• Published 26th Jan 2014
  • 4,493 Views, 513 Comments

The Heart of an Author - Oroboro

Mystery. Love. Magic. Murder. Truth. These are all important elements in the murder mystery Fluttershy has written, and is now asking Twilight to read. But she struggles to solve the mystery in which it turns out she's the protagonist.

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Chapter 11 - Meta

Twilight awoke in darkness, her body seemingly floating in a formless void.

So this is death, huh? The last thing she remembered was pain as the flames had surrounded her. Not exactly what she was expecting, but who really knew what came after the end?

Reflexively she tried to move and found all of her appendages responding normally, although they flailed uselessly as she floated with no gravity to orient to.

When she tried to channel some magic, she was greeted with a sharp stab of pain. She tried to cry out, but no sound escaped from her lips. She reached up to rub her aching horn with a hoof.

So it caused ponies pain to try and cast magic in the afterlife? This was getting a little weird.

Twilight craned her neck around, tumbling slowly through the void as she desperately searched for any point she could fixate on. There, in the distance, she finally spotted a tiny glimmer of golden light.

She flapped her wings to try and maneuver through the darkness, but it was no use. There was no air for her wings to take purchase on, and her efforts just sent her into a nauseating spin. Oddly enough, she was still able to breathe.

Thankful for the additional balance her wings provided her, she eventually managed to stabilize herself out, and through some brief experimentation, figured out the mechanics of zero gravity movement.

While she couldn’t necessarily fly, with powerful wing thrusts she was able to use the momentum to propel herself through the void. The glint of golden light in the distance slowly grew larger.

As she began to pick up speed, she wondered if maybe this was a mistake, and she had just sent herself hurtling towards her doom. Well, more doomed than her current predicament, anyway.

Drawing closer, the light revealed itself to be… just a formless light. Which was certainly odd, but better than a burning ball of plasma, she supposed. The light seemed to possess a gravity of its own, and she felt herself being pulled towards it, faster and faster.

She closed her eyes and covered them with her hooves as the light became blinding. Warmth enveloped her before she suddenly crashed into something solid, her legs splaying out across the ground.

She groaned, and realizing she had her voice back, pulled herself up and looked around. She seemed to be in a dark room of some sort; shadows of furniture silhouetted themselves against a large window that looked out into the void.

“Glad you could make it, Twilight. Sorry about the landing. This isn’t exactly the most accessible of places.”

Light filled the room, and Twilight spun about to face the unfamiliar voice. A large golden alicorn with a short purple mane loomed over her.

“You!” Twilight snarled, lowering her head and attempting to fire up her magic. Once again, she was met with a sharp pain lancing through her horn and she cried out, knees buckling.

“Now, now. Is that any way to treat a host who has graciously invited you into her home?” Golden Wish asked, an arrogant smirk playing at her lips as she looked down at Twilight.

With a roar, Twilight leapt to the side, diving for the nearby furniture. She grabbed a chair with her hooves and lifted it above her head. “You killed all my friends!” she shouted as she hurled the chair towards Golden Wish.

As it sailed through the air, the chair flickered and vanished, re-appearing exactly where it had been before.

Golden Wish shook her head, clicking her tongue. “This isn’t exactly a place that fits the descriptor of “real”. Certainly not in the sense that you can go throwing things around or breaking them left and right.”

“You. Murdered. My. FRIENDS!” Twilight screamed, lowering her horn and charging as bloodlust filled her veins.

As Twilight grew near, Golden Wish teleported to the other side of the room, and Twilight skidded to a halt.

“Did I, now?” Golden Wish asked, looking at one of her hooves as if she was bored. “That’s an awfully poignant accusation to be throwing around so casually. Do you have any proof?”

Twilight stared, her mouth hanging open. After everything that had happened, she had the gall to play dumb? “Are you seriously trying to deny that you did it?”

Golden Wish grinned, gesturing around the room. “Where do you think we are, Twilight?”

Twilight blinked, looking around. The room was pretty similar to the mansion’s lounge in style, the center of the room dominated by a pair of chairs and a small round table. Other than the gaping maw of darkness just outside the window, it was completely normal.

“Am I… dead?” Twilight asked, apprehension creeping into her voice.

“Yes and no. Perhaps. Depends on how you look at it. There are a lot of answers to a question like that Twilight, and this world is not a place of absolutes.”

Twilight rolled her eyes. “You’re not making sense.”

Golden Wish threw back her head and laughed, her arrogant cackle echoing across the room. “This is a world of in betweens. Right now you exist on the border of life and death. In between fiction and reality. Balanced on the edge of possibility and uncertainty.”

“Are you just making this up?” Twilight asked, raising an eyebrow. “Okay, how about this, then? Why am I here?”

“That one’s much easier,” Golden Wish said as she moved towards the table. “You’re here to play a game with me.”

With a golden glow of her horn, a chess set materialized on the table before them.

Twilight stared blankly. “So you killed all my friends and brought me to this existential nightmare… to play a game of chess?”

Golden Wish rolled her eyes. “The chess set is just a metaphor. The actual game is far grander than that.” With a flick of her horn, the outside of the window changed to show an image of the mansion. With each flash of her horn, the image changed again, showing Twilight arriving at the mansion, eating dinner with her friends, finding the bodies of Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie, and many other horrible reminders of the recent past in rapid succession.

“Tell me, Twilight. Do you know what happened to you during those two days? What happened to your friends? How they were killed? Why? By whom?”

Growling, Twilight stomped a hoof. “You killed them all to enact some sort of horrible ritual or whatever, which is probably why I’m here. This is getting ridiculous. Why are we even having this conversation?”

Golden Wish let out a sigh, shaking her head and looking disappointed. “Do you KNOW that that’s the case? Can you state that with absolute certainty and conviction, and be willing to bet your life and the lives of your friends on that judgement?

Twilight balked, her face scrunching up in confusion. “I… I don’t understand. What are you trying to get at? What other answer could there be?”

“That’s what I’m asking you,” Golden Wish said, smiling. “Let’s try something a little more specific, shall we?”

With another flash of her horn, the image outside the window changed back to the scene right before Twilight opened up the shed to find the nightmare within.

“Now then. Do you remember anything odd about the construction of this crime? Maybe of the shed?”

Twilight frowned. There was something odd about it all, but she had been preoccupied at the time and hadn’t really devoted any time to thinking about it. “I never understood why there was the cutie mark in red paint on the door… or why there was a similar one on the library door.”

The scene continued to play, and Twilight watched as she used her telekinesis to tear the door off of its hinges. “That’s right… the door was locked, and we didn’t have the key. And I guess there was a chain lock on the inside too…”

Golden Wish threw back her head and laughed, grinning wickedly. “So tell me. How does a pony commit a murder behind a door that can only be locked from the inside?”

Twilight blinked, raising an eyebrow. “It’s not as if a chain lock is some impenetrable barrier. Any unicorn could easily lock or unlock it from the outside, or teleport in and out.”

“What if I told you that neither telekinesis nor teleportation were used to construct this closed room?”

“Then I’d call you a liar,” Twilight deadpanned.

“Humor me,” Golden Wish said with a yawn. “Really now, is one of Equestria’s greatest scholars unable to come up with any other solution?”

Twilight opened her mouth to respond, but couldn’t find the words. There were surely any number of ways to create a scenario like this. Just because she wasn’t aware of them off the top of her head didn’t mean they didn’t exist.

“There could be a secret panel in the back or in the floor or something,” Twilight offered up weakly.

Golden Wish snorted with contempt. “A hidden panel? Really? Did you see anything like that, hmm? Who would build a hidden panel like that in a garden shed?”

“Who would put a chain lock on a garden shed?” Twilight countered. “Something like that is no more ridiculous than anything else. Besides, there are probably ways a pony could set a chain lock from the outside using a wire, or maybe using a powerful magnet. Or just other spells besides telekinesis or teleportation. Just because it’s not something I’ve studied extensively doesn’t mean it can’t be done.”

“Tch,’ Golden Wish muttered. She held an odd expression for awhile, like she wanted to say something more but was holding herself back. “Whatever. It’s not like I planned to dwell on past tricks and puzzles. Not when I’ve created such a deviously delightful new gameboard for us to play with.”

“A new gameboard?” Twilight asked, narrowing her eyes suspiciously. “Just what is that supposed to mean?”

Golden Wish bowed theatrically. “Another episode in the exciting adventures of Twilight and her friends in the murder mansion! When the bodies start to pile up, will Twilight be able to solve the mystery and save herself in time? Or will the cruel hands of fate crush her when the clock strikes midnight? The answer, Twilight, is up to you.”

Twilight snarled, fervently wishing she had access to her magic. “Is this all just some kind of sick joke? Just what kind of monster are you, anyway?”

Golden Wish’s expression darkened and she pursed her lips, staring down at Twilight in silence. After a long moment she turned away, moving towards the window.

“I’m getting tired of explaining things to you, so I’m just going to go ahead and start the game. If you succumb to despair and give in now, I suppose I’ll be the winner, but I was rather hoping to crush you at your best,” Golden Wish said, turning back to sneer at Twilight.

“And if I refuse to play?” Twilight asked.

"Then you give up on your only chance to find the truth and to, perhaps, change your fate."

Twilight stared, sizing up the alicorn before her. None of this made any sense whatsoever. But then again, common sense seemed to have flown out the window when she first touched down on the grounds of the mansion.

She had gone ballistic when Golden Wish called her out at midnight, and been engulfed by the flames that had sprung up out of nowhere. With a pang of grief, Twilight realized that Rainbow Dash had likely been caught in the inferno as well.

"What's in this for you?" Twilight asked, keeping her voice steady.

Golden Wish frowned, bringing a hoof to her chin. "What's in this for me? Why, the enjoyment of playing the game, of course! Boredom is poison to a being like me "

Twilight narrowed her eyes. It was a pretty obvious half-truth, but she somehow doubted she would get any more information out of the cackling alicorn in front of her.

"Fine. I'll play your game," Twilight said. Her stomach curled with the revulsion of accepting the terms of this... creature, but if there was any chance she could reverse this tragedy, she had to play along. At least for now.

Golden Wish smiled, perking up at Twilight's acquiescence. "Wonderful! I have quite the devious tale planned for you."

With a wave of her horn, the scene changed to show the inside of a familiar museum. “This time, our story starts a little earlier."

Twilight set the papers down, staring blankly as her mind reeled in confusion.

"So, let me get this straight. There's Twilight Sparkle, trapped in a mansion of horrors. Then there's Twilight Sparkle, trapped in some sort of meta-plane of existence, watching over herself and her friends. And then there's me, sitting here reading about both of them. Is that all? Is there another Twilight out there somewhere reading about me?"

The only response she received was a long yawn from the cat and an adorably quiet snore from Fluttershy as she continued sleeping.

Of all the possibilities she had imagined for a sequel, this was pretty far off the mark, and she had a feeling it was only going to get weirder.

At least it had already made some things clearer. Applejack and Rarity's romance, while it still made her feel a bit uncomfortable, had fleshed out some of her unanswered questions and explained Applejack's behavior in the previous novel.

She wasn’t quite grasping the overall purpose to the narrative to the mystery, though. Or, for that matter, the nature of a mystery that involved meta-characters in a mystery arguing over the mystery. She supposed it didn't technically violate the rules of Knocks, but she doubted the old author would have particularly approved. Then again, it was still too early to really say.

Speaking of Knocks, Golden Wish had raised an interesting point about the scene of the first murder. Closed room tricks weren't exactly uncommon in the mystery genre, but unicorn magic tended to invalidate all but the most elaborate of rooms, so authors had to be careful when using them. She had noticed the closed room tricks before, but they hadn't been particularly emphasized by the narrative, and she hadn't given them much thought.

Would constructing such a room without magic really be possible? While Meta-Twilight had speculated on the possibility of a hidden panel, she had Fluttershy's admission that both novels followed Knocks, which meant that secret doors shouldn't be a factor.

"I don't know," Twilight said with a sigh. "What do you think?"

The cat stared at her, blinking slowly before idly licking its paw.

Chuckling softly, Twilight turned to regard Fluttershy instead. The pegasus was curled up in a deep sleep, her chest rising and falling slowly, her smile content and peaceful.

Twilight was unable to stop herself from smiling at the sight. Whatever her misgivings about the content, Fluttershy had certainly created something unique. She felt strangely proud. This was a story she would likely never forget.

She had a strong desire to wake her up and discuss these twists, but she resisted. Fluttershy had somehow gotten this all done in a single night and deserved her rest. For now, anyway.

"What do you think is going to happen next?" Twilight asked.


"You're right. There's only one way to find out."

“Wow, congratulations, you two! I’m really happy for you!”

Having said her part, Twilight watched as the newly announced couple were showered in the congratulations and adoration of their friends.

Applejack had ruined the surprise earlier, but it had given Twilight a chance to think things over before the announcement. Two of her best friends were getting married out of the blue when she hadn’t even known they were dating. A lot of things were going to change, and it would take some time getting used to.

“I just don’t know what to do, Twilight. I love her so much, but something is eating her up inside, I can feel it. She keeps lashing out and won’t let me in. She’s the one who asked me, but I wonder if she’s really ready to get married after all…”

Twilight leaned her head back and sunk deeper into the hot springs, listening to Rarity’s side of things. She found herself fascinated by the shimmering radiance cast by her shield as the storm raged outside as she worked on piecing together her thoughts. Applejack had hinted at trouble in the relationship earlier, and that it was stemming from her side.

“That’s um, the end. I hope you all enjoyed it,” Fluttershy said, blushing.

Well, for a so-called ghost story, it wasn’t exactly what Twilight had been expecting. Still, she’d have to give an A for effort, even if it was rather summarized and with more than a few inconsistencies, besides. Something about the whole legend of Golden Wish was bothering her, though, and she wanted to take a chance to do some more research later.

Twilight let out a sigh and slumped her head against the table. She just wasn’t finding anything in these books about the legend Fluttershy had told. Maybe a few scraps here and there that might indicate at least some glimmer of truth, but nothing concrete and a lot of dead ends.

She was about to give it up and call it a night when she was interrupted by a knock on the door.

“Hey, Twi, you got a minute?” Applejack asked, poking her head in the door.

“Sure! Did you need a book or something?” Twilight asked, perking up visibly. The distraction of a friend was just what she needed.

“Er, not exactly. I mean, you were looking up stuff on that story Shy told earlier, yeah? Did you find anything out?”

Twilight bit her lip. “I’m afraid not. And believe me, I’ve been looking.”

When relief washed over Applejack’s face, Twilight frowned, studying her closely. “Applejack, why are you so interested in this, anyway? I mean, my curiosity is purely academic, but you’ve been on edge ever since I got here. What’s the matter?”

Applejack lowered her head and pawed at the ground. “It’s… complicated, alright?”

Twilight closed her book, reaching out with her magic and setting it aside. “Sounds to me like you could really use a friend to talk this over with.”

With a sigh, Applejack took off her hat and set it on the table before burying her head under her hooves. “You’ve gotta promise never to tell anypony.”

“Cupcake, eyes, yada yada, you know the drill,” Twilight said, waving a hoof dismissively.

Applejack drummed her hoof on the table and traced idle circles along the grain in silence for a long while before she finally took a deep breath and shook her head. “You remember last year’s conference? Well, I was a little fixated on Rarity at the time, so I…”


“... I just can’t help but think I did it. That I forced Rarity t’love me because I’m a selfish fool. It was easy enough to dismiss as impossible, but with Fluttershy telling that story I’m going nuts. I just can’t think straight anymore. Please, Twi, you gotta help me.”

Twilight stared at Applejack, her mouth hanging open. This was a far more serious problem than she had expected, and dealing with this would require some very careful handling.

“Wow, Applejack, I’m so sorry. This must be destroying you inside. But even if something like this were true, I wouldn’t think you’re a bad pony. Even in the absolute worst case scenario, it’s nothing more than a tragic accident,” Twilight said, reaching out to rest a hoof on her shoulder.

“That ain’t no excuse,” Applejack spat bitterly. “I shoulda known better, and I shoulda – ”

Twilight cut her off by placing a hoof over her mouth. “You’ve had your chance to wallow in self pity for far too long. Let me tell you what I know about magic like this.”

Pulling her hoof away, Applejack nodded glumly and Twilight continued. “First off: compulsion magic powerful enough to force a pony to love another pony against their will doesn’t leave them much in the way of normal behavior. You remember that mess with your brother all those years ago. And I don’t know about you, but it seemed to me that Rarity still had plenty going on besides a mindless obsession with you.”

“Yeah, but…”

“Second: there are weaker types of compulsion magic that can give suggestions, plant ideas, or strengthen already existing feelings. Their influence tends to be a lot more subtle and more difficult to detect.”

“So you’re saying that I really did –”

“BUT ultimately the way magic works, going by what you described to me, there’s no way simply touching a bracelet could forcibly alter a pony’s will like that. At least, under the laws of any sort of magic I know of. It’s technically possible that a power like that could exist without me knowing, but what do you honestly think is more likely? That by touching a bracelet in a museum storeroom while happening to think of a particular pony it magically read your heart’s desire and forced that pony to be your love slave? Or that it’s just a coincidence, Rarity’s feelings for you are genuine, and you’re acting like a complete fool?”

Applejack flinched at Twilight’s verbal onslaught. “Wow, Twi. I like it simple and to the point, but when you use a lot of words, you really know how to overwhelm a pony, don’t ya?”

Twilight grinned, clapping Applejack on the shoulder. “And here’s something you won’t hear me say very often. You’re overthinking this. Look, no matter what really happened, you need to go talk to Rarity and tell her the truth. That’s your specialty. And disregarding a fantasy about wishes, your actions are hurting her right here and now. Do you love her?”

Applejack nodded and sighed as she put her hat back on. “I do. More than anything. Thanks, Twi. I reckon I needed a good kick to the rear.”

“Telling the truth isn’t always easy, but you know that,” Twilight said, nodding.

She watched as Applejack left the library and practically galloped down the hall.

Once she was out of sight, Twilight let out a long sigh, allowing the tension to drain away. To think, beyond having just gotten into a serious relationship, Applejack had been carrying a mental burden like that for months now. Twilight was beginning to feel like she barely knew her friends anymore.

A nagging uncertainty tugged at her heart. For all her encouragement, Twilight wasn’t completely sold on the idea of the legend being total rubbish. With Applejack’s confirmation that the Mareami museum had once had an exhibit there, she might be able to find a few more clues by narrowing down her search a bit.

Looks like she wouldn’t be getting much sleep after all.

“Time is growing short, sister.”

Celestia kept her eyes closed, setting her teacup on the table gently. “I am well aware, Luna. This is not a tale that is likely to have a happy ending, no matter what we do.”

Luna let out a sigh, idly running a hoof around the edge of her teacup. “The game is rigged,” she muttered, pouting.

“Doesn’t that just make victory all the sweeter?” Celestia asked, grinning. “Besides. Our host has been ever so gracious to invite us all here. The least we can do is respect her wishes.”

“Oh Celestia. You always did have such a way with manners.”

As a new voice echoed across the study, the air began to shimmer and swirl, golden streaks of light twisting and coalescing into the shape of a third alicorn.

“Look who decided to join us,” Luna said dryly, scooting over so Golden Wish could join them at the table.

Golden Wish beamed, smiling innocently at Luna. “I know we’re not technically related, but I really do feel like we’re a family, don’t you?”

Celestia chuckled. “Come now, Goldy. Stop teasing Luna. Your game is ready, is it not? Tell us about it.”

“It’s all about that ever surprising student of yours, of course,” Golden Wish said, pouring herself a cup of tea. “So energetic, such a passion for learning, and the bonds she shares with her friends are to die for. You picked a real winner.”

“So then why not let her be?” Luna spat bitterly. “Twilight has proven herself again and again. There’s no need for her to face your particular brand of barbarism.”

“Oh come now. It’s not that bad, is it? Besides, I get visitors so rarely this far out in the middle of nothingness. Can’t a princess let it go and live a little?”

As Luna continued to glower, their tea party was interrupted by a soft knocking. “Um, Princess Celestia? Princess Luna? Are you awake? I just wanted to see if you needed anything…”

“And that, ladies, is my cue to leave,” Golden Wish said, gulping down the rest of her tea and standing up. “That would be the yellow one, Fluttershy, yes? Pass this on for me, would you?”

As Golden Wish disappeared in a flash of golden light, a letter embossed with gold filigree fell down to the table with a clunk.

Fluttershy poked her head in the door. “Oh, um, you are awake. I hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

“Not at all, dear Fluttershy,” Celestia said warmly. “Come in and join us for some tea. What keeps you up at this hour?”

Fluttershy entered and sat down. “Oh, um. I was having trouble sleeping, so I decided I’d stretch my legs a bit, and made the rounds about the mansion.” With a whimsical giggle, she added, “I um, passed by the library and caught Twilight asleep on top of a book.”

Celestia giggled, holding a hoof over her mouth. “My my. Five years a princess and sometimes she still acts just like the little filly I first met. She’d spend so many hours doing research and I often ended up carrying her to bed.”

Fluttershy smiled a distant look in her eyes. “It’s hard to imagine Twilight being that young. She’s changed so much over the years I’ve known her… but I guess at least some things stay the same…”

“You seemed troubled,” Luna said, staring at Fluttershy intently. “Does something ail you?”

“Oh, um,” Fluttershy mumbled, flinching slightly at the intensity of her gaze. “As much as I like it here, being in this mansion gives me bad dreams sometimes. And, well, I guess I just miss the way things used to be.”

“Ah, of course,” Celestia said, nodding. “Change. Sometimes it’s slow and calm, like a gentle stream, others times it’s disrupting fast, like a raging river. Whether you fight it or go with the flow. it will eventually overtake us all.”

Fluttershy nodded, her brow furrowed in thought. “How do think Twilight deals with it? She’s so… wise, now.”

"She is strong, but the mantle of leadership is heavy indeed. Her heart is just as vulnerable as anypony else's."

"I see..." Fluttershy said, nodding. "Thank you for the advice. I should really try and get some sleep myself."

"Before you go Fluttershy, take this." Celestia levitated the letter off of the table and offered it to her. "Give it to Twilight tomorrow morning. She’ll know what to do with it when the time comes.”

Fluttershy took the letter in her mouth, finding it surprisingly heavy. With a bow, she left, closing the door behind her.

Luna turned to glare daggers at her sister. "Really? You're involving her, now?"

"We are all involved, whether we like it or not. None of us will be able to escape this cruel fate."

"Um, hey, Twilight..."

A soft whisper cut through the abyss of darkness, followed by a gentle prodding.

"I, um, don't want to bother you or anything, but that looks pretty uncomfortable."

Twilight's eyes snapped open, and she found herself face to face with Fluttershy.

“Eep!” Fluttershy squeaked and yanked her face back, stumbling over herself as she bumped into a nearby table. “I-I’m sorry, Twilight, I didn’t mean to wake you! Er, I did, but you looked really uncomfortable, so I thought it would be better if you went to bed…”

“What time is it?” Twilight mumbled, letting out a long yawn as she wiped the drool from her face.

“It’s about two o’clock in the morning,” Fluttershy said, glancing up at the clock.

“Then how come you’re awake?” Twilight asked as she stood up and stretched her wings.

Fluttershy blushed, looking away. “I was having trouble sleeping. It really is great to see you all again.”

Twilight nodded and allowed Fluttershy to lead her out of the Library. “You know, I was really interested in that story you told earlier. I’ve never heard anything like it, which is kind of rare for me. Just where did you hear it, anyway? I could barely find anything in the library.”

“You really liked it? Oh, thank you, Twilight,” Fluttershy said, beaming. “But, um, I guess you could say I read about it in a book? I mean, kinda… I have it in my room.”

If only she had bothered to ask first, she could have saved herself hours. Still, research for the sake of research was never truly wasted. “That’s perfect! Can I borrow it?”

Fluttershy stopped in place, causing Twilight to turn back to her. “Um… I’m sorry Twilight, but no.”

Flinching from Twilight’s hurt expression she quickly added, “I mean, you need to get some sleep, Twilight. It’s much too late. I’ll lend it to you in the morning.”

Twilight chuckled, shaking her head. “I guess you’re right, but I’ll hold you to that. On another note, which room is Princess Celestia staying in, anyway? It’s a shame she missed dinner; there’s a lot I want to discuss with her.”

“Oh, it’s—” Fluttershy paused, holding a hoof up and straining her ears. After a few moments, Twilight could make out a muffled shouting.

Curious, Twilight followed the noise, ascending the stairs and moving past the ever looming portrait of Golden Wish. The shouting grew louder, and she could make out the angry voices of Applejack and Rarity, though she couldn’t quite catch what they were saying.

“Oh my…” Fluttershy mumbled, her face growing downcast.

They were fighting. Was it her fault? Had telling Applejack to be honest been the wrong thing to do? Should she do something? Stop them? For all the lessons on friendship she had learned, this situation didn’t appear to have an easy answer.

“Twilight…” Fluttershy said, pained empathy clear on her face. “What do we do?”

“I think…” Whether Applejack’s worries were groundless or based in truth, Twilight had really hoped that the pair would’ve been able to come to an understanding. But love was a different beast than friendship altogether. “I think we should let them work this out on their own. I don’t think barging in there would help either of them right now. We just have to be ready to offer our support when they need it later, okay?”

Fluttershy swallowed and wiped a tear from her eye, but nodded in agreement.

The two of them continued down the hall to their rooms, muffled shouting still echoing down the hall after them.

Author's Note:

Thanks to Kalan, Sereg, and JefferyCvt for editing!

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