyze Sunset’s behavior, Celestia spoke again, “That’s why I think it’s necessary to start over again between both of us,” Sunset feared the worst possible outcome, “I’ll be taking care of a new student as you know, and you will take some classes with her. I’m sure you will learn what you need, and in the process earn my trust as you grow into a better mare with her.”
Sunset was flabbergasted by the princesses’ words, you will take some classes with her, those words echo in Sunset mind, she couldn’t believe it, her mentor had just sent her to start her classes all over again. You gotta be kidding me, going back and starting all over with some filly as a classmate… She just didn't understand what good she would get doing something like that. “Why?” was the only word she could voice.
“Don’t get me wrong Sunset, I’m not degrading you. You will continue your original studies with me, but will be taking new classes together with Twilight. I know you will learn from one another,” Celestia said as she gave a soft smile to Sunset.
“What can I possible learn from a filly?” Sunset responded, annoyed by the situation. Things were going wrong and didn’t seem to be changing at all for her.
Celestia chuckled, “You could be surprised, Twilight is a smart pony like you, and her hunger for learning rivals yours,” after taking a drink her tea she continued, “give it time, I’m sure you could become great friends.”
“Sure... friends, can’t wait,” Sunset said giving up. It wouldn't change anything no matter what she said. After all, her mentor had already made up her mind.
Celestia continued the discussion with Sunset about her future under her mentor’s wing. It was decided that Sunset would help Twilight with her magic lessons, tutoring her with anything she needed help with, or anything Celestia herself sees fit.
Sunset had to sit there listening to her mentor and all her new ideas for her upcoming lessons and new studies. She wasn’t sure if the mirror issue was such a big deal, but with everything the Princess was going to teach the filly and her, maybe it was. Something must have made a change in the princess, probably the issue with the stars together with my little behind her flank moment put too much on her. Great… Sunset was lost in thought, feeling depressed again when Princess Celestia decided it was finally time for her to meet the new student.
Twilight was enjoying her first dive into the Archives, so many books, so many sources for her to research and read.
Luckily for her, the time spent in the Archives was productive and she was able to learn a few things about history that her dad’s library didn’t cover. So many historical figures… Starswirl, Rockhoof, Mistmane, Somnambula, Meadowbrook, and Flash Magnus. Great heroes that simply disappeared without any explanation, and ended up becoming legends. Just how chaotic was a thousand years ago to have so many events during just a few centuries, Twilight was enjoying her reading, research was giving her so many clues that she needed.
Two wars against the Griffin Empire, almost a war against the dragons. By the stars, Celestia was busy this millennium. Twilight was sure that many of those events were because of Celestia not being very yielding. Well, with mediocre leaders as those that founded this Equestria, We’re not surprise, things could have been worse.
Twilight levitated a few of the books, she exchanged those she had read for new ones and placed them on the table she was using. Starting the next day, her free time would be limited, Princess Celestia would give her lessons every two days, the other days she would have some other classes in the Gifted Unicorns school. Apparently she would have some special lessons with the other personal student of the princess too. Luckily the weekends she would return home and spent some quality time with her family, so she had some afternoons during the week just to research and study in the Archives.
The Archivist was impressed at how organized Twilight was, every book she read would be exchanged and placed in their respective place. She wished everypony that used the Archives was the same.
Miss Singer was nice enough to show us the location of the books we really wanted to read, we just needed to see through her persona, Summer Mane, which was way too easy. Who knew our favorite author was the Royal Archivist… thought Twilight as the aforementioned green coated mare with blonde mane and glasses stared at her in defeat. Twilight withdrew herself from the book to look at the time.
She wished she could just spend the whole night reading, but the time to call for her stars was soon, also Celestia wanted to meet her for dinner and introduce her to the other student of hers.
Twilight took her time requesting of Miss Jade Singer a few books to take with her to continue her research. Miss Singer took a quick liking to Twilight, her straightforward personality and her love for books gave a nice charm.
“Are you sure that's all you need?” Miss Singer asked as she registered the books Twilight was taking with her.
“It’s alright Miss Mane, we should come back tomorrow to return these and continue with some others,” responded Twilight taking Miss Singer by surprise. She had used her persona’s name in public, taking into consideration her personal reasons to not use her real name.
“Alright then,” said Miss Singer with a soft smile on her muzzle. “Take care and get some sleep tonight.”
Twilight smiled and said “Will try.” as she picked the books up and placed them in her saddlebag.
Leaving the Archives behind, Twilight walked through the hallways of the castle on her way to her room. She didn’t know if Celestia was aware of her little trip to the Archives or not, so she wanted to be in her room by nightfall to call the stars in peace.
Princess Celestia walked together with Sunset through the hallways until they reached Twilight’s room. Knocking at the door received no answer, the princess opened the door after a few more tries gaining the same response.
As they entered the room they were greeted by walls of books, every book from the shelves was on the ground. Princess Celestia and Sunset opened a path to go through. The door of the balcony opened as Twilight entered the room with a book levitating in front of her face.
What Sunset expected as her first impression of the usurper wasn't exactly what she thought, she saw a lavender unicorn filly that was more focused on her book than what was going around her. Cadance had said a lot about the filly, so she pretty much expected a bookworm of a pony, but this was too much.
“Twilight Sparkle?” Princess Celestia said as the filly entered the room.
Twilight looked away from the book and noticed the princess in front of her “Oh, hello Princess, what can we do for you?” asked Twilight returning to her book.
“If I remember correctly, we have dinner plans for tonight,” said Princess Celestia with a smile on her face.
“Right, sorry. We were enjoying the stars,” responded Twilight closing her book.
“Sunset Shimmer, I would like you to meet Twilight Sparkle, my new student,” said Princess Celestia smiling at Sunset before turning her head at Twilight, “Twilight Sparkle, I would like you to meet Sunset Shimmer, my current student.”
Sunset sighed deeply before responding, “Yeah, yeah, nice to meet ya.”
“Sure, it's nice to make your acquaintance.” Twilight didn't even bother to look at her as she placed the book back to the table in the middle of the room.
Sunset was getting irritated by the filly's attitude. Did she even care about having competition? On having to share her mentor with somepony else? Sunset was not sure how to response to that.
“Twilight, please pay attention and address your peers properly,” said Celestia with the authoritative tone of a teacher.
Sunset was certain that the filly had rolled her eyes before looking back at her, Just who does she thinks she is, taking that attitude against her own mentor. Is this the same filly Cadance bragged about so much? Sunset couldn't make up her mind, it was like a smaller version of her on her worst day.
Twilight sighed as she took a look at Sunset. Twilight’s eyes widened, she froze, just as her brain stopped working for a second. The only word that came out of her mouth before she tackled Sunset to the floor with a hug while crying was “Sister!?”
Sunset didn't know what to do or how to react, Princess Celestia didn't know either as she looked at the situation with worry. Twilight was hugging Sunset while crying without letting her go for quite some time now. She kept referring to Sunset as sister in between sobs. There was nothing they could do, Twilight continued until she fell asleep from exhaustion. Celestia took the filly with her golden magic and placed her on the bed. “What was that about?” asked Sunset, shocked as Princess Celestia tucked Twilight in bed.
“I can't really say,” responded Celestia as she sat next to the table stacked with books, “I'm sure Twilight has no sisters but an older brother, perhaps you two have met before?”
“No, I haven’t met her before today,” said Sunset sitting next to the princess, “all I know about her is from Cadance.”
“I will have to make request of her parents for information, she hasn’t been here for two days and already had an emotional breakdown,” said Celestia looking at the books on the table with a worried gaze.
“Aren’t those books from the Archives?” asked Sunset as she inspected some of the books titles. “Hmm, it seems she likes history...”
“So it would seem, she was really happy when I give her permission to go to the Archives to read,” Princess Celestia responded checking the book Twilight had been reading a few moments before.
She was reading about the constellations, she must really like the stars. She may have been stargazing on the balcony before we entered. Celestia thought as Sunset began to feel a little awkward from the silence. Sunset got up from her seat and reminded the princess that they were going to have dinner, since Twilight was sleeping both mares left her there. Princess Celestia made a mental note to have somepony bring her something to eat later if she woke up.
Neither said a word on the way to the dining room, both mares were lost in thought. Sunset was confused, she hadn't expected to be in that situation with the filly, she was even beginning to feel bad for thinking of her as a usurper.
Celestia was not so different, ever since Twilight had become her new student she was having trouble getting on her good side. The filly seemed to respect her, but sometimes she felt disappointment or uncertainty from the filly.
If Sunset or Twilight are candidates to be the bearer of the Element of Magic I need to change my approach, I almost lost Sunset because of that… Celestia was still lost in thought through dinner. Sunset wasn’t bothered by it, she just became focused on eating, having her mentor’s company was good enough. After dinner they got to the living quarters before taking different ways.
“Well, it was a crazy night.” said Sunset as she moved to the door before returning her gaze to her mentor, “Good luck, mentor.” with a mocking smile she left to her room.
Celestia sighed deeply while looking out a nearby window, the stars were not as bright as the night before, but her gaze was on the moon, more precisely on the shadowed figure in it. “Luna...”
Darkness, everything was darkness, no sky, no land, nothing to be seen. In this darkness stood a single dark purple alicorn, she felt small, she felt fragile, she felt lonely. The only thing she could do was curl herself up in the darkness and cold.
She didn't know how much time passed before she discovered she wasn’t alone anymore. Next to her in the darkness was another being, she was like her but not like her. Her coat was brilliant amber, her mane and tail a crimson and golden ethereal flame with cyan slitted eyes. This new alicorn was smiling at her, and with a comforting voice she said “Morning lil’ sis.”
Twilight woke up startled, while tears rolled down her face, looking around she realized she was alone and it was still nighttime. Getting out of bed she walked to the balcony. Once outside Twilight undid her disguise and flew into the sky. She was feeling the cold from the darkness of her dream, she felt hopeless.
She flew as high as she could, until it was too hard to continue going up. She let out a sorrowful scream that echoed in the night. The stars lost their twinkle as Twilight cried her heart out, and for a moment the sky was almost covered in darkness, but soon every single star shined as bright as they could.
Even in her suffering Twilight looked up to see every single of her stars twinkling at her, she could feel their presence, their love, their warmth, she wasn’t alone anymore. There was no more darkness in the night, there was again radiance in her life.
Cleaning the tears from her eyes with her hoof, the cry became a smile and the sorrow became laughter as she looked at the stars. “Thank you,” she said.
It was close to dawn when she finally returned to her room, Twilight decided to continue her studies. She didn’t want to sleep again, she was afraid she would remember the pain.
We must have looked like such a silly filly yesterday… we should apologize to Sunset, and probably Celestia too. We just couldn’t believe we were able to see her face again… Twilight was trying to concentrate on her reading but the events of the day before were still present on her mind.
Come on Twilight, focus! We need to research as most as possible before the start of school… Now, that would be interesting. Being the youngest in class will give us the peace we need to prepare ourselves. Twilight thought as she checked the content of the book. Starting today we should play low, we don't want to call too much attention, especially from those disgusting Canterlot nobles.
Soon the morning sun started to raise as Twilight let her stars go to sleep, some still glowing in the morning sky. After finally eating something during her breakfast Twilight prepared her saddlebag and went to meet the guard that would take her to the school. It being her first time attending the prestigious school, the Vice-Principal herself give her a tour around the school grounds before guiding her to her first class of the day.
School wasn’t as Twilight thought it would be. Her first class was Magic Theory, her knowledge of magic was kind of different to what she was being taught. She learned how to produce the same result of the spells by using less runes or at least less complicated ones. The problem was that now she was getting too much attention, which was not what she wanted.
Things continued all day with every class, she caught up really fast with her peers. Even without Asteria's knowledge Twilight was really a smart filly. She loved books, studying, and she was always ravenous to learn anything she could. She was exhausted but that didn't stopped her from going to the Archives again. Miss Singer was happy to welcome her again. Returning the books she read during the sleepless night,Twilight greeted her friend and went to hunt more knowledge before it was time to do her daily duties.
That night Sunset was in presence of Princess Celestia and Cadance, they were discussing the events of the night before. Cadance was shocked and concerned for Twilight, she had never experienced an episode like that before in her years taking care of the filly.
Princess Celestia requested that Cadance make a visit to Twilight before returning to her room, she wanted to confirm the wellbeing of the filly. The pink alicorn agreed with her aunt and she requested Sunset to have some patience when dealing with Twilight. Sunset didn’t really care much for it, but promised not to complain if the filly continued calling her sister.
Taking her leave, Cadance went directly to Twilight's room, knocking at the door she received a response before entering the room. Cadance entered the room and found the filly reading, before greeting her “Hi Twily!”
Twilight looked away from her book to find Cadance there before jumping at her for a hug while greeting her “Big sis!”
Soon after the hug they shared their accustomed dance, "Sunshine, sunshine. Ladybugs awake! Clap your hooves and do a little shake." before laughing and sitting at the table. Once Cadance explained the reason for her visit, Twilight’s humor declined.
So the shrewd princess sent Cadance to cheer us up… thought Twilight as Cadance asked if everything was alright. After explaining that it was a minor case of homesickness, Twilight ensured it would not happen again. They shared a for few hours, talking to each other before calling it a night.
Cadance was sure Twilight changed a bit after the her surge incident, but she was still the filly she loved. “She even calls me big sis now. It makes me happy knowing she thinks of me as family, but I don't think Shiny has told her yet about us… Oh well, Twily is a smart filly, she probably figured out.” Cadance murmured to herself as she went back to her room with a less worried mind.