• Published 8th Feb 2014
  • 1,467 Views, 63 Comments

Brothers and Sisters - Alphacat



To find a missing Princess Luna, Private Lucky Break, batpony soldier of the Night Guard, must breach the gulf of a thousand years of guilt to repair an all-too familiar bond between siblings.

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Epilogue

Canterlot

The Blind Rat was known for good beer, good food, and good company. Founded as a nyctan pub, it had long been welcoming to all species, and thus the rumble of conversation was filled with neighs, squwaks, and growls.

Lucky broke into a wide grin as he stepped inside the dark, noisy pub, gesturing with a hoof. “So, I tossed off my saddlebags and ran right at the river.”

Rose and his family filed in with a mixture of groans and laughs.

Rose tried to hide a laugh behind a wing. “Oh, Lucky. Tell me you didn’t.”

Lucky stomped his hooves to shake off the extra snow. “Yep. Jumped the fence and dove right into the river.”

“The Canterlot River?” asked Slip. “That’s fed by the mountain runoff. Do you know how cold it is?”

“Yes,” deadpanned Lucky. “Yes, I do.”

“So then what?”

“I dragged the kid out and gave him CPR until a medic came. They had to treat him for hypothermia, but he was fine after.”

The bar was lit by candlelight, reflecting off of the dark wood furniture filling the room. There was already a crowd present, filling the room with a pleasant buzz of chatter and laughter. Comet and Lily were both seated at an empty table, and they waved the group over.

“Lucky,” said Comet with a disbelieving shake of his head, “you’re crazy, you know that?”

“Crazy awesome, maybe.”

Comet rolled his eyes. “You should be a pegasus pancake.”

Jetstream and Evengale pulled a second table over to the first, and took a seat. Gale shot her husband a questioning look, but the stallion only shrugged.

“Hey, Comet. Hey, Lily,” said Slip as he pulled up a seat.

“Hey Slippy.”

“I want a rematch, squirt. I’ve been practicing.”

Slip nodded. “Sure. Did Lucky tell you I’ve been working on a triple thunderhead cloud?”

Comet scoffed. “Yeah. And I’ll believe that when I see it.”

With a smile, Slip shrugged. “Sure. Suit yourself.”

“Good morning, everyone,” said Glimpse from the door.

A meran unicorn with a pale purple coat leaned tiredly against Glimpse, yawning as he gave a wave. “Hey, everypony.”

“Glimpse, Peppy! Great! You guys made it.” Lucky waved them over. “Grab a seat.”

The couple stepped through the door, and Glimpse gestured to someone outside. “I think we have another guest.”

Pinkblush stepped cautiously through, peering about the bar with wide eyes.

“Pinky!” Lucky reached the door with a single flap of his wings, pulling the mare inside. “Glad you could make it!”

“My Ma almost had a conniption fit when I told her where I was goin’.” She pulled a strand of mane from her face. “But I held firm.”

“She’ll come around. Or she won’t. Don’t worry about it.”

A gruff voice shouted from the door. “Lucky! Good to see you, lad!”

Pinky turned and froze with a quiet whimper as she saw the tall gryphon standing in the doorway, shaking off flakes of snow.

“Gordon! Perfect! I want you to meet Pinky here. She just started working at the castle.”

“Oh? Well, it’s a pleasure to meet such a bonnie lass!” Gordon gave Pinky a sharp, beaky grin, holding out a clawed hand. “Put ‘er there!”

Pinky dropped her head to stare at the talons, slowly holding out a hoof. With a hard swallow she forced herself to stare into the gryphon’s eyes.

Gordon grabbed the hoof and shook it vigorously. “Och, we got a brave one here.

“W-well…”

“Hey Lucky, make sure you get some water for the lass here. Filly’s a bit too young for the hard stuff.”

Pinky cleared her throat. “I beg your pardon, but if my father taught me one thing, it was that I should never let anypony—anybody insult my ability to hold liquor.”

Gordon laughed and threw a wing over Pinkblush, pulling her over to the table. “Good lass! You got a bit o’ pluck in you after all!”

The mare gave Lucky a panicked look, but he just waved her off. “You’ll be fine! I’ll get the drinks.”

Lucky approached the bar, calling over the counter into the kitchen, where an earth pony rushed back and forth. “Hey, Barley.”

“Mornin’ Lucky. What’ll it be?”

“I’ve got a big table, so let’s do a few sampler plates and some chili cheese hay fries. And a couple pitchers.”

“Sounds good. I’ll be up front in a sec.”

“Thanks.” Lucky settled onto a bar stool. He propped his cheek on a hoof and watched all the people chatting at his table with a content smile.

Evengale caught his eye and slipped away from the table, taking a seat next to him.

“Quite the group you’ve got here.”

“Yep. Always room for one more at the table, you know?”

Gale reached up and affectionately ran a hoof through her son’s mane. “My little ambassador.”

Lucky rolled his eyes, but was still smiling as he batted the hoof away. “I’m just a pony, Mom.”

“And you’ve turned into a magnificent one.”

“Aw, jeez.” Lucky scratched his cheek to hide the warmth growing in it. “You’re being all sappy.”

Evengale chuckled softly. “I’m allowed a little sap every now and again.”

Barley deposited two trays on the counter, loaded up with pitchers and glasses. “Need a hoof with that?”

“Nah, I think we got it.” Lucky slipped a wing underneath one tray, lifting it up. “C’mon,” he said as he trotted back to his family and friends, “It’s gonna be a great night.”


Manehattan

The living room lay still and silent. The only light was the dancing of a warm flame in the fireplace, the only motion the slow rise and fall of Slip’s chest as he lay curled up in front of the fire. Lucky sat next to his brother, staring into the flickering flames as he thought. Two empty mugs sat before the fireplace, and a poetry book lay open in front of them.

Lucky’s eyes grew heavy, and he shook his head to clear the cobwebs. The pageant had been… He wasn’t sure. It hadn’t been bad, but it hadn’t kindled an enthusiasm for the holiday. He doubted it ever would; it just wasn’t a Nyctan celebration. They had their own traditions.

But when he thought about sharing a laugh with his classmates around the table, being with his family, or even just watching Slip sleep by the fire, his heart felt lighter than it had in a while. He had to admit that, despite his misgivings about the holiday and the pageant, he had had a good time. He had enjoyed himself more than he had expected to.

He knew he’d never be able to forget what he had done to Slip, but he’d keep trying to put it right. He owed his little brother that much.

Lucky stood up and stretched, working the pins and needles out of his limbs. He retrieved a blanket and carefully draped it over his younger brother’s sleeping form.

“Hey, Lucky?”

The older colt smiled and gave his brother a quick nuzzle. “Go back to sleep.”

Slip’s eyes were still closed. “Did you enjoy the pageant?”

“Yeah, Slip. I did.”

“You know what my favorite part is?”

“What?”

The smaller colt opened his eyes and turned to look up to Lucky. “My favorite part is when all the ponies had to apologize and forgive each other for all the mean things they did.”

Lucky ruffled Slip’s mane fondly. “You know, I think I like your version of the pageant better.”

Slip smiled and closed his eyes again. “Good. ‘Cause I forgive you Lucky.”

Lucky waited for the younger colt to fall asleep again. He pulled the blanket up to Slip’s chin. “Maybe someday I’ll earn it.”

He walked slowly into the kitchen. His parents were cozied up together, sharing a kiss.

Lucky rolled his eyes. “Ugh, get a room.”

Jetstream broke from the kiss briefly to comment, “We got a whole house.”

The colt shook his head and sat at the table. “Yeah, yeah. Can we talk?”

The two adults carried on for several moments before Gale gently pushed Jetstream away. “Mmm. Later, dear. There’s plenty where that came from.”

Jetstream grinned. “I’m holding you to that.” He kissed Gale’s nose, and then turned his attention to the colt. “What’s up, Lucky?”

“So… Everypony has a special talent, right?” Lucky pushed and pulled at the tablecloth with a hoof. “And mine’s flying, and I don’t ever wanna stop doing that, but…”

Gale laid her head against Jetstream’s chest. “Are you having second thoughts about going to Cloudsdale?”

Lucky shook his head. “No, not really, but… What if I’m meant to do more than just fly and be awesome? What if I’m meant to help other ponies with my talent?”

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to help your fellow ponies,” said Jetstream.

“Mom, if I said that I thought that I could be a protector, would that be okay?”

Gale smiled. “That sounds great, sweetie. We can talk about it more tomorrow.”

“Okay. Night, Mom. Night, Dad.”

“Good night, dear.”

“Good night, son.”

Lucky slipped away from the table and back into the living room. He carefully threw another log onto the fire, watching it flare up before replacing the grate. He curled up in front of his book and kept reading until his eyes drooped and he could no longer lift his head.

For the first time in a week, he slipped into a deep, restful sleep.

Comments ( 28 )

After I started reading I fell right into the story after having some problems at the beginning. (I have some problems when faced with lots of description.)

The only thing I remember disliking, is the last confrontation with Princess Luna; It just seemed to short and didn't make very much sense to me. First she is on this 'I am divine and you are not, you can't understand me' trip. Then after a few sentences of dialog - that possibly shouldn't impress the Princess very much - she is convinced that everything is okay and that she should spend Hearth's Warming Eve with her sister. I like it when semi-divine entities are put into mortal situations though, I just think she could have been a little more resistant.

On the other hand, this story was very well written. I would say the composition was excellent. The whole narrative, foreshadowing and etc. just fit together really really well. I feel bad for not having more positive things to say about this story.

Anyways, it was a good read. I give you 9 out of 10 points.

@Alphacat, We've already talked about the earlier chapters of the story at length, so I'll keep this to the finale.

Really, really enjoyed that last chapter. :twilightsmile: Wrapped things up nicely, was delightfully heartwarming, and neatly tied the two story arcs together. Considering how there's been some build-up to it, I think you handled Lucky and Slip's dynamic beautifully in both arcs. It was totally believable, and imparted many a warm, fuzzy feeling. Other than that, interested to see if Luna's foreshadowing is going to be addressed.

Nothing really to complain about in the last couple of chapters. The only scene that threw me off a little in Ch. 8 was the last one with Lily, but only a little bit, and I get the intent behind it. I'll admit that the bar scene in the epilogue initially threatened to get a little chaotic and confusing, as I was trying to keep track of who was who, but ultimately it was too much fun for me to really mind, and I got a handle on it pretty quick.

Overall, a great story, sir, and looking forward to your future works! :pinkiehappy:

4018352

Thanks for the comment! I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

The scenes with Luna were difficult to write, and and they had a lot of work and revision put into them until they got to a place that I thought felt right. I know there's a certain risk when you write this type of a story (or that type of scene), and I did my best to present a progression that was realistic, or at least realistic enough for a fictional story. I'll keep your comments in mind the next time I write a scene like that.

However, I would like to point out that I think teleporting away twice counts as being resistant. ;)

Don't feel bad! Honestly, being told that the composition of the story is excellent is probably one of the best things I could hear. And I'm thankful you brought up your issues with what was admittedly a tough scene to write.

4018447

Thank you, as always. =) The story's narrative structure was a blast to write, and I loved being able to tie things back and forth between the two storylines. And I'm glad you got the warm fuzzies, even if they ended up missing Hearth's Warming by a couple of months.

Luna's foreshadowing was mostly a reference to a scene that got axed in the giant rewrite of the first A story. All I'll say is that Luna makes drill sergeants look nice.

I'm glad you enjoyed, and I look forward to presenting my next work.

Phew, this was fantastic. You really went all out with the editing, and the thought that you put into making certain that everything fell into place is nothing short of amazing. The characters felt very real (as far as cartoon horses go), which is refreshing, when usually it's obvious that you're reading a piece of fan-made fiction.

Bravo.

4020170

Thanks! Getting the characterizations down for everyone was really important for this type of story, and I'm glad it seems to have payed off.

4031958

Thanks! It took me a long time to get right.

Enjoyable story, thanks.

Won't you... RUN
LIVE TO FLY
FLY TO LIVE
ACES HIIIIIIIIIGH!

I'll be honest with you, I didn't like this story very much. The first four chapters were pretty good – a bit clunkily written (bland descriptions here and there, and LUS all over the place) but the characterisation was great. From chapter 5 onward, however, things went downhill. The first scene with Lucky and Rose as a couple was pretty cliché, and Stormcrasher as a villain became just too over-the-top – in his motivations, his means, and his dialogue – to be believable.

And in the later chapters especially, Lucky became just too... perfect. Ace flier, always fighting to protect the innocent, forgiving his old enemies, confident enough to yell at both Princesses (and what's more, they actually listen to him) and of course he can find the time to give a motivational speech to another character (Pinkblush) in between. Naturally, his friends all tell him how awesome he is – repeatedly.

You've obviously put a lot of work into Lucky Break, and I think you made a valiant effort to make him a balanced character. I'm sorry, but I think you failed.

4034016

Thanks for the comment!

4142804

Hey, Rambler. Long time no see.

Thanks for the feedback. The earlier drafts were a lot worse, trust me, but I might have still not quite hit the mark yet. There's been a few other things brought to my attention since I published that I'm thinking of addressing with another revision, and these comments will help.

The guy kinda looks like a batpony version of SubZero.

Great story Alpha, loved every minute of it. Now if I fail my degree for spending all weekend reading this I'm blaming you :p

Stories like this keep a balding, paunchy, old sci fi/fantasy fan interested.

5797170

Well then I guess I must be doing something right. Glad you enjoyed!

7854373

I'm glad you're enjoying the story so far, but do you mind if I ask why you're skimming through the flashbacks? Is there something in particular you don't find appealing, or is it more that you don't see how it connects to the main plot?

I don't want to tell anyone how to read a story, but since you mentioned it, I will say that I intended for both storylines to work together.

8671219
Whoops. That first 'chain' probably should have been 'key.' Thanks!


8671249
I'd be lying if I said I hadn't read it. =)

Glad to hear you're enjoying the story though!

It's been years since I read and added this to my favorites list, and after coming across it again I have to say that I'm shocked it doesn't have more views. This story is criminally underrated.

9453242
Thanks for the compliment! This is probably one of the stories I've worked the hardest on that I'm the most satisfied with the results.

If I had managed to be a more prolific writer I probably would have gotten more views, but such is life. I'm glad your opinion of it hasn't changed though. =)

I'm with NightScript on this. Back before I bothered to make an account here, I would just keep track of stories by bookmarking the page on my Kindle Fire and this was one of the first multichapter stories that I really got into. After several years of being away, I'm finally coming back to give this story (along with a few others) the like and favorite it deserves.

9562460
Hey, thanks for stopping back by. I'm glad you liked the story and remembered it.

RBDash47
Site Blogger

I'm genuinely bewildered by this fic's vote-to-view ratio; I don't know how a thousand people have read it without upvoting.

Your prose is mechanically sound with few errors, but more importantly flows with ease; your characterizations are solid, both with the canon princesses and your own OCs; you did a great job building your own take on Equestria, with its populations of nyctan and meran ponies; I'm impressed by your structure, from the little things like not spoonfeeding us explanations for Lucky's special talent or what your special vocab (like "meran") means right away, to the big things like balancing present day and past throughout the narrative. I think my favorite component, though, is how you captured the tensions of your interpersonal conflicts -- I could practically feel the air thrumming whenever Lucky stood up to Luna or Celestia tried to reconnect with her sister. And a lovely moral/theme to boot.

This was very well done; thank you for sharing it with us.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

9604287
Gag me with a spoon! XD

9586302
I had this open in a tab to reply and lost it. Whoops.

I know we discussed this in chat already, but thank you very much for your comment! This is probably the longest piece of writing I've ever completed and I'm glad others enjoy it so much.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Nicely done. :D You've accomplished a lot not just in character work, but in portraying character relationships as well.

9611318
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Good story.
I really liked the flash backs.

9681718
Thanks! The flashback sequences were some of my favorite bits to write.

This story really needs more upvotes. Excellent characters and story. It plays with the "royalty open up to the guards" trope without going too overboard. I also enjoy the idea of batponies as a separate branch of ponies, including unicorns and earth ponies among them.

9784307
Thank you! I tried really hard to make sure Lucky earned that privilege. And I'm glad you liked my depiction of the Nycta.

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