• Published 9th Jul 2015
  • 1,487 Views, 104 Comments

Their Variables - Meta Four

A collection of short one-shots about alternate universes and "What if?" scenarios.

  • ...

The Cutie Relapse

Five years later ...

Starlight Glimmer smiled as she gazed over Manehattan, stretched out beneath her. As the sun set, the lights of the skyscrapers twinkled like stars—which was just as well, because the storm clouds above obscured all sight of the real stars. It was of no matter. After all, a storm was much better ambience for the great work Starlight had to do.

Starlight reared back and let loose with a “Mwahahahahahaha!” A proper sinister laugh was good for the soul, even when nopony else was around to hear it. But tonight, somepony else was around. The lightning that punctuated Starlight’s laughter revealed another silhouette on the roof behind Starlight.

“Well, well, well,” Starlight said, picking up her staff. “I was wondering when you’d arrive.”

“I came as quickly as I could.” The other pony stepped forward. “I hope I didn’t keep you waiting too long.”

“You’re assuming that the entire world revolves around you. How typical.” Starlight turned and pointed her staff at the machine on her right—a dizzying construction of cogs, pistons, glass chambers, brass tubes, and enough gemstones to make Rarity jealous. “For the record, dearest teacher, I was merely waiting for my newest creation to finish powering up.”

“Of course. How silly of me.” Twilight Sparkle took a few more steps forward, stopping about ten feet away from Starlight and her machine. She was tall enough to tower over Starlight—her alicorn growth spurt hit, hard, two years ago—but Starlight gave no sign of being intimidated.

“So what brings you here? Come to tell your faithful student how much of a disappointment she is?”

“Of course not!” Twilight’s impassive façade broke. “You’ve made mistakes, but so has everypony else. That doesn’t take away from the progress you’ve made, or all the good you’ve done. I’m proud of you, Starlight Glimmer, and don’t you ever forget that.”

Starlight sneered. “Spare me your pity. You want to talk about the good I’ve done? Well, tonight I will do something even greater yet! There is a cancer at the heart of ponykind, and I’m about to slice it out! Tonight, in this city ... and soon enough in all of Equestria! Hahahaha!”

Twilight sat down. “You’re off your meds, aren’t you?”

Starlight started, then glared daggers at Twilight. “What? That has absolutely nothing to do with what I’m attempting! But for the record, yes! Yes, I threw that so-called medicine away! It was holding me back, making me—”

“Like everypony else?”

“Shut up, shut up, shut up!” Starlight waved her staff menacingly in Twilight’s direction. “You don’t understand me! You never understood me! You—”

“That’s a very nice staff you have there.” Twilight smiled. “Where did you get it?”

Starlight was so taken aback by the abrupt change, she was smiling in response before she realized what had happened. “Whaaaa, oh, this old thing? It’s the stave of Thessalonicus the Elder. I picked it because I liked its colors.”

The staff was a thick metal rod, tapering slightly at one end, with arcane runes carved into its entire length. At the wider end, a large ruby was mounted.

“You didn’t answer my question,” Twilight said. “Where did you get it? And for that matter, when?”

“Oh, that’s simple! I ...” Starlight held up the staff and looked at it—really looked at it for the first time. Quietly, she said, “I don’t remember.”

Her eyes widening, she dropped the staff and spun to face her machine. “When did I build that thing?” She rushed to the edge of the roof and peered down. “How the hay did I get up here?

Starlight froze in place, hyperventilating, until she felt the purple alicorn wing stretch across her back. Twilight pulled her into a hug, and Starlight simply rested her head against her teacher’s neck. “I’m having another episode, aren’t I?” she asked softly.

“It’s okay,” Twilight said. “I’m here, and we can work this out together. That’s all that matters.”

Starlight closed her eyes and nodded.

“Tell you what?” Twilight continued. “Why don’t we go back to my house and have some tea? I’ve got that green tea you like so much.”

“That ... that sounds really good.”

Author's Note:

this is what the refrance