• Published 1st Nov 2014
  • 20,636 Views, 1,634 Comments

A New Sun Rises - CommissarAJ



Sunset Shimmer has never needed anyone or anything - she had her magic, she had her ambition, and she had intellect. Others just stood in her way or held her down. So what do you do when your plans for world domination fall through?

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Act VI-VIII

As anxious as I was for a certain after school meeting at Sugar Cube Corner, there were other matters that still needed tending to. While I didn’t feel nearly as bad as I had the night before, I wasn’t back to my cheerful self: the matter of Lightning Dust still hung over my head like a bad hangover. At some point, I was going to have to explain to my friends that Lightning and I were no longer on speaking terms. How Rainbow Dash would react to that news worried me the most: she had finally found somebody to share her football fetish with and I may have just burned it all to the ground.

I prayed that Lightning Dust wouldn’t be so vindictive as to take out her frustrations with me on Dash, but I couldn’t rule it out. She was angry, and part of me wouldn’t blame her for wanting to break all ties with anything related to me. Sadly, there was nothing I could do about it except come clean about what happened, and hope that Rainbow Dash would do what was best for her.

As much as I would’ve liked to fix things with Lightning Dust as well, that was impossible until my erstwhile friend realized why what she had done was so wrong.

So deep in thought was I, that it wasn’t until I heard a familiar voice calling out my name that I remembered that I was standing outside the front statue at Canterlot High. I glanced over in the direction and waved when I saw Pinkie Pie approaching, accompanied by Twilight Sparkle—the Princess, that is.

At first, I was surprised to see the other Twilight still on this side of the mirror, but in retrospect it just made more sense. However late her date went, it would’ve been easier to just crash at a friend’s place in this world than make the portal jump back to Equestria, especially since we spent so much on her outfit and wouldn’t want it accidentally destroyed by a magic portal.

“Morning you two,” I greeted. “So how’d the rest of your date go?”

“Oh! It went… well,” Twilight answered, obviously caught a bit off-guard by the abruptness of my questioning. Judging by the faint red blush now gracing her cheeks, things went a bit better than just ‘good’. “You kinda disappeared all of a sudden from the restaurant, though; did something happen?”

“I’ll explain when the others get here,” I answered, adhering to my renewed vow of honesty with my friends. Since classes were set to begin soon, it wouldn’t be a long wait. “Let’s not worry about me, though, let’s hear more about the date. You gotta share the details, Twi.”

“Only when everyone else is here,” Twilight insisted with a nervous laugh. She probably wanted the same thing I wanted: to minimize the amount of time spent explaining potentially embarrassing details.

“Trust me, I’ve been trying to get the juicy details from her all morning,” Pinkie Pie added. “This girl is as tight-lipped as they come. She could even resist the ultra-powerful ‘Pinkie pleading eyes’.” She promptly demonstrated this by going full-on doe-eye on our friend, complete with quivering lips and a pitiful, puppy-like whimper.

It was a gaze that could shatter even the most granite-like of hearts; a look that bore straight into my heart of hearts, unleashing a torrent of guilt and regret that almost made me want to drop to my knees and confess my sins right then and there. It was only through sheer force of will, and averting my gaze, that I was able to resist. No doubt, Twilight felt similar as she, too, looked away.

“Pinkie, stop that!” she said in a playful squeal. “I promised you I’d tell you everything once everyone was here, and I meant it!”

And in an instant, Pinkie’s expression snapped back to her usual look of unbridled cheerfulness, with a perky response of, “Okie dokie loki!”

Luckily for all of us, we didn’t have to wait very long for the other girls to show up. “What’s this about ‘once everyone was here’?” Rainbow Dash called out as she, Applejack, Rarity, and Fluttershy all arrived.

“Looks like you’re up, Princess,” I announced before giving my friend a playful nudge with my elbow. Even though I had my own things to announce, letting Twilight go first gave me at least a few more minutes to brace myself. Besides, may as well let the good news start the day.

“Yes, you simply must tell us how the date went,” Rarity said. She was, unsurprisingly, the most eager to hear all the details, if the way she was bouncing on the spot was any indication of her enthusiasm. I was fairly anxious to hear more as well, but I did a better job of hiding it.

“It was great, or at least, I think it was. I know I don’t exactly have any frame of reference by which to judge the evening, but I had a fun night,” a nervous Twilight said, much to everyone’s elation. Seeing everyone’s excitement seemed to ease her embarrassment. “Dinner was fantastic even though I didn’t know what half the things on the menu were, and I might have panicked a little bit when he asked questions that I wasn’t sure how to answer without going into too much detail about Equestria, but…” She paused for a moment and looked to me, smiling warmly as she placed a hand upon my shoulder. “You were right when you told me to stop worrying about every little detail and to just be myself. I was so scared of making the tiniest mistake that I paralyzing myself. Thank you so much for being there for me.”

There was a collective ‘aww’ from the other girls as Twilight conveyed her gratitude by throwing her arms around me. Now it was my turn to feel embarrassed, because everything that I had told her were the lessons that I had obviously failed to learn myself, which was only going to result in my confessions making me look all the more hypocritical, or at the very least, foolish.

“And what about after dinner? What happened next?” Rarity asked, hungry for every little detail. No sooner did Twilight let go of me did our eager friend saddle up alongside her, hooking arms to ensure no escape until she was satisfied.

“He took me out to see a movie,” Twilight began, blushing again. “During dinner I mentioned that I had never seen any movies here, so he was really excited to take me to my first one.”

This piqued Rarity’s interest even further, though at this point every detail was just another step on Mount Elated. “Ooo! What kind of movie? Was it a romance?”

“Bleh, chick flicks,” Dash voiced her disgust. “I bet he took her to a horror movie. Nothing works better for a date than horror!”

“You have a weird definition of date,” Applejack interjected with a roll of her eyes.

“Nonsense! All you gotta do is wait for the scary part,” Dash explained as she slid up alongside Fluttershy. “And then when your date gets frightened—BOOM!” She then slung her arm around her friend’s shoulders and pulled the timid girl in close, who let out a startled squeak. “You swoop in for the brownie points!”

“Oh, I’d rather just go to a nice family movie, like the kind with the singing animals,” Fluttershy remarked, sounding wary of even the thought of being within a hundred miles of a horror film.

“I’m not sure what kind of movie it was trying to be,” Twilight admitted with a shrug of her shoulders. “It was about this boy who goes to a school to learn magic. I mean, I can relate to the topic, but they got their fundamentals of magic all wrong. Not to mention, some of the incantations they used just seemed like complete fiction.”

“Well, maybe you can write the studios an angry letter and explain what they did wrong,” I joked. We all shared in a quick laugh, which helped to settle my growing sense of dread that the conclusion to her story would soon be at its end and it’d be my turn.

“So what happened after the movie?” Rarity continued with her inquisition. “Did Flash walk you home?”

“He took me to the park first, actually,” Twilight answered. She smiled and blushed again, though I couldn’t help but notice it was less so of the embarrassed variety. “We just walked through the park for a little while; he even took me up some hills so we could look at the stars.”

As the other girls cooed and awed at the details, I couldn’t help but feel relieved that her night went as smoothly as I had hoped. “Wow, Flash really pulled all the stops for you. I’m surprised he didn’t have a string quartet waiting for you.”

“Wouldn’t that be a little strange though?” Applejack remarked, scratching her head. “I mean, once they’re done playing, all you’ve got are a bunch of strangers standing nearby while you’re trying to have a romantic evening.”

“Don’t listen to her,” Rarity scoffed. She tugged on Twilight’s arm, pulling her away from the offending country girl as if a few extra inches of distance would make the criticisms irrelevant. “I’m sure her definition of a romantic evening would involve a rodeo and a line dance.”

“Ain’t nothing wrong with those!”

Before Rarity and Applejack could start bickering like an old married couple, I ushered Twilight along on the original topic. “So Twi, did the two of you ever wind up… y’know.” I smirked knowingly and nudged my friend, followed by a quick wink.

“O-oh, that? W-well, you see, the thing is—I, I mean that is to say, we—” Twilight stammered and fumbled with her words while a free hand began fidgeting with a few loose strands of hair. The way she danced around the question was far too amusing for me to interrupt, so I just let her continue at her own pace. “Technically not so much a ‘we’ in the strictest sense, though not that he didn’t—er, what’s more accurate to say—”

Sadly, while I enjoyed watching my friend wrestle with her words like a kitten entangled in a ball of yarn, Rainbow Dash lacked the same patience. “Come on, Twilight! Out with it!”

Recoiling back, our tongue-tied friend finally just blurted out, “I kissed Flash!”

There was a round excited gasps, save for myself since I suspected this was the answer she had been stumbling towards.

“Aww, how romantic,” Rarity cooed.

“Ha! I knew you had in you,” Applejack congratulated.

Dash relayed her sentiments with a loud, hearty slap on the back as she said, “Way to go, Princess!”

“This is so exciting!” Pinkie squealed in delight. “I knew it was a good idea to bake these in advance!” She then reached into her backpack and pulled out a container, which housed a series of cupcakes with icing that, together, spelled out ‘congrats on 1st date.’ Everyone promptly helped themselves to one because who wouldn’t want a cupcake first thing in the morning?

“So how did it happen?” Fluttershy asked, giving voice to the curiosity that everyone now felt, myself included.

“W-well, it was nothing special,” the modest princess answered. A faint hint of pride could still be heard in her voice, despite her attempts to remain otherwise. “We were walking through the park, ready to call it a night, and it started to get a bit cold so he let me borrow his coat.” She began to smile as her eyes drifted upwards while she reminisced. “He was holding my hand as we strolled through the park, looking up to the stars, and I just thought to myself ‘this really is the best night ever.’”

A quick glance over to Rarity saw her already tearing up in joy, as if fulfilling her romanticisms by proxy. I was just relieved that their date went off without any further complications, because the last thing my conscience needed was ruining yet another relationship for Flash.

“The next thing I know, I’m grabbing Flash by the collar and kissing him,” Twilight said with a sudden burst of excitement. It wasn’t too unlike the schoolgirl giddiness I saw back in the restaurant, complete with a bounce and rhythm to her words. “It was just like Rarity said: I just had to go for it! I haven’t felt that kind of rush since I opened up my first Encyclopedia Britannimare! I’m still getting goosebumps just thinking about it.”

“I guess this means there’ll be a second date, huh?” I remarked.

“I hope so,” Twilight nodded eagerly. “I’ll still need to figure out when I can take time away from Equestria again, not to mention it would be more expedient to devise a way for Flash and I to directly communicate so we don’t have to relay everything through you.”

“You could always get him a journal like the ones you and I share,” I suggested. “Just ask Princess Celestia: she knows how to make more of them.”

“Of course, that’s perfect!” Twilight exclaimed. She once again showed her appreciation by giving me a hug, except that in her haste she forgot she was still holding a half-eaten cupcake, which was promptly smeared across the back of my coat. “Uh, whoopsies. Sorry about that.”

“Don’t worry about, it’s just a little bit of cake and frosting.”

“By the way, Sunset, you said you were going to explain what happened to you last night once everyone was here,” Twilight reminded me, regarding me with a curious gaze and an innocent smile. If only she knew the kind of anxiety she just renewed in me just by reminding of that.

“Oh, right! That thing. The thing I said I would totally talk about,” I answered back. My words were followed by a bout of the most forced laughter I’d ever mustered as I tried to cover up my nervousness. It was like trying to stretch my underwear over the hood of a Buick.

“What’s she talking about?” a confused Applejack inquired.

I was still pretending to be finding the whole situation hilarious, so Twilight wound up bringing the others up to date. “Sunset was at the same restaurant as me and Flash last night after Rarity told her.”

“I never told Sunset that,” Rarity spoke up. “Did you tell her, Pinkie?”

“Wasn’t me.”

Well, I was never expecting that lie to hold up to much scrutiny anyways, but at least it lasted long enough to suit my needs. What was a little bit more rope for the noose anyways? As all their suspicious glares turned to me, I could feel their judgement bearing down upon me, and what little façade of calmness I could muster began to crack under the weight of it all.

“Ah heh heh, s-so funny story about that…”

********************

Sugar Cube Corner usually brought about a sense of serenity and peace with its inviting atmosphere and friendly company and fragrant treats. Just the scent of their cinnamon rolls alone was enough to make even the most stressful of days melt away like the warm icing atop their golden, spiced curves.

By the gilded throne of Canterlot, was I hungry, but I promised myself I wouldn’t indulge on the cafe’s sweet treats until I made things right with Twilight. If nothing else, the thought of a hot strudel with its flakey, golden-brown pastry was enough to compel me to see this through. I used to think that this place was nothing more than a childish diversion from greater ambitions, but perhaps even my old, evil self knew that one bite was enough to make me forsake all other goals.

“I wonder if I could get a job here,” I thought to myself, then realized that any sort of employee discount would be more devastating to my thighs than the One Hundred Pastry War.

I stewed in silence, alternating between fidgeting with my phone, my bookbag, my empty mug, and seeing how many seconds I’d killed since the last time I checked.

Twenty-eight…

I knew waiting at Sugar Cube would be horrid for my blood pressure, but I just had to keep reminding myself that Twilight would be arriving soon. She had to. I had put all my chips into this one play, and if I wound up getting stood up, I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to look myself in the mirror tomorrow. The old me would’ve used an opportunity like this to grind an opponent into dust and ensure they never dared to lift a finger against me again, and I could only pray that what I did hadn’t turned Twilight into a tenth of how cynical and heartless I had once been.

I couldn’t let her become like me.

Lucky for me and the protesting wails coming from within me, I heard a tap from the nearby window. It was Twilight, standing out on the sidewalk; she smiled and waved to me. Actually, it was less of a wave and more like a wiggling of her fingers in my general direction, as if too much movement might scare me away. She looked tense—nervous even. Was she scared?

Whether I was ready for it or not, I’d have the answers soon as Twilight entered the cafe to the chiming of an overhanging door bell.

“H-hey Twilight,” I greeted, trying desperately to keep my own anxiety from seeping into my voice. “I’m… uh, I’m glad you came.”

“And I’m glad you asked me to,” my friend replied. She sat down in the seat across from me, keeping her bookbag in her lap and hugging it close. “There’s a lot I want… no, I need to get off my chest.”

“Twilight, there’s something I need to say first—”

“Please, this is important. I need to say this before we go any further,” she cut me off.

“So is what I have to say.” Whatever she wanted to tell me, I had to get my apology in first; she needed to know how I really felt. “It’s too important to wait; you have to hear me out.”

“No, please, let me go first.”

“I need to tell you the truth.”

Eventually, we both got too desperate to wait for an opening and just blurted out in unison, “Sunset (Twilight), I’m sorry I hurt you!”

Recoiling back in shock, we just stared at one another as if we had just woken up in an alternate dimension where everything was opposite. The confusion on her face no doubt mirrored my own as our brains struggled to restart after such an abrupt stall.

“I don’t understand,” I finally muttered. “What do you have to be sorry for?”

There came a heavy sigh from my friend as her shoulders slumped forward and eyes fell to the tabletop. “Because I haven’t been a very good friend to you,” she explained in a soft, mournful tone. “You’re the first real friend that I’ve had, but I’m still new to friendship. There’s still a lot I need to learn about it. I know I can be a bit boring… and weird… and awkward… and I ramble about things that most people don’t care about.”

It was tempting to interrupt her right there and insist that she had been nothing but a wonderful friend, but my curiosity compelled me to silence. If I wanted to fix this mess, I needed more than empty platitudes: I had to understand her.

“And then I look at you: you’re always so confident, and sure of yourself. You’re cool, you dress amazingly, you’re always so compassionate and thoughtful, and your hair is like… I swear you use some dark magic to make it look that incredible every day,” Twilight continued. Anybody else rambling like that I might’ve mistaken for jealousy, but from her I could sense remorse and sadness. “I would always think to myself, ‘why would somebody so incredible keep wanting to spend their time with someone as plain as me?’ It’s… it’s stupid, I know, but that thought was always there. At the restaurant, when I got those messages from Lightning Dust… and the picture…”

“It confirmed everything you were afraid of,” I said with a sigh, mostly to myself.

Twilight nodded in silence before taking her glasses off so she could wipe a loose tear from her eyes. “I’m so sorry, Sunset… I shouldn’t have believed her. A real friend would’ve trusted you, or at least talked to you, but I just ran out on you. You’ve done so much for me, and I let you down at the first sign of trouble.”

I couldn’t help but be reminded of myself after the Fall Formal; I had lost so much confidence in myself that I was always half-convinced that my friends were prepared to drop me like a bad date the moment things got difficult. Doubt had a way of worming its way into every thought, making even the most routine things painful to endure. There were so many times I just wanted to give up just so that I didn’t have to listen to the voices in my head telling me how I would just fail again. If only we both knew how well we understood each other’s pain.

“Twilight,” I began, reaching across the table to take her hand, “if you feel like you’ve failed me as a friend, it’s only because I’ve failed you as one first. I kept you at arm’s length and patted myself on the back for being such a ‘good friend’ when the truth was, I was protecting myself because I was… scared.”

“Scared? Of what?” The misery that I had seen in her face began to disappear, replaced with the same sort of confusion I was feeling a few moments ago.

“Losing you,” I answered truthfully. “I’m not exactly an expert on friendship either, and I’ve mostly been coasting along on the fact that you don’t know enough either to realize how bad I really am. I should’ve invited you to my birthday party and I shouldn’t have lied to you, but I was scared of what might happen if I did. I’m sorry, Twilight, I should’ve put more trust in you, and in us.”

Had she been angry with me after what I had just said, I wouldn’t have blamed her for it. I squeezed her, and she smiled back to me, and my world just brightened up. She reached over and placed her other hand overtop of mine, at which point I almost wanted to just start crying.

“Sunset, I know you have trust issues,” she reassured me, “and I know that it’ll take time for you to open yourself up to me, if you ever feel I’m deserving of it. You don’t have to lie to me: I’ll understand if you’re not ready to discuss certain things with me. I’ll be here as long as you’ll have me, and I’ll be ready to listen when the time comes.”

Thankfully, I still had a free hand because it was getting very hard not to get teary-eyed. “You’re too good to me,” I replied while choking back a few tears. “I don’t know how you put up with a crazy girl like me.”

“I think we’re both a little crazy, in our own ways,” Twilight said with a chuckle. “The important part is we’re there for each other. Maybe we’re both not good at friendship, but we can learn how to be better at it together.”

“I’d like that.”

As I assumed Twilight probably felt about as emotionally spent as I did, we both just leaned back in our seats and took a moment to collect ourselves. It was weird how I went into the cafe thinking I knew exactly what the problem was, only to be thrown another curveball. Friendship sure could be a wild ride, and today just reaffirmed how much of a novice I still was. At least I had hope, however; hope that with enough time and patience, that little voice of doubt in my head would finally be silenced.

“By the way, Twilight, what was the thing you wanted to talk to me about last night?” Given that we had aired most of our souls by this point, I saw no harm, and importantly no fear, in asking. Or so I had thought, because Twilight started to blush again at the mentioning of it.

“O-oh, that? G-guess I completely forgot about that, huh?” she nervously replied. Her hands withdrew back to her backpack and she grasped and fidgeted with the straps, her eyes darting around the cafe as if assessing its security. “I-I suppose it’s as good a time and place as any. Oh, this feels weird, though; I thought I’d be better prepared.”

Fearing something incredibly awkward, I tried to backpedal. “We can talk about it later, if it’s too much for right now.”

“N-no!” Twilight insisted with a surprising second-wind. “We’re friends, and I can’t expect you to be open with me if I don’t do the same.” She paused and took a few calming breaths, which at least gave me time to brace myself as well. “O-okay, this is… um, a little embarrassing for me to talk about. It’s not exactly something I’ve shared with many people—”

“Seriously, this can wait if you want someplace more private.” Though I knew I was probably over thinking things, my heart nonetheless decided to start racing on its own.

“I’m fine, really. I want to say this; I have to… because I don’t want to live with the regret of wondering ‘what if’,” Twilight continued on. The glow in her cheeks grew more intense as she bashfully struggled to keep eye contact with me. “I-it’s something that I’ve been thinking a lot about these past couple of days, and I wasn’t sure how to ask you. Honestly, I’m still a bit nervous, but this is important to me and I trust you. Sunset, I want to ask you…”

“L-listen, Twilight, we don’t—”

“Could you ask A.K. Yearling to autograph my Daring Do book?”

“Wait, what?”

If Twilight noticed my stunned look of bewilderment, she didn’t pay it much heed as she explained herself.

“I read the article you wrote for your school paper,” she said before clasping her hands together. “Please, oh please, I’m, like, A.K. Yearling’s biggest fan. I have all of her books in first edition hard cover, and the anthologies, and the limited edition reprints, and even the erroneous print of Sapphire Stone that had Daring Do spelt with two ‘o’s on the cover.”

Despite her explanation, I was still sitting there looking as dumbfounded as before. For some reason, I had somehow gotten myself worked up thinking she was going to ask me about something completely different. Once I had managed to restart my stalled brain, I flashed a sheepish grin back to her.

“I’ll try asking her the next time I see her. I… uh, wasn’t aware that my article had attracted readers outside of my school.”

“Are you kidding? It’s making rounds across almost every Daring Do forum on the internet,” Twilight explained, looking surprised by my humility. “There’s been huge debates over its validity, and normally I’d be skeptical of someone claiming to personally know the author of Daring Do, but when I saw that you wrote the articles, I knew it had to be true. It’s surprising, too, because usually the things that ‘AwesomeDash99’ posts about are pretty unsubstantiated.”

“AwesomeDash99?” I repeated. Suddenly my article’s sudden fame made a bit more sense. “Um, did you like the article?”

“I loved it!” Twilight exclaimed with a burst of excitement that surprised even me. “I mean, I was a little disappointed to read that the Blondie-Daring ship never re-materialized, but at the same time, Daring Do is just an amalgamation of the two sisters, so technically it’s not entirely untrue.”

I recalled hearing something similar from Rainbow Dash in the days after the whole ordeal with Yearling and her sister. While I would’ve loved to have listened to my friend gush about my work, there was one other thing that I had intended to do since I had Twilight’s attention. I took one last deep breath to calm my nerves.

“By the way, Twilight, there’s another reason why I asked you here,” I began.

“Is it to introduce me to your other friends from school?”

“I want to introduce you to—” I said followed by an abrupt pause. “W-wait, how did you—”

“Those girls over there have been watching us this entire time,” Twilight explained. She pointed to a table on the side of the cafe where Pinkie Pie and all of my other friends had been sitting and waiting. They weren’t doing a good job of hiding their interest as most of them had ear-to-ear grins from having watched me mend my friendship. “So either those are your friends, or you’ve got a very enthusiastic fan club.”

“I asked you girls to be discrete!” I shouted over to them.

“We are,” Pinkie insisted. “I put away the balloons and confetti!”

I raised a skeptical eyebrow, followed by a clenched fist that I then slammed upon the tabletop. A loud and festive ‘pop’ rang out in the cafe as bursts of confetti flew out in all directions from the table’s underside, all of which almost made Twilight jump out of her seat.

“Okay, so maybe I missed one,” my confetti-obsessed friend said while offering an apologetic grin.

Laughing it off, I turned back to Twilight, who was still re-adjusting her glasses after the jump scare. “Want to go over and say hi?” I offered. “I think you’d really like them.”

I watched in silent hope as Twilight’s eyes panned over to my friends. I could see the brief flickers of doubt and confusion, like a child standing outside the doors on her first day of school. But as her gaze settled back on me, those fears seemed to melt away, and she smiled to me with a reassuring confidence.

“I’d love to.”

I walked her over to the rest of my friends, whom thankfully managed to restrain themselves enough to not crash-tackle her at the first opportunity. Even Pinkie was keeping herself contained, albeit she was bouncing on her seat like a hyperactive child with an overloaded bladder.

“Girls, I’d like you to meet my friend, Twilight Sparkle,” I began. “And Twilight, these are my friends: Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity.”

“Hi,” Twilight greeted with a cautious wave. “It’s… um, nice to meet all of you.”

“And I think I speak for everyone when I say it’s a pleasure to finally meet you,” Rarity replied, putting her best foot forward with a heart-warming smile and a flutter of her eyelashes. “We’ve all been looking forward to this.”

“Oh? Has she told you a lot about me?” the always-curious Twilight asked.

“On the contrary, she’s actually been very tight-lipped on the subject, but we could tell there was something special going on—she’s had this… air of jubilation about her.”

“We were beginning to think she was just going to hog you all to herself,” Rainbow Dash joked. She grinned and winked to me, letting me know that there were no hard feelings about it. “But we knew she’d come around eventually, and that the wait would be totally worth it.”

When I brought Twilight over, I had worried about her getting a little embarrassed, but instead I was the one tugging at my collar and flustering around the cheeks. Before I could become any more self-conscious, we took a seat and Twilight began to get better acquainted with my friends. In retrospect, my fears were grossly overblown. I was so terrified that sharing Twilight with the others might diminish or deprive me of what we had, but friendship wasn’t like a bowl of candy—you didn’t lose it just by spreading it around. The best thing you could do with a friendship was share it with others.

As they began to share in stories and laughter, I leaned back in my seat and just watched as my friend spread her wings. The others really did love having her around, even if she hadn’t looked exactly like a certain pony princess.

And, of course, it didn’t take long before she got into a verbal showdown with Rainbow Dash over who was really the biggest Daring Do fan at the table.