Apprentice of the Stars

by Vohira

Chapter 10: Moving on

Chapter 10

Moving on

As she walked through the castle, Twilight barely noticed the activity around her. She was still thinking about the talk with Luna, that they had no longer then an hour ago just after the ball ended. Now that she had some time to properly think about what she learned tonight, Twilight was beginning to think that sometimes, ignorance was bliss.

But still, she heard only one side of the story. Normally she would be content with Luna’s answers. However a small problem by the name of Nightmare Moon arose. The revelation that the Princess of the Night and the nightmarish alicorn were one and the same, shredded a good portion of Twilight’s trust in Luna.

The purple unicorn scowled deeply, any unlucky servant or guard that saw that, jumped aside as she walked by.

Realization struck her, when she connected all the proverbial dots she had at her disposal. It all went downhill when she let her anger control here and kill that diamond dog pack. She handed herself on a silver platter to the Dark Princess. Now she would have to endure or become a traitor in the eyes of the law.

Twilight blinked several times rapidly. As she thought about it, becoming a ‘traitor’ wasn’t that much of a fall from her current standing anyway, at least in the opinion of ponies in general.

She looked up at the stars and the moon through one of the widows in the corridor she was now in. Making that particular choice would depend on what the Princess ordered her to do. As long as she didn't have to fight Princess Celestia or any other pony she considered her friend or family, she would stand by Luna and carry out her orders...


The moon was slowly descending below the horizon. Twilight was in her room. The purple unicorn have spent in it the last few hours, figuring that the castle staff and guards were behaving themselves.

She sat behind her rosewood desk, gentle glow of the black candles illuminated a few pieces of parchment at which Twilight stared blankly, deep in thoughts.

Our dear Twilight,
Please tell us that what they write in the paper are lies, that you didn’t kill those diamond dogs. We would hate to see out little filly lose her innocence in such a way, and your hard worked for reputation.
Our neighbours started looking at us with suspicion. And your father... He’s getting frustrated already, he barely had to raise his voice today on the late as usual poststalion, and the poor fellow almost run away.
But back to you... whether what they write is true or not, we will give you our support, you are our daughter after all, we couldn’t abandon you.

We love you and always will, mother & father.

P.S. You could write to us more frequently, you know? (father)

Every time she re-read the letter from her parents, Twilight got mixed feelings. On one hoof she was happy that they will support her, on the other she was sad that consequences of her actions also reached them... and a small part of her was angry, angry at ponies who were so easy to be sway by a paper.

By Celestia, how could you do it? I know that mom and dad will support you no matter what you did... But I feel different. I was there when Celestia got the exact report on what happened... there. I hadn’t seen her so upset in all my years of service.
I know that they took your friend, but why did you decide to take matters in your own hooves when you could easily call for reinforcements? And in such a way... I don’t really know if I should be more sad, angry or relieved that you even made it out of it in one piece.
We will see each other soon enough, at the ball hosted by Princess Luna, by that time I will probably make up my mind on the matter and we will talk about it more.


Twilight wondered if reading this letter earlier could changed the outcome of the short... talk she had with her brother at the ball. Maybe she would be more prepared for the ‘worst case scenario’, but she figured that it really wouldn't changed that much. Her brother could sometimes become as stubborn as she could, probably nothing she said would change his mind.

She sighed heavily. She feared that a rift was forming between her and her brother, something she didn't expect to happen... ever. It would be easy to blame Luna for it, but she couldn’t follow that train of thoughts, it was the ‘easy way’.

At last her eyes, again, landed on the letter from Princess Celestia.

I can’t express how disappointed I am with Luna. She shouldn’t have handed that mission to you. But what happened... From the beginning I was afraid of you losing your innocence one way or the other. My mind came up with more scenarios that you can imagine...
Naturally, reality bet everything I had feared.
I can see when emotions cloud ponies judgement, and I know that it happened to you. And yet... I can't say “don’t blame yourself”, as any life is precious and I can’t just ignore what you did.
However I will hold back the worst of the political backlash that is sure to come. Luna can give you protection, with you being her personal student now, but she had not integrated herself in modern politics enough to do it without doing you a disservice in the long run.
I just hope you will become a stronger and better mare after this. Learn from it and never let such thing happen again Twilight.

Your friend, Princess Celestia

That one letter was what truly gave her strength. Despite what Luna had said in the Mirror chamber, Celestia still thought about her and cared for her. Twilight only wondered if her promotion changed anything further?

She raised her gaze and studied the flickering, blue flame of one of the black candles. That was a possibility. But she would have to find it out, and there was only one way to do it. She would have to schedule a visit to Canterlot... After all, she did have a good reason to go there, she still needed Spike to apologize for the forging of her signature.

The purple mare groaned and almost smashed her head on the desk.

“Look at me, already plotting how to possibly not inform Luna that I’m going to talk with Celestia...” She said quietly, thinking aloud.

Well, she still had to decide if she will tell Luna about the true purpose of the trip to Canterlot. But even the thought, that such idea formed in her mind, was slightly disturbing to the purple unicorn.

A thought occurred to her, she could use this as a test of sorts. With a new purpose in her mind Twilight stood up, and left her room at a brisk trot heading to the throne room.

Not ten minutes later Twilight slowed down as she entered the throne room, that was surprisingly devoid of the ball decorations. The castle staff really did work well. On her black marble throne sat Princess Luna, a thoughtful and distant look on her muzzle. Her mane flowed gently behind her, and the moonlight danced in many gems encrusted in the throne.

The dark alicron focused her gaze on the smaller mare, as she approached and made a small bow before her.

“Twilight, what is it?” Luna’s voice had a bit of apprehension in it.

“I thought I will inform you that I wanted to leave for Canterlot for tomorrow's night.” Twilight said with an unintentional, challenging gaze.

“Twilight, you’re my second in command... you are free to do mostly as you please. You’re not a small child to report to me every little thing you want to do. But nonetheless, I appreciate that you told me.” Luna bit her lower lip, and Twilight’s gaze became intrigued. The dark alicorn sighed and massaged her temple with her left hoof. “This night has gone worse than I anticipated.”

“Huh, I wonder why?” Twilight blurted out sarcastically, before she could stop herself. She blushed and turned her gaze to the floor. “Sorry.”

Luna looked at her second in command sharply, and was about to say something before she closed her mouth, sighing again.

“We were all agitated tonight, and we all made mistakes. Still, you should watch your tongue Commander.” Luna said and at the end smiled slyly as her pupils thinned into slits for a few heart beats.

For a second Twilight didn’t know how to react. Only hours ago Luna openly threatened her. But her earlier words rang true, everypony made mistakes tonight. Some bigger than others, for sure...

Maybe this was her chance to give the Princess some kind of a second chance at explaining herself? Twilight couldn't deny that she seemed far more relaxed than before. Maybe she could coax the Princess to tell her more than before.

“Luna... What do really plan for the future?” The purple mare thought it all really boiled down to this question.

Luna looked at Twilight with a calculating gaze, it was a quick shift form the sly look she displayed moments ago.

“I’m just going to fight for the love and admiration that I and my night deserve. I will of course use different means than a thousand years ago... Let’s face it, war with my sister isn’t the answer.”

Twilight became intrigued and a bit apprehensive. She was getting more answers already, but...

“How? And more importantly, is it truly necessary? Ponies do admire your nights nowadays.”

“Let’s say I found an inspiration in history. Also, astronomers be it amateur or professionals and some writers or artists who are inspired by my nights are still a rather small group Twilight...” Luna said with a smirk.

“Yes, well... However I’m your second in command, right? I need to know those things?” Twilight tapped her chest with her hoof.

“That you are... Very well. When you return from Canterlot I will have prepared scrolls with outlines of the plan, as well as other official statements and decrees needed to lay foundations for it. But it will probably have to wait a bit more before we began to set things in motion for real.” Luna answered with thoughtful look.

The smaller mare was a bit irritated by that. But she will be patient, at least this time around she made some progress with getting her answers.

“That will be fine Luna. I should probably rest a bit before I head out to Ponyville at dawn.” Twilight mused aloud, she did have to pick up Spike. Also, checking up on Applejack seems like a good idea... She should also visit Pinkie Pie.

With those words Twilight made a small bow, turned around and began a slow, relaxed trot towards her room.

“Just remember... Not a word to Celestia about the Dark Mirror.” Nightmare Moon’s voice sounded through the throne room. Involuntarily, Twilight shivered. The purple mare stopped to glance behind her, and saw a black silhouette sitting at the throne. But it was gone in a blink of an eye, as it melted again to the more recent, and familiar form of Luna.

“Of course, Princess.” And with that words Twilight left the throne room.


Twilight awoke from her nap when first sun rays hit her windows and assaulted her eyes. With a small groan she got out of her bed and stretched. Remembering what she had planned for today she quickly went through her morning routine.

After she walked out refreshed from her bathroom, she looked at her armor that now rest on a mannequin. The purple unicorn shrugged and started putting the armor on, she would be the center of attention that way, but the armor was showing a of her status, so there really was no choice in the matter of wearing it.

After a quick breakfast and a short trot to palace courtyard, Twilight found herself in the full light of Celestia’s sun. After a short time she found two pegasi to pull the chariot, and in less than an hour from when she woke up she was flying over Everfree Forest towards Fluttershy's cottage.

The day was beautiful with a clear blue sky. For the time of flight Twilight just closed her eyes and let the wind caress her. In moments as relaxing as those, she sometimes almost envied the pegasi, with their almost unlimited freedom. Sure she had a spell to create wings but they were not the real deal and quite dangerous, if a pony forgot they were just conjured magical creations.

“We will be landing soon, Commander.” One of the dark pegasi pulling the chariot announced, when he saw that his Commander was far away in her own little world...

Blinking rapidly to awake from her almost meditative state Twilight smiled slightly and nodded her thanks to the pegasus.

Five minutes and one rough landing later Twilight was standing before Fluttershy’s cottage and knocking for the fifth time. With a sigh she realised that the timid pegasus was probably in town or in the forest tending to animals.

After a quick decision she turned to the road and headed to the town. She will be checking the library first, and then Sugar Cube Corner.

When she was close enough see Ponyville fully, she was a bit shocked to see it bustling with activity. As she walked she saw two new inns she didn't remember, a few new houses, and there was one quite big construction site that she suspected was to be a hotel. It would seem that being close to Princess Luna’s palace was doing some good for the town.

That also had a little the side effect of a lot of ponies stopping what they were doing, staring at her before recognition showed on their muzzles, and then they would make a wide berth for her. Loud talking dropped to whispered conversations. And still, Twilight could sometimes discern frightful comments.

“Wonder who's she here for?”

“Can you believe it? In broad daylight...”

“No, now come here son, don’t get close to her...”

“She means trouble I tell you, we should leave.”

“You saw those eyes? Thats not normal!”

It hurt Twilight, hearing those not so discreet comments as the ponies would like to think. But she just squared her shoulders stood straighter, glared harsher and strode forward.

Surprisingly fast the purple unicorn reached the library and entered it without hesitation. Inside she saw Fluttershy hovering over bookshelves with one duster and Spike with another taking care of the lower sections. It was kind of a nostalgic sight.

Spike was the first to notice that he and the yellow pegasus were not alone anymore. He turned around and promptly dropped his duster in shock.

“Twilight!” With that he launched himself at the purple mare that he loved like a sister. Under normal circumstances Twilight would get knocked over from the impact of the small, scally missile that Spike had become. But today, in her armor and in better shape than ever, for him it was like hitting a brick wall, or steel wall to be more precise.

Twilight snickered at the walleyed baby dragon as he sat down holding his head with his claws.

The timid pegasus looked behind her in time to see Spike colliding with Twilight and sliding of her onto the floor in almost comical fashion.

“Oh Spike, shouldn’t have done that. Here let me help...” A quick flash of Twilight’s horn latter the baby dragon was up and excited again. But suddenly he quieted down, and started looking between Twilight and Fluttershy.

The timid pegasus just smiled gently and hovered closer to the door.

“Umm... Hi, Twilight. I will give you some time alone... Umm... bye Twilight.” And with that she flew out through the door.

After that, an awkward silence settled between Spike and Twilight, with Twilight looking at the baby dragon with a questioning look.

“So what was that all about?” Twilight finally asked, and she waved her hoof in the direction of the doors.

Spike moved fast and give her a fierce hug, or as fierce as he could manage. A tear slid down his face.

“I was afraid you would leave me... After Appaloosa. I’m sorry I forged your signatures!” His voice became desperate and fearful.

With a small sight Twilight wrapped her left hoof around Spike.

“Spike, I’m not going to leave you, you’re like my little brother! But I don’t want to take you to the castle... It’s not a good time, really. You wouldn't like it.” She said as she nuzzled the top his head. “Besides somepony, or rather somedragon needs to take care of the library.” She added with a small smile.

“Yeah... I know. But it’s not the same without you.”

After that was said Twilight unwrapped herself from the hug. She felt a bit bad about what she wa about to say, now that she was aware of the baby dragon fears. But it had to be done.

“Spike, we’re going to Canterlot to see Celestia. You know why.” She said with as gentle voice as she could muster. She saw the baby dragon give a small nod and a sigh.

“I know, I know...” He said dejectedly. Spike had to admit, his clawed feet looked very interesting right at this moment...

“Don’t worry too much. I’m sure Princess Celestia will just tell you not to do it again and that will be it.” Twilight’s voice had a reassuring tone to it. “Come on now, I wanted to visit Applejack in hospital and meet with Pinkie.”

“Umm... About Pinkie. There is something you should know...” Spike was now looking very uncomfortable as he looked up to look at her again. The purple mare picked on it quickly and frowned.

“Yes?” She asked after a moment of silence.

“She kind of...” Spike started to play with his claws. “Left the town.”

“What? When? For what?” Twilight’s mind searched for any plausible cause for her pink and a bit eccentric friend to leave the town.

“Well, when the news reached her what you did, she got sad. You know, straight hair and all... It took us a day to get her back her normal self. Well mostly. And then she said she will be going to visit family... She left yesterday.” The baby dragon finished and looked at Twilight again.

Twilight just sighed, heavily. The news had to hit Pinkie pretty hard.

“Well, let’s visit Applejack then.” Twilight said trying not to sound disappointed. Of all her friends, she had lately neglected Pinkie the most...

The purple mare lit her horn and levitate Spike to her back, on the post he liked the most. With him on hers back, Twilight left the library and went straight to the hospital. The travel was a quiet one, but the stares and whispers of other ponies continued to follow her.