Chapter 28 Define: Belated
The Magic Plane
As Twilight slowly opened her eyes; a soft warm light that seemed to come from everywhere blinded her. Quickly closing them she tried another approach and reached out with her other senses. The first thing Twilight noticed was the smell. The scent of lavender and rose petals filled her nostrils. She could almost taste the sweetness in the area. It relaxed her immediately.
She made out sounds next, the soft gentle running of a stream, a small hummingbird buzzed in the distance. The soft caress of the breeze as it blew past her fur. Softly flowing past every hair on her back, massaging and relaxing her at the same time.
“Relax young one, you are safe here.”
The voice was soft and smooth, it was a mother’s voice comforting her young. Twilight tried again to open her eyes; she wanted to see who could possibly make such a sweet gentle voice.
“Don't open your eyes too quickly, the light takes a bit to get used to. Relax, let it happen naturally.”
Twilight relaxed herself, lying down in the softest grass she had ever felt. It took a few minutes but she was finally able to regain her magic vision.
The sight she took in was breathtaking, lush green fields as far as the eye could see. A stunning lake in the distance that reflected the beauty of the mountain range, Twilight had never seen the sun with such a soft warm glow. It enhanced the splendor of the landscape. Gasping in surprise, Twilight saw that while the sun's light highlighted everything it touched in its warm glow, the stars were still visibly shining brightly in the sky. The elegance of the whole landscape would have caused artists to strive their entire life in a futile attempt to capture the smallest section of its resplendence. However, all of it was completely overshadowed by the pony above her.
The true allure was just now standing over Twilight Sparkle. She was a pony unlike any other Twilight had ever seen before. She had grace that would have given Rarity a run for her bits. A kindness to her that was only matched by Fluttershy, an aura of nobility that Twilight had only seen from Celestia, this pony had all of those features and more. One could easily be forgiven for losing themselves just from looking at her for too long. As Twilight stared up at the Goddess, she could not help herself as her mind went blank. She had been in the presence of two Gods to date. Tartarus and Chaos. Tartarus had left her with a level of shock and a little fear. He seemed to command the forces of death itself. Chaos just left her confused. She supposed that was the response he was going for.
Eros just left her in wonder. This pony, this God, she was everything the books said a God should be. Eros took the form of an alicorn, one that would make Celestia seem small in comparison, her pink coat, purple and yellow mane reminded Twilight of Princess Cadance. Given what she suspected, that seemed appropriate.
“Are you better now, young one?”
“Yes, thank you. What is this place and who are you?” Twilight figured it was best not to assume anything.
“Well dear one, this is my, shall we say, resting area. It's where I come to when I'm not quite myself.”
“When you have an Avatar you mean.” It was not a question.
The pony just smiled at Twilight, that one act was almost enough for Twilight to forget all her worries, almost. “It seems my older brother has already filled you in on that, as for who I am, I'm certain you already know that too.”
“That is correct little one, I suppose you have already figured out the truth of who you are too.”
“I think… I think I'm Gaia, her Avatar I mean.”
“It seems as if my dear brother left out a few small details. Twilight, you are indeed Gaia’s Avatar. However, you are Twilight Sparkle. Never forget that.”
“That doesn't make sense and don't tell me I'm in the Realm of Chaos, I know for a fact we're not in Pinkie's head.”
Eros just chuckled, “Indeed my little pony, that place can drive me crazy at times, it is a testament to your strength of will that you survived such a place without going mad.”
“I had help…”
“I know, but we will get to that soon, for now your question. You see when I create an Avatar, I do not stop being me, it is more of a conjunction of souls. The soul I join and myself are both completely different, we simply share the experience. For a God it is a very unique occurrence, we forget ourselves and cohabit a body with another soul, each party lives the life. The process is usually flawless. When the body dies the soul moves on to its place of rest, and the God returns to theirs, until they decide to do it again that is.”
“Understand young one, something like this has never happen before. When you lost the one you so loved, for those few moments you lost everything inside of you that made you, you. All your emotions and strength left you in that moment. Let me try and simplify this, when you look upon the realm below, the one you can see with your… magic vision, I believe is what she called it?” Twilight nodded.
“Yes I thought that is what she said, anyway I digress, when you look upon it, you can see other ponies and their natural strengths and weakness. Such is life that any soul that exists has such. When you lost her, every single bit of energy left you at that moment. A rare event to be sure, made infinitely rarer by the fact that there was one thing you could not lose, my dear sister, Gaia. Her strength is infinite. As an empty vessel you instinctually grabbed onto that power, you formed a bridge with Gaia. In essence, at that moment, you became a living incarnation of Gaia, something that I foolishly thought to be impossible.” A sad expression covered Eros’s face.
“Is she still in me.”
“Again you miss the concept, she is you, and you are her. It is… complicated for a mortal to understand.”
Twilight considered this for a minute, provided Eros was telling the truth and out of all of Gods she had met Twilight had no reason to believe Eros was not. Twilight was a God, and a God was Twilight. It was too big, too much for her to take in alone. She needed somepony else’s opinion on this. What had Rainbow told her all those days ago?
‘You are the smartest pony I know, maybe a little too smart, that is why I can see something simple that you might overlook.’
Thinking about Rainbow turned out to be a huge mistake, all of a sudden none of this mattered to Twilight. The flora, the fauna, the sun, the stars, and even the God that was talking to her. These things were happy, they were things that tried to make her happy, Twilight could not be happy, not without Rainbow.
“You truly do love her, don’t you?”
“…Yes.” Tears began falling from Twilight.
“Your love, she loves you too, always remember that.”
“No she doesn’t.” Twilight sobbed the words out. She did not believe them but she could not stop herself from saying them anyway.
“Oh, what makes you say that, Twilight?”
“You don't hurt the one you love. If she loved me, she wouldn’t have left me and hurt me so much.” Twilight began weeping uncontrollably now. Eros scooped up the young alicorn in her hooves, allowing her to cry onto her shoulder.
“Twilight, I can promise you one thing, A love as strong as the one you and her share, it could never end.”
“….” Twilight wanted to disagree, but every time she opened her mouth all she could manage was sobs.
“I can prove it if you want.”
That got Twilight attention in a big way, “How? Every time I look for her she's hidden from me.”
“Indeed she might be, my brothers Occulous is quite effective at hiding its user, even from other Gods. However, there are many ways of finding somepony, I know of one such way. One that I have shared with no one else.”
“How did you find me?”
“Indeed Twilight, although that is only a fraction of what is possible, you see when two souls love each other a bond is formed. One that only true betrayal can ever shatter, that bridge as you called it; that was only part of the connection that existed between you and my Avatar, Cadance. The love she has for you and you for her. It exists on multiple planes. Including one that only I can see. If you want, I can show you how to see it too.”
“Please… I have to know.” Twilight sobbed out the last words.
Eros held the purple alicorn in her hooves and kissed her horn.
The effect was instantaneous, as if a light switch was flipped her mind. Twilight could now see the bonds of love that connected every soul together. Eros had million of them coming from her, as the Goddess of love Twilight expected no less. What shocked Twilight was the number that was coming from her own chest.
“I don’t love this many ponies.”
“Dear one, love exists in all shapes and sizes, bond exists like this between almost everypony that meets. You have love for your friends, love for your family, and even love for your townsfolk. What is the true mark is the size of the bonds.”
Twilight looked down, Eros was right, while she had many bonds, only a few were of any real size. Of that group, six of those were bigger than the rest. Touching one, she was instantly aware of Rarity, the mare was currently laying by the bedside of Spike, happy talking to him about her latest fashion design she wanted to try out on him. Another led her to Applejack, who seemed to fret over Shining Armor's health as he turned down yet another apple treat. Twilight suspected that Shiny would not have been able to keep anything down anyway, his concern for his wife evident on his face. Of all the connections, one of them dwarfed the size of all of the rest combined. Twilight could not help but touch this one.
The journey down this one was different, when she touched the others she was simply there, time and distance having no meaning. On this one, she seemed to be traveling along, as she reached the end the truth as to why became self evident, this was her connection to Rainbow Dash. The staff around dash was emanating an aura. It was trying to delay this connection, but try as it might, even an object as powerful as an Occulous could not stop it. Twilight soon arrived in Dash’s thoughts.
‘I have to move on, I made a promise. Make her hate me, it will hurt her less.’ Twilight's vision was soon flooded with Dash’s memories, the pain Twilight suffered on that dreadful day, the promise Dash made not once, but three separate times. All of it, even Rainbow’s conversation with the Occulous itself, it all came to Twilight in an instant. She felt weak at the knees, not only did Dash love her, she loved her enough to sacrifice everything she was to fix Twilight’s mistake, and to prevent her from ever going through the pain of losing Rainbow again. Rainbow Dash blamed herself for the pain Twilight went through on that day and would do whatever it took to prevent it from happening again.
Her vision returned to Eros holding her tightly in her hooves. Twilight started crying again, although for the first time she could remember, she did not believe that these were tears of pain, but tears of joy.
"Always remember dear one, the true magic in this world is what the love that exists between two souls can create."
After several minutes the tears finally stopped flowing. As Eros let her go she sit back and looked at the God in front of her. A grateful expression on her face, “Thank you for that. It means more to me then you could possibly know.”
Eros beamed a smile at her sister, such thanks were not needed.
“I do want to ask, you implied that this is not the first time you created an Avatar, is the same true for me… I mean Gaia.”
“No dear sister, you see Gaia had never created one before, while I have done this many times in the past. Gaia was always too concerned with our dear brother to drop her guard in such a way. In the end it was with a little pushing by me that convinced her to try it. I did not know that Chaos would be released while she was you.” Eros’s face took a guilty expression at that, Gaia’s greatest concern was that Chaos would return while she was away, Eros herself had made the argument that he had been locked up for over a thousand years. What were the chances in the next lifespan he would be come back? She suspected some foul play by her brother on that one, the timing had been a little too perfect.
“How is it that Cadance or you, became my foalsitter? That seemed a little unlikely to be a coincidence.”
“Consider the following Twilight, Cadance is very gifted with love, and when she became an alicorn it only increased tenfold. Naturally, she would begin to see the connections, even if she did not fully understand them. Over time she would see the one I share with my sister, with you. Is it little wonder she would find herself so enamored with you?”
Twilight stared up to Eros, “Tell me one last thing, Chaos said that the universe is chaotic in nature, that there might yet be a way for me to save her. Do you know how I can… save Rainbow, I mean?”
Eros smiled at the alicorn, it was a smile that seemed to convey sympathy, love, and hope all at once. Before she could give Twilight a reply her face twisted into one of pain. “Twiiillligght… it's commminngg.”
Concern crossed Twilight’s face. “What coming? What's wrong? Eros…” Twilight’s world flew by; it felt almost like something was expelling her from this world. Pushing Twilight back into the waking world. Again she found herself unable to see.
As Twilight opened her eyes, the sight before her caused her whole body to shudder, Cadance was in lying on her bed, Convolutions racked her body. Her face spoke of the large amount of pain she was in. Twilight reacted as quickly as she could. Using her magic, she blew the double doors down the hallway. Startling the guards that were appointed outside.
“GET MY BROTHER… AND A DOCTOR, THE FOAL IS COMING!”
The two began moving immediately, the level of magic energy flowing from Twilight at that moment caused them to react without thinking. They could not disobey that order even if their own lives were in danger.
Twilight turned back to Cadance. “Don’t worry Cadance, I'm here, I'm not going anywhere.” She began petting Cadance's mane, cooing softly to her as Cadance struggled with the next contraction. Twilight was doing her best to try and make the alicorn as comfortable as possible. It was not helping.
“Twilight!!!!” Cadance screamed as another contraction hit. This one lasted for over ten seconds, it quickly turned into one long scream, the sounds of souls being annihilated in Tartarus did not sound that bad. All Twilight could do was hold onto Cadance and cry. An eternity later the sound stopped, at first Twilight had assumed Cadance had passed out, but her eyes were still open, the pain had finally passed without knocking the alicorn out. Twilight’s foalsitter simply lay there, her breathing broken and slow. Blood leaking out onto the bed.
Twilight swore that if the doctors did not get there in the next minute them and those guards would find themselves living on the moon when this was over.
Fifty three seconds later the doctors arrived, they unceremoniously pushed the purple alicorn out of the way and went to work on Cadance. They all seemed really worried and while Twilight had an above average understanding of medical procedures, her mind could not comprehend the finer details. All she caught was something about needing blood.
Feeling around with her hooves for something, anything to grab on too. Twilight found a pillow that had been knocked off the bed. She grabbed it and squeezed with all her might. As if the more pressure she put on the pillow the less pain Cadance would be in. Twilight’s current state of mind was not processing information the way it normally would. As such she did not notice when white energy surrounded her body and took her out of the room. She did not notice when she was brought out into the hallway. However, she did notice when a white set of hooves began hugging her. Her mind finally registered what had occurred, Shining Armor had taken Twilight out of the way and was now hugging her for all he was worth.
“Brother… I… am… so… sorry…” it took Twilight almost five minutes to say that one sentence.
“Twilight, listen to me, we don't blame you for this. We both love you unconditionally, and neither of us would ever hold you accountable for this. We love you more then anything Twilight. Always remember that, regardless of what happens today.”
“How can you, after all this. After all I have done, after all that has happened, I hate me. Why don’t you?”
“Don't say that Twilight, never say that. I could never hate you, Cadance could never hate you, and you should never hate you either. What happened happened. We cannot change the past; all we can do is decide for ourselves what our own actions going forward will be. Come what may, my actions will be to love my sister, forever. I know for a fact that Cadance feels the same. We forgive any crime you may think you have committed against us. However, you must forgive yourself too.”
“I don't know if I can…”
“Then don't do it for yourself. Do it for others, do it for me, Cadance, and all your friends. One of the greatest lessons I can hope to teach you is that the hardest thing to do is to live life for yourself, fortunately, the easiest thing to do is to live life for others.”
“When did you get so smart, BBBFF?”
“You cannot be married to a princess and have another as a sister and not pick up on a few things.” He playfully rubbed Twilight's head, messing up her mane in the process.
One of the doctors soon interrupted the two, “Prince Shining Armor. I'm sorry, the foal is almost here.”
After a nod from Twilight, Shining left his sister and ran to his wife. Twilight looked around. ‘It's too late… I was going to be an aunt… I needed more time… I needed just a few more hours… I need everything to stop…’ “Everything needs to stop!!” While not intending to, Twilight screamed that last part.