It was morning, but Starlight Glimmer was not quite ready to wake up. She wanted five more minutes, or even ten. But suddenly she felt a small kiss on her left cheek. She slowly opened her eyes and looked up.
“Good morning, Starlight.”
“…Good morning, Sunburst,” Starlight yawned as she slowly leaned up to kiss Sunburst on the lips. “Today’s a very special day.”
“It is,” Sunburst agreed. “I was just about to head out to the bakery. I might be a while though.”
“It’s alright, Sunburst,” Starlight said as she got out of bed and used her magic to straighten up the covers as well as Sunburst’s wizardly cape. “Just don’t be gone for too long, alright?”
“I won’t,” Sunburst promised as the two of them walked out of their own bedroom and into Sunburst’s living room. “I’ll be back before the party starts.”
“Alright, while you do that, I’ll make breakfast for you-know-who.”
“But you’re a terrible cook!” laughed Sunburst. “Remember when you tried to make dinner for our second anniversary?”
“That was one time!” Starlight objected defensively. Although, she did have to agree that her poorly made soup was not the best thing to serve for a wedding anniversary, so she couldn’t help but laugh as well. “Besides, Celestia’s taught me how to make her special pancakes for months now.”
“Alright, well, don’t burn them, okay?” Sunburst said as he walked out the door, making Starlight roll her eyes and smirk. “I’m just kidding. I love you, Starlight.”
“I love you too, Sunburst,” Starlight said before exchanging a kiss with her husband more time before letting him leave the house.
Starlight Glimmer and Sunburst have been married for over ten years now. When they had gotten married, Starlight had moved to the Crystal Empire to help Sunburst continue to be Princess Flurry Heart’s Crystaller.
Even if said princess had been a teenager at the time, she would still look to Sunburst for guidance. But as the years had gone by and as Sunburst had taught Flurry Heart less and less, he would often ask Starlight if she wanted to move back to Ponyville. Even though Starlight had left Ponyville, part of her still felt like it was home for her, and just as Sunset Shimmer (who had moved back to Equestria after graduating from Canterlot High in the human dimension) would stay in touch with her human friends, Starlight would do the same with her friends. And as much as she missed Ponyville, she had her own bundle of responsibility…
…which was sleeping upstairs right now.
Starlight walked up the stairs and to second door on the right. After gently opening the door with her magic, Starlight went into a bedroom that was meant for a little filly. Scattered across the floor were books, toys, and even Starlight’s favorite board game, Dragonpit. On the other side of the room, there was a small bed with green covers. They were unusually tucked to the point where they were over where the pillows were supposed to be.
Starlight smirked before using her magic to grab a corner of the blanket and uncover the hidden figure underneath. Unfortunately, it was just a pile of old antiques that Sunburst had been collecting over the years.
Starlight was in shock, but then a thought occurred to her. Although, for her sake, it should have occurred to her five minutes earlier, because from behind her floated a purple unicorn filly with an orange mane and tail, with light green highlights, just like Starlight’s. She also had green eyes and greyish-pink spots on her fur, one on each of her hooves and one running down between her eyes. The purple filly also had a cutie mark on each of her flank: a lime-green, four-point star, overlapping a white star, and four blue and yellow rays projecting from behind the stars to the upper right. She carefully levitated herself down from the ceiling until she was level with Starlight.
The purple filly took a deep breath in before Starlight could get a chance to turn around,
Starlight jumped, suddenly surprised, before falling onto the carpet floor. Unable to contain her laughter, the unicorn filly landed on the floor and burst out laughing.
“Hope! Oh, my goodness, you nearly scared the cutie mark off me!”
“It was just a joke, Mom,” laughed the purple filly, named Hope Glimmer.
Starlight had to admit that it was a little funny, so she laughed along with the six-year-old too. proud of Hope being able to levitate herself at the age of six.
No, not six. Today, Hope Glimmer was now seven.
Starlight Glimmer smiled dearly at her daughter. “Happy birthday, Hope,” she said as she hugged the purple filly, who hugged her mother back. “Now, why don’t we go downstairs and make you some pancakes?”
Pancakes were probably the only food that Starlight could cook well, and Celestia had given Starlight her own recipe. Starlight knew how delicious Celestia’s pancakes were, so of course they’d be perfect for her daughter’s birthday breakfast. Starlight even decorated the stack of pancakes with blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries into an adorable smiley face. She almost felt bad about serving it to Hope, as it would be like sending a pony to be eaten by a hungry ursa minor.
Nevertheless, Starlight did give Hope the delicious-looking and smelling pancakes. After Hope remembered her good manners by saying, “Thank you, Mommy!” she happily began to eat her breakfast. Starlight could tell by the smile on her daughter’s face that the pancakes tasted delicious. By the time Starlight’s own pancakes were ready, Hope had already finished hers.
Suddenly, there was a knocking at the door. Hope got up from her seat and galloped to the front door to answer. Hope used her magic to turn the nob and open the door, revealing a tall, lime green equine figure with purple eyes and orange pincers.
“Uncle Thorax!” Hope beamed as she jumped up to hug the Changeling King. Thorax laughed as he hugged the little filly.
“Hi, Hope! You’ve gotten so big since I last saw you!” Thorax said happily as he set Hope down and entered the house, where he was greeted by Starlight, who had just finished her pancakes.
“Thorax, you made it!”
“Of course, I did, Starlight!” Thorax said as he walked into the kitchen. “I hope I’m not late.”
“Actually, you’re the first to arrive,” Starlight chuckled. “Sunburst is out to get the cake, but he should be back soon.”
“Great,” Thorax said. “So, who all is coming?”
“Well, besides you, uh… Trixie and her son will be here, and so will Flurry Heart and Twilight.”
Thorax’s smile faded a little bit. “Is… that all? No one else is coming?”
The very question made Starlight’s own smile fade. She quickly tried to think of a way to distract Thorax. “Say, uh, Thorax, why don’t you take Hope outside for one of your buggy-back rides? Heh heh…”
Instead, Thorax stood tall and looked firmly down at Starlight. “I don’t think so,” Thorax said assertively as he pulled up a chair. “I’ve been leading the Changelings for over two decades, and I’ve also held enough Feelings Forums to know when something’s up.”
Starlight knew that she was cornered. But before she could say another word, the front door opened again. Thorax and Starlight looked to see Sunburst enter with a pink cardboard box enveloped in the same yellow magic that enveloped his horn. Sunburst was greeted by Hope.
“Good morning, Daddy! Where have you been?”
“Good morning, Hope,” Sunburst said as he hugged his daughter. “I was at the bakery getting this.” Sunburst lowered the box down to where Hope could see it and removed the lid. Inside was a round, white birthday cake. The top of the cake was decorated in a frosting pattern that matched Hope’s cutie mark, and there were also letters written that read “Happy Birthday Hope” in purple frosting.
“Can we eat it now, Daddy? Can we please eat it now?!” Hope said as she bounced up and down.
“Sorry, Hope,” Sunburst said as he levitated the lid back on. “We’re going to wait until everypony’s here.”
“Aww…” Hope sighed in disappointment. “But it looks so delicious!”
Sunburst laughed. “I know, sweetheart. And you’ll get to eat it later today.” Sunburst walked into the kitchen, where he hugged Starlight and greeted Thorax. That’s when he noticed that Thorax was not his usual jovial self. Through the small polite smile on the Changeling King’s face, Sunburst could tell that something was up. “I-is something wrong, Thorax?” Sunburst asked as he put the cake in the refrigerator.
“Well…” Starlight began to answer, “Thorax and I were just about to talk.”
“And you came just in time. I’d like to talk to both of you,” Thorax added. “In private,” he said as he motioned towards the filly who was eagerly waiting outside the kitchen.
“Hope, why don’t you go upstairs and study some more magic?” Starlight suggested. “Practice a new spell or something, okay?”
“Uh… okay, Mom,” Hope answered, a tad bit confused, but decided to do as her mother suggested, leaving her parents to sit down at the table with Thorax.
As soon as the sound of Hope’s bedroom door closing echoed through the house, Thorax got right to the point:
“Hope doesn’t have any friends, does she?”
Starlight and Sunburst were surprised by the question. The two parents looked at each other before sadly admitting, “No.”
Starlight’s ears drooped as she looked down at the table. “It’s… my fault.”
“No, Sunburst. It really is.” Starlight sighed before holding Sunburst’s hoof and then looking back up at Thorax. “I… have been homeschooling Hope, for as long as possible. And maybe… I’ve been a little overprotective of her… I’ve never encouraged her to go outside and make friends with ponies her age.”
“Well… It’s not entirely your fault,” Sunburst said to Starlight. “Hope has always been a little shy whenever we do bring her out in public.”
“And how often is that?” Thorax asked.
“Not very much,” Sunburst answered. “Just when she wants to go to the library or when we need to run errands and can’t leave her in the house.”
Tapping his hoof to his chin, Thorax pondered Starlight and Sunburst’s explanations. “Hmm… Does Hope know?”
Starlight and Sunburst look at each other in confusion. “Know what?” Starlight finally asked.
“Does she know… about your… history, Starlight?”
Starlight looked back down, almost shamefully. “Yes, she does. The town, the stealing-cutie marks thing, the time-travel for revenge, the brainwashing… Yes. Hope does know about all that.”
Sunburst wrapped his right foreleg around Starlight and allowed her to lean on him. “We figured that she would find out someday,” Sunburst elaborated. “We always want to be honest with her, and we didn’t want to keep any secrets from her. So, we told her when she was five, shortly after she got her cutie mark.”
“How did Hope react?” Thorax asked with concern.
“Not well…” Sunburst answered, looking down at Starlight. The two of them both remembered the day very well, how terrified Hope had been of Starlight.
“Hope, please listen to me. That was a long time ago.”
“No! Go away, Mommy! You… you’re evil! I… I hate you!”
Starlight could remember those hurtful words echo in her ears. What had been supposed to be the best day of Hope’s life had turned out to be one of the worst days of her life. She could remember how terrified Hope had been, with tears having poured down her eyes, before she had run upstairs, having slammed the door behind her.
Sunburst remembered too seeing this as he had come back home from tutoring Flurry Heart.
“I… I told her, Sunburst…” Starlight looked away with tears in her eyes. “I knew it! I knew this was going to happen, I knew she would react this way!”
Sunburst hugged Starlight, who cried in his shoulders. “Let me talk to her,” he said soothingly, which seemed to calm her down. Then Sunburst walked upstairs and knocked on Hope’s bedroom door.
“Hope, it’s me, Daddy. May I please come in?” Sunburst heard no response, but he didn’t care. With or without his daughter’s permission, he was going in. Sunburst opened the door with his unicorn magic to find Hope hiding underneath the covers on the bed. “Hope, that was not very nice,” Sunburst said firmly as he walked over to the bed and uncovered Hope, whose eyes were stained with tears.
“But, Dad, Mom’s evil! She deserved it!” Hope cried.
“Sweetheart, your mother’s not evil,” Sunburst explained as he put his hoof on Hope’s shoulder, which made her look up at him and calm down. “Yes, she did do some terrible things, but Hope… she’s still a good pony. Everypony makes mistakes. Even I do from time to time.”
“You mean… You traveled through time to destroy Equestria?”
Sunburst laughed. “No… But I did make mistakes, and so did your mother. But Hope, she’s moved on from that. What she did… that was almost 30 years ago. That’s when Princess Twilight brought her under her wing and taught her the values of friendship. Since then, your mother has been a better pony. Yes, she has still made mistakes from time to time, like brainwashing her friends, and leading a molewurf to your Uncle Thorax’s hive, but what matters is that she learns from those mistakes.
“And more importantly, she loves you, and wants you to be a good pony as well.”
“Of course, Hope.” Sunburst and Hope looked up to see Starlight entering the bedroom, her eyes stained with tears. “I want what’s best for you, Hope, and I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I made. I never deserved my second chance, but Princess Twilight gave that chance because she knew that there was good in me.”
Hope then smiled as she stepped off the bed and slowly walked towards Starlight. She stopped for a moment, before snatching her into a tight hug. “I’m sorry, Mom. I… I didn’t it when I said…”
“It’s alright, Hope.” Starlight said calmly. “I know you didn’t. Do you still love me?”
“Yes, Mom. I love you so much.”
Starlight smiled as she hugged her daughter as well, feeling like an entire army of yaks had just been lifted off her shoulders.
“That’s very nice,” Thorax said, smiling only softly.
“Thanks,” Starlight said, “but what does this have to do about Hope not having any friends?”
“Hmm… Well, I think I have an idea about what the problem is.”
“You do?” replied Sunburst.
Thorax nodded. “This is just off of observation, but I think--”
Before Thorax could explain, there was the sudden sound of an explosion that shook the house. The three looked into the living room to see a big cloud of smoke, followed by sizzling firecrackers. When the smoke cleared, in its place was none other than a familiar light blue pony with a purple cape and magician’s hat.
“Trixie!” Sunburst shouted as he got up and ran into the living room. “How many times do I have to tell you not to use firecrackers in the living room?!” He scolded as he levitated several books that had caught fire and blew the flames out.
“Hehe… sorry,” Trixie said sheepishly, before transitioning back to her usual, confident bravado. “But the Great and Powerful TR-R-R-RIXIE must make a grand entrance, even for special occasions such as this!”
“Well, it’s so good to see you again, Trix,” Starlight said as she hugged her best friend. “So, where’s Cobalt?”
“Shhh!” Trixie replied, and then pointed up towards her hat. Starlight then understood that Trixie was preparing to perform a magic trick for Hope. Speaking of whom, Hope came running down the stairs and into the living room.
“Aunt Trixie!” the little filly happily addressed as she hugged the magician.
“Hello there, birthday girl!” Trixie said as she hugged Hope too. “How old are you today?”
“I’m seven years old now.”
“That is amazing. Say, are you ready to see a magic trick?” Hope eagerly sat down on the couch and nodded. Sunburst, Thorax, and Starlight joined her as Trixie levitated off her hat. “And now, the Great and Powerful TR-R-R-R-RIXIE shall pull a rabbit out of her hat!”
And with her hooves, she reached into her hat and pulled out a balloon. “Nope!” she said as she shoved the balloon back into her hat and reached further down and pulled out a rectangular box with purple wrapping paper, and wrapped up in a light blue bow. “Nope!” And she put the present back in the hat, and she reached further down, almost like she was going to fall right in. “Ah ha! I think I found it!”
Trixie then pulled out, not a rabbit, but a light blue unicorn colt with golden mane and tail, eyes as purple as Trixie’s, and an upside-down hat with rabbit ears sticking out of it for a cutie mark. The little colt then spread out his front legs. “TADA!”
“Cobalt?” Trixie gasped in an overdramatic, clearly acting surprise. “You’re not a rabbit! What are you doing here?”
All the little colt said in response was, “Hi, Mommy!”
The audience clapped and laughed. Trixie then nuzzled the little colt on the nose and brought him into a hug.
Cobalt Facade, who was five years old, was Trixie’s “great and powerful” son. Unlike Starlight, however, Trixie was a single mother. Before Cobalt had been born, Trixie had gotten married to, of all ponies, Prince Blueblood. But, their marriage had quickly fallen apart, and Trixie had left Blueblood before she found out that she had been pregnant.
Since then, Trixie has been working as a magician and a mother; and that was a good thing because Cobalt would fall in love with stage magic, just like his mother; it would even be how he got his cutie mark. Cobalt has been helping Trixie as her great and powerful assistant. There have even been times where Cobalt would steal the show just with his adorable appearance alone, and Trixie wouldn’t mind.
After greeting his honorary aunt Starlight, cousin Hope, and uncles Sunburst and Thorax (the latter of whom is every filly and colt’s uncle), Cobalt and Trixie continued to put on a magic show for Hope, who loved it. As for the adults, they decided to wait until later to continue where they left off before Trixie had unintentionally interrupted Thorax. However, it wouldn’t be until an hour and a half later when Trixie would be interrupted by a knocking at the door.
This time it was Sunburst’s turn to answer the door, and so he did. This time, there were two mares who came in: Princesses Flurry Heart and Twilight Sparkle. Flurry Heart was now in her late-twenties and just as tall as any average mare. Twilight, however, had grown taller over the years, and she was now as tall as Princesses Cadence and Luna, and her dark blue mane and tail now had a cream yellow highlight along with her magenta and purple highlights.
“Hello, Uncle Sunburst,” Flurry Heart said happily while stepping in. “Sorry that we’re late. Princess business… as usual.”
“It’s alright, Flurry Heart,” Sunburst replied, before turning towards Twilight. He almost bowed before her on instinct, before Starlight came over to her and brought her into a warm embrace.
“Twilight, I have missed you so much!” Starlight said happily.
“I have missed you too, Starlight,” the Princess of Friendship said to her former pupil. Then, just like with Thorax and Trixie, Hope ran over to greet the two princesses with a hug. “And happy birthday to you, Hope! You have gotten so big!” Twilight said happily.
“Not as big auntie Twily has gotten,” Flurry whispered to Sunburst with a smirk, causing Sunburst to chuckle.
“I would say ‘let’s get this party started’,” Starlight said, motioning towards Trixie, who pulled a bit out of Thorax’s ear, much to the applause of Cobalt, “But I think it’s already started.”
“It’s alright, Starlight,” Twilight said.
“As long as you all haven’t any… oh, I don’t know… cake yet,” Flurry Heart added.
At the very mention of cake, Cobalt and Hope jumped up for joy.
“Mommy, Daddy, can we please have cake now?! Can we?! Can we?! Please?!” Hope excitedly jumped up and down in front of her parents.
Starlight and Sunburst looked at each other, and then down at their daughter. “Alright, sweetie,” Sunburst said. “Just calm down, alright?”
After serving up cake and ice cream, it was time for Hope to open up her presents. First, she opened up Thorax’s gift: a small brown teddy bear. Next, Hope opened up Cobalt and Trixie’s gift: a magician’s robe that had the exact same design as Trixie’s only for a smaller filly like Hope. Next, she opened up a large gift from Flurry Heart, which was a doll house that resembled the very castle in the Crystal Empire. Up next was Twilight’s gift.
“Lemme guess, you got her a book,” Trixie said.
“Wha, psh! No! I didn’t get her a book this time!” Twilight denied, darting her eyes from left to right, and blushing.
Trixie rolled her eyes. “Is it at least a story book? One that a seven-year-old like her can understand?”
“I’m serious, Trixie!” Twilight retorted. “I didn’t get her a book this time!”
“Then show us, Princess, what exactly you got for your former pupil’s own daughter?” Trixie challenged.
Twilight snorted and glared at Trixie.
“It’s alright, Twilight,” Starlight said. “Hope will appreciate whatever you got her.” Then she looked down at Hope, raised an eyebrow, and asked firmly, “Isn’t that right, Hope?”
“Yes, Mom,” Hope replied, almost annoyed.
“Thank you, Starlight,” Twilight said before continuing. “Hope, I got you… a book stand!” Twilight exclaimed as she levitated out of a gift back a wooden bookstand.
Trixie rolled her eyes and face-hoofed. “...Of course.”
Twilight shot Trixie another glare before turning back to Hope. “So… do you like it?”
“Sure,” Hope answered while nodding. “Thank you, Princess Twilight. And, thank you, everypony else!”
“Hold on a second, sweetie,” Sunburst said. “You still have one more present to open.” Sunburst walked out of the living room and into his and Starlight’s bedroom. A moment later, he came back levitating a large rectangular, navy blue present, wrapped in a mint-green ribbon. Sunburst set the present down onto the floor and motioned Hope to come and open it. Starlight followed and came around next to Sunburst, who wrapped his front hoof around her. “This is from us to you.”
“Go ahead and open it, Hope.” Starlight said.
Hope didn’t need to be told twice, as she tore off the wrapping paper. As soon as she was finished, her eyes lit up brighter than Celestia’s sun. “A TRAIN SET! YOU GOT ME A TRAIN SET!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH, MOMMY AND DADDY, IT’S JUST WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED!!!”
Starlight and Sunburst smiled at their daughter’s excitement and brought her into a hug.
As Starlight and Sunburst helped Hope set up her new train set, Thorax walked over to Twilight, who was arguing with Trixie about who had gotten Hope the better gift.
“I mean, seriously, a book stand? You couldn’t have at least gotten her a toy like Starlight and Sunburst, Thorax, or even your own niece did?”
“And how much effort did you put into your gift, Trixie? Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice cape and all, but--”
“Excuse me,” Thorax interrupted firmly, “Twilight, can I speak with you in private, please?”
“Sure, Thorax,” Twilight said as she and the changeling king walked into the hallway. “What’s going on?” She asked with concern, as she had noticed that Thorax was not his usual, optimistic self right now.
“Twilight, I’m just going to get straight to the point here: Hope doesn’t have any friends,” Thorax said sadly.
“What?!” Twilight was surprised by Thorax’s statement, but also confused. “Thorax, what makes you think that?”
“Twilight, have you noticed a lack of fillies and colts here today? There should definitely be more for a party like this.”
Twilight looked out into the living room and only counted two. Sure, most of the party guest were adults, but they were like family to Hope. “Well, yes, but not all birthday parties are the same… Regardless, what makes you think that Hope doesn’t have any friends?”
Thorax then proceeded to tell Twilight everything that Starlight and Sunburst had told him earlier today. As Thorax did, Twilight began to understand more and more about what he was talking about, and this made her sad; it pained the Princess of Friendship to look out and see a little filly spend her birthday without any friends her age. Sure, Cobalt Facade was only five, but he was more like Hope’s cousin. Everypony else, save for Hope’s parents, were like aunts (and in the case of Thorax, uncle) to her.
Once Thorax finished explaining, Twilight simply said, “Let me talk to Starlight and Sunburst about it.” Twilight and Thorax stepped back into the living room, watching Hope joyfully play her new train set. “Hey, uh, Hope, Cobalt, how about you and Thorax go outside so he can give you some buggy-back rides?” She said happily.
Hope stopped the toy train and looked up at Starlight. “Can we, Mommy? Please?” She and Cobalt said, almost in unison.
“Absolutely, Cobalt!” Trixie said happily.
“Well…” Starlight, on the other hoof, said, “I think I should come with you… just in case.”
“Hey, I’ve never dropped any of my passengers before!” Thorax chuckled.
“It-It’s not that!” Starlight responded defensively. “I just… wanna make sure that Hope waits her turn, that’s all! And so that no pony fillynaps her while you’re giving Cobalt a ride...”
Twilight placed a hoof on Starlight’s shoulder. “Starlight,” she whispered, “I would really like to talk to you and Sunburst.”
“Don’t worry, Starlight,” Trixie said reassuringly. “I’ll keep an eye on the kids.”
“Well, alright… but you better take good care of them, Trixie.”
Within a moment, Thorax and Trixie were already outside with Hope and Cobalt, leaving Starlight and Sunburst in the living room with Princesses Flurry Heart and Twilight Sparkle.
“Thorax told me about what you talked about this morning,” Twilight stated. “About Hope’s… social life.”
“I figured he would,” Starlight said sadly. “Twilight, I don’t know what to do.”
“Well, the way Thorax described Hope,” Twilight said, “she kinda reminds me of me, well, before I moved to… Ponyville…” The Princess of Friendship went silent for a moment, looking down at Hope’s new toy train. The train resembled the Ponyville Express almost perfectly. Then, Twilight’s eyes widened. “Wait, that’s it!”
“What’s it?” Sunburst asked in confusion.
“I’ve got an idea. Starlight, how would you like to come back to Ponyville?”
“Wait, what? What do you mean?”
“Starlight, I know that this may seem all of a sudden, but I think that if Hope moves to Ponyville, she can go to school and she can make all kinds of friends there! You could come back to the School of Friendship and be the Guidance Counselor again!”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Slow down, Twilight!” Starlight responded in high alert. “I mean… that all sounds great and everything, but...Sunburst, you’re Flurry Heart’s Crystaller. You can’t just leave...”
“It’s okay, Starlight,” Flurry Heart said. “Uncle Sunburst… you have had to teach me less and less. And, I agree with Auntie Twily. Your daughter does need to make friends. Besides, I’ll always need you. I can always write to you whenever I need your help again… or if I simply want to talk to you.”
This made Sunburst smile. “You’ve grown up so much, Flurry,” he said before hugging the alicorn that he had practically helped Shining Armor and Cadence raise.
“Well…” Starlight muttered “It’s just that… I’ve been homeschooling her all her life. I don’t know if she’s ready for that change.”
“She’s not ready for that change?” Twilight asked. “Or are you not ready for that change?” Starlight stood frozen as the Princess of Friendship stood over her. “Starlight, I think I know what the problem is. You don’t want Hope to make the same mistakes that you made, so you’ve become very overprotective of her.”
Starlight looked away from her former mentor. As much as she wanted to deny it, she knew that what Twilight was saying was true. Yes, Starlight had changed long ago; she had grown into a better pony and made up for all that she had done. But Hope Glimmer was only seven years old as of today; Starlight feared what Hope could become if she grew up. It is said that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree; what if Hope eventually becomes evil herself? What if she brainwashes an entire town of ponies? What if she travels through times and changes events to result in the destruction of Equestria?
The mere thought of her own daughter making the same mistakes she had made was almost too much for Starlight to handle. But then she remembered how she had become evil in the past: after Sunburst had left for Magic School, Starlight had turned herself away from the world. She had become very anti-social, and that is what led to her fall from grace. Starlight now realized that if Hope didn’t start making friends, then she could end up the same way she had decades ago. Right then and there, Starlight knew exactly what needed to be done.
Starlight hugged Twilight and thanked her for everything.
“You’re right, Twilight. This will help Hope.”
Twilight Sparkle smiled and hugged her former student as well.
Later that night, after everyone else had gone home, Starlight and Sunburst were in the middle of packing up everything for the move. Hope, meanwhile, was playing with her new toys; while she was having fun watching her toy train run around and around on the oval track, and going under the Crystal Empire castle, she had one thing on her mind.
“Do we have to move?” Hope asked, looking up from her toys to Starlight, who had entered Hope’s bedroom.
“Well… this will be good for you, Hope,” Starlight answered as she laid down beside Hope. “You’re gonna go to a new school and make lots of friends in Ponyville.”
“That all sounds nice, Mom,” Hope admitted. “But… I do have friends. Uncle Thorax, Aunt Trixie, Cousin Cobalt, and Princesses Flurry Heart and Twilight Sparkle!”
“Yes, Hope, that is true. But are any of them your age, though?”
Hope looked down onto the carpet floor. She had to admit: there was no arguing there.
“I guess you’re right, Mom. But…” Hope looked back up at Starlight. “What if I do try to make new friends in Ponyville but can’t? What if other fillies and colts… don’t like me?”
“Hope, you’ll be the new filly on the block. They would have no reason to not like you.”
“I know… but what if…”
Hope looked back down on the floor. With her remote, she slowed the toy train to a stop. Starlight could tell how Hope was feeling right now; she was scared, as she too had the same fears about falling to the dark side like her mother. Hope wanted to be a good pony, and she never wanted to become evil as Starlight had once done so. Starlight wrapped her hoof around Hope and scooted closer to her.
“Hope. You’re a good pony. You are kind, considerate, you play funny pranks like the one you pulled on me this morning,” The last one made Hope laugh along with Starlight. “And I know that if you are the same way to other fillies and colts, they’ll want to be friends with you.”
“You really think so, Mom?”
"I know so. Besides, you can’t live inside your house for the rest of your life; you need to get out into the world. Just promise me and your father that you will make new friends, okay, honey?”
Hope Glimmer thought for a moment and then nodded with a determined smile. “I promise, Mom. I promise.”
“That’s my girl,” Starlight said proudly as she rustled Hope’s mane. “Right now, though, I think it’s time to clean up your toys. We have a big day tomorrow.”
“Can have five more minutes, Mom? Please?” Hope pleaded. It was still her birthday after all.
“Alright, Hope,” Starlight agreed. “But only five more minutes. Then clean up your toys and get ready for bed.”
“Yes, Mom,” Hope promised.