peripeteia: a reversal of circumstances; a turning point
It was one of the things that Autumn Blaze hadn't heard ever since her days as a playwright, just before her village burned down. And now, the term came crashing down to her as her mental processes stopped working, along with another term she hadn't heard for a long time: anagnorisis.
It should not be said that that day in Ponyville was a sunny one, for the sun hadn't come out yet. What had come out, however, was the resident apple farmer, just out of bed and currently preparing breakfast. It was a perfectly normal thing to happen and, in fact, a perpetual occurrence that told the entirety of Ponyville that the day won't be any more bizarre than usual.
What's not a normal thing to happen and not, in fact, a perpetual occurrence is the presence of a kirin trotting down the road toward Sweet Apple Acres. There was nothing on her back but her set of diamond-hard scales and nothing on her person but a smile and a constant hum, making those who might catch sight of her wonder what she might be into. Which was exactly what happened.
"Blaze? What're y'all doing here?"
Autumn Blaze grinned. "Nothing. Visiting! I'm definitely visiting."
Applejack raised an eyebrow. "Before the sun's even up?"
"I don't see why not." She tapped her chin. "I mean, why should we fix our schedule to somepony else's who happened to be raising and lowering the sun? If you're a bureaucrat, it's probably important. But, hey, we kirins are our own government!" She chuckled. "Rain Shine doesn't move the sun. She doesn't even make it rain, which made her name a little disappointing, but it's not her fault!" She opened her mouth, then closed it back again. "And why don't you ponies fix your schedule to the other princess?" She looked down and scowled. "Probably a remnant of an ancient policy which would make a very interesting but controversial essay and probably raise more public concern than necessary when the news talks about it so I guess I'll shut up now." She looked at Applejack and grinned.
Applejack blinked. "Uh...hi?"
"Hi, Applejack! I feel bored yesterday, so I decided to come and visit!"
"But you're—" She shook her head and opened the door all the way. "Y'know what? Forget about it. Come in, you must be really hungry."
"I am!" She chuckled as she stepped in. "So, how's the farm?"
"Pretty slow." She pulled a chair on the dining table and let Autumn sit. "We'll be preparing for Cider Season soon, though, so it won't be long until we start scramblin' again."
Blaze hopped on the chair. "Cider season, huh? I've never had cider before"
Applejack giggled. "Well, you'll be in for a surprise, sugar." She turned to the stove. "So, you have anything in mind for breakfast?"
Blaze sat back on her chair and stared lovingly at the eastern horizon outside the window, traces of blue starting to creep up as the sun started to take over her nocturnal counterpart's shift. "Would it be poetic to ask for the sun for breakfast, signifying a character's impatience to wait even for the sun to rise?"
"Do you ponies have any food called 'sun'?"
"...A sunny side up?"
She scratched her head. "Fried egg, basically."
Blaze raised an eyebrow. "Because it...resembles the sun?"
Applejack shrugged. "Don't ask me. So, sunny side up?"
Applejack nodded, took a Teflon pan from the hanger, and put it on the stove. She opened a cupboard and took out a wooden crate filled with hay and eggs. She spent some time picking them before settling for a round, large, and clean brown egg. Then, she turned the stove on and put some butter in it, spreading it by tilting the pan side-to-side. As the butter began to sizzle, she turned the stove down a little and cracked the egg (on a flat surface, like you should) and deposited the would-be chicken into the pan.
All done, Applejack turned around, finding Blaze leaning her head on a hoof and watching her religiously. She raised an eyebrow. "Y'all seein' somethin'?"
Blaze shook her head. "No, just...back in my village, we don't have butter since there weren't any cows around. We fry things with oil, and what you just did there—" she pointed at the pan of a sizzling egg "—we call 'fried eye'." She grinned. "Guess where that came from?"
Applejack turned around and stared at the egg on the pan, almost finished cooking now. "Uh, 'cause it looks like an eye?"
"Exactly!" She giggled. "Wow, you're good at this."
Applejack chuckled. "Whatever you say, sugarcube." She took the pan off the stove and turned the fire off. "Breakfast is ready!" She took out a plate and a fork, put it in front of Autumn Blaze, then professionally slid the sunny side up upon it.
Blaze bowed to Applejack and said, "Your generous offer for your cultural symbol is greatly appreciated, Madam Applejack."
Applejack put the pan on the sink and giggled. She coughed once and put a hoof on her chest, saying, "Your appreciation is appreciated, Madam Blaze." She blinked. "I mean, uh...yeah." She chuckled. "Right, I got mouthfuls of those when I was young but then I forgot about it!"
Blaze laughed and took the fork between her hoof nails. "So, this is a 'sunny side up'? Not really different from fried eyes." She poked the yolk, the frowned. "Uh, Applejack? This egg isn't done cooking yet."
Applejack trotted to her side and inspected the egg. "No, it's cooked perfectly."
Blaze poked the yolk again, this time breaking it and made it flow like a river down the cooked egg white and into the plate. "That's still raw."
"Well, I mean, that's kinda raw. You want it over well instead?"
She stared at Applejack. "Over well?"
"Yeah. When you flip the egg and cook it 'till it's fully cooked, we here call 'em 'over well'."
"Over—" Her pupils shrank to pinpricks. "Wait a minute, you're saying that this is a proper way to serve eggs?"
Applejack raised an eyebrow. "Uh, yeah. We call 'em 'sunny side up'."
She stared at the egg, the yolk now but a puddle surrounding the perfectly-cooked egg white, resembling a lake island if the yolk was land. "A-and you eat them raw, just like that?"
"Yeah, that's how we do it most of the time. Is something wrong?"
"A-a-and boiled eggs? How about boiled eggs!?"
Applejack put a hoof on Blaze's shoulder. "Calm down, sugarcube, you're—"
Blaze pressed her nose against Applejack's own, the tip of her horn and her eyelashes already burning a bright blue-red. "How. About. Boiled eggs?"
Applejack took a step back. "I-if you boil it until it's fully cooked, we call it 'hard-boiled'. If it's still runny, we call 'em 'soft-boiled'."
Blaze slowly retreated her muzzle from Applejack's personal space, took a deep breath, then let it out, extinguishing her horn and eyelashes. She laid back on her chair and stared at the egg, looking like a lake inside an island lake if the yolk was water.
Two terms came crashing down to Autumn Blaze's mind as it stopped and refused to work: anagnorisis and peripeteia.
Autumn Blaze slowly, steadily, put both hooves on her temples, then slowly, steadily, lowered them to point at the egg in front of her. She opened her mouth, then said, "Tragedy, Applejack."
"Tragedy. As a famous philosopher once said, tragedy..." Autumn closed her eyes, "is that moment where a hero comes face to face with their true identity."
"Anagnorisis. Have you heard that before, Applejack?"
Applejack opened her mouth, then shut it back. She'd love to say, "Autumn, yer ain't makin' any sense!" but instead she said, "No, what is it?"
"Discovery." She opened her eyes, her vision once more meeting with the culinary anomaly known as a sunny side up egg. "Literally. The translation of anagnorisis is, in Ponish, discovery."
"This, Applejack." She pointed at the egg. "This...is anagnorisis."
She scratched her head. "Uh-uh."
"From the time our village burned down I've been having a lot of it, you know? When I found the flowers and discovered salvation from the silent prison inside my head? Anagnorisis. When I chose my voice over my own village? Anagnorisis: I discovered that giving up emotions isn't the right way to deal with anger. But!"
Blaze took the fork and sliced a piece of the egg white. "...Peripeteia."
"Peripeteia is this thing that happens in the great tragedies."
"When Princess Celestia found out that it was her that's been slowly turning her beloved sister into Nightmare Moon just after she banished her for who-knows-how-long? Peripeteia. When Princess Twilight tried to steal an artifact from the hippogriffs only to later realize that that very action of hers was what made her fail to gain any chance to fight back the Storm King? Peripeteia."
"When Discord tricked Fluttershy into giving up her element only to realize that he had lost something that he had truly wanted all along in his existence? Peripeteia." She lifted the sliced piece of egg, covered by a stream of runny yolk, to a shaft of light from the morning sun. "This is peripeteia."
"That you discovered eggs don't need to be fully cooked?"
Autumn Blaze put the egg in her mouth, letting the milky white split between her teeth and savoring the yolk melting in her tongue. A tear ran down her cheeks. "Tragedy, Applejack."
Applejack put a hoof around her neck. "Whoa there, you okay?"
She shook her head. "I've been cooking eggs wrong my whole life, Applejack!" She took another bite of sunny side up, crying. "My whole life!"
"Uh...there, there, sugarcube."
"If I'm wrong about this, Applejack, then how many things more am I wrong about? How many things have I taken for granted that was actually wrong? The superiority of tea over coffee; the beauty of rainbows; the quality of my plays!" She stood up all of a sudden, toppling over her chair, her pupils wide and glistening. "I..."
Autumn Blaze leaned in and sunk them both into a deep kiss, ignoring Applejack's struggle and muffled yelp.
As they let go, Applejack stood stock still, staring at the ceiling with a blank expression and a trace of runny egg yolk in her lips.
"Thank you, Applejack," Blaze said as she exited Applejack's house. "You've given me one great egg today."
And as Applejack stood there, licking the remaining yolk in her cheek and watching as Autumn Blaze trotted away, silhouetted by the rising sun, she sat to her haunches and asked herself, "Am I into mares?"
anagnorisis: the transition from ignorance to awareness; discovery