• Published 22nd Jul 2015
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The Diamond in the Stars - Distaff Pope



After a devastating year, Rarity decides to get away from it all and spend some time with her friend Twilight. As their friendship deepens, the two turn to rely on each other with problems both internal and external.

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4. Anger Management

I smiled, relishing the feeling of my feather bed. Since when did I have a feather bed? I yawned and nestled deeper into the crook between the feather bed and my warm furry pillow. And pillows aren’t warm and furry. My eyes fluttered open to see a familiar shade of lavender. “Twilight?”

“Hey, you’re up,” Twilight said. I lifted my head up from the crook it had been resting on, to see Twilight lying on her back with a report and a romance novel floating above her. “I was wondering when that would happen. My wing went numb a couple of hours ago.”

“You could have woken me up,” I said, getting to my hooves and remembering my last minutes of wakefulness last night. “Or teleported me to my bed.”

“True,” she said, bringing her wings tight against her sides and rolling to the side. “But you looked so comfortable, I didn’t want to wake you up. Besides, it’s not like it’s the first time we shared a bed.” True, there were sleepovers where we’d had to double up – but we weren’t on top of each other then.

I stretched again and felt a crack in my back. “I don’t think I was that comfortable,” I said. “But thank you for letting me sleep. I’m sorry if that impacted your work.”

“Not really,” she said, moving to my chaise as Opal moved to rub herself against my legs. Yes, the poor dear was probably hungry. Had I remembered to feed her last night? I don’t think so. “I’m pretty used to reading by hornlight, so I just floated the books I had to read over to me and went to work. It was only slightly less efficient than usual.”

“Well, I’m glad to hear that,” I said, trotting over to the small bag of cat food Twilight had brought over from my house and floating Opal’s food bowl over with me. “So, what’s on the agenda today?”

“Nothing much. I’m almost done with work for the day; after that, I guess I’ll read a few romance novels and try to apply information gathered last night to them. Thanks again for being so helpful,” she said, trotting over to her desk.

“It’s utterly fine, dear, I’m the one who should be thanking you for treating me to such a wonderful dinner. Honestly, if answering a few unpleasant questions is what it takes to dine at Gustaf’s, it’s a price I’ll happily pay,” I said, pouring Opal’s less-than-exceptional food into her bowl.

“You know, we can go there again, but this time without the questions. Having you around gives me as good an excuse as any to dine out, and the food is really good,” Twilight said, making a few notes to her report. “Besides, it’s fun eating out with you. It’s fun eating out with the other girls too, but… Ooh, I hate saying I like spending time with one friend more than the others, but it’s nice having someone whose eyes don’t glaze over when I talk about magic or third-century unicorn history.”

“Well, I had to read some unicorn history just to talk with the nobles, so learning more about that is always a delight. As for the magic, I suppose I do have a bit more knowledge about spellcasting than the rest of the girls, yes,” I laughed. “Probably not much more, though, especially compared to you.”

“It’s alright,” Twilight said, her ears flattening against her head. “Thank you for listening to me ramble about stuff. I know it’s probably not that interesting to you, but it means a lot to me.”

“You’re making too big a deal about it, dear,” I said, putting Opal’s bowl down next to her water bowl. “Even if I had no interest in the subject matter, I could probably listen to you lecture about anything. Something about your delivery puts me into that same lovely, half-awake, yet focused state I get into when I’m making a dress.”

Twilight shook her head and frowned. “I’m sorry, but how can you be half awake and focused at the same time? When I’m focused on something, my head feels like it’s a firestorm of activity connecting everything to everything else.”

“And that’s how I feel when a bolt of inspiration hits, when an idea arrives with such creative force that I have no choice but to listen and act upon it – but those bolts are few and fleeting. When I’m actually designing the dress, I find my best work arises when I’m so focused on the task that my mind’s almost shut down.” I frowned, trying to think of a better way to describe the feeling. “No, that’s not quite right. It’s not that my mind has shut down, exactly; it’s just that the work has become so important and all-consuming that there’s no room for thought or critique. It’s a marvelous feeling, taking something that exists only in my mind and bringing it into existence, and I honestly don’t feel like I’m designing so much as I’m revealing. The dress was always there in the ether, I’m just translating it into reality... That sounds completely crazy, doesn’t it?”

“A little,” Twilight said, nodding her head as I trotted over to my latest dress-in-progress. “But I kind of see what you mean. Sometimes, when I watch you work, it’s like you’re not really there. You’re so focused on your work that you seem like you’re just a part of the dress.” She watched me work? Surely, stitching wasn’t that fascinating… to the outside observer, at least.

“Good, so I’m not completely crazy,” I said, putting my glasses on. “Anyway, when I listen to your lecture, it’s the inverse of that feeling. Like I’m just translating your words into my mind.”

“Ha, yeah…” Twilight said. “It’s nice not having my lectures described as tedious for once.”

I smiled at her as I grabbed cloth and scissors with my magic. “Well, perhaps we just have a higher tolerance for tedium than the rest of the girls, then. I suppose it’s a natural result from having jobs that require us to focus on one thing for hours or a time. Or, perhaps because we have a higher tolerance for tedium, we chose jobs that require us to focus on one thing for hours at a time.”

“Yeah, the chicken or the egg,” Twilight said, returning my smile before going back to her books. “Also, I just wanted to thank you for spending these last few days with me. It’s nice having somepony to talk with now that Spike’s coming into his own and spending more and more time outside the castle. I never knew how much I appreciated having somepony around, until I didn’t.”

“Happy to fill a need, I suppose,” I said. “Although, really, I should be the one thanking you for so generously sharing your castle with me.” There was plenty of castle to share, of course, but she was still giving me a place to stay for as long as I wanted with no strings attached. “Anyways, what do you want to do tonight?”

Twilight frowned in thought for a few seconds. “I really want to see the rest of the girls, but Applejack and Rainbow Dash won’t be getting back for a few more days. I guess we could just have dinner with Pinkie and Fluttershy, since she’s getting back today, and then when Applejack and Rainbow Dash get back, we can have our big dinner. If that’s okay with you, of course.”

“It’s completely fine. I’m a big mare, I can handle seeing an ex in a loving relationship without being consumed by jealousy,” I said, cutting the outline of my dress.

“Really?” Twilight asked. “Because the last time you saw them together, you spent the night wandering through town in the middle of a thunderstorm. That actually sounds worse than being consumed by jealousy.”

“I admit, I handled it poorly, but… you have to understand, one of the main reasons I broke up with Applejack, besides how terribly unhealthy the relationship was, was to set a good example for Sweetie. Of course, we had the intervention a few weeks later, and I wound up losing both of them. If I had just waited until after the intervention to break up with Applejack...” I trailed off, feeling sharp wet stings building behind my eyes. It wasn’t that I’d lost Applejack, just… remembering that time wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience.

“But you didn’t lose Applejack,” Twilight said, looking up at me. At some point during my speech, I’d stopped working on my dress and let the scissors clatter on to the floor. “She’s still your friend, she’s still in Ponyville, you just stopped being in an extremely unhealthy relationship with her. And Sweetie Belle will probably come back eventually. She’s not gone forever either.” No, just for another one year, two seasons, and fifty-eight days. Over halfway through the waiting. I’d need to write Scootaloo soon and see how she was doing.

“You know, Twilight, the sad thing is that my relationship with Applejack was probably the ‘healthiest’ relationship I’ve had. Yes, half the time, it was a terrible disaster, but the other half of the time it was wonderful. My other relationships might not have been as physically destructive, but they were still a poison to the soul,” I said. “Really, it’s no wonder Sweetie turned out how she did, considering the example I set.”

Twilight trotted over to me and rested a forehoof on my cheek, forcing me to look her in the eyes. “Rarity, you were a great sister to Sweetie. You did the best you could for her, and if there were mistakes made, it wasn’t like you wanted to make them.”

“And that somehow excuses them?” I said, looking down at the floor. “She was still my responsibility. I made mistakes, and they hurt her. If I had just been a better sister, then none of this would’ve happened. Instead, I gave her the rope to hang herself. I should have put a stop to that ‘herd’ of hers the moment it started. I definitely should have forbidden her from seeing Bright Lights sooner. But I allowed it, because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. Who cares about being a hypocrite when you’re right? If I had just taken action sooner, I have to think things would have been better. They couldn’t have been worse.” But then again, apparently Sweetie had also orchestrated her fall for reasons not at all known to me. Did she share my masochistic streak?

“With hindsight, sure, you made mistakes, but you couldn’t have known any of this would happen. You did your best, you didn’t just neglect her,” Twilight said.

“No, that job went to my parents,” I said, the fangs of anger on the back of my neck. “How much damage could have been avoided if they’d just bothered to raise us? Instead, the minute we were old enough to–” I took a breath. “No, I’m not going to get into that again. Ruminating on their failings won’t fix anything. Anyway, thank you for listening to me vent, Twilight.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to talk about it more?” Twilight asked. “I don’t think it’s healthy to sit on all that anger.”

“No, probably not,” I said, turning back to the cloth I’d mould into a dress. “But I’m exceptionally good at it. You learn to find little harmless outlets for it after a while.”

“Like fighting with Applejack?” I winced at Twilight’s words. Very astute today, Twilight.

“Yes, I suppose exactly like that. That’s one of the stranger things I loved about our relationship – it gave me an outlet that could bear the brunt of my frustrations, and then hit back. Oh, Twilight, our fights were marvelous things. Like prizefighters in the ring, working out our frustrations until neither of us could stand up. And then, when we were both completely spent, we’d kiss and make up,” I said, a tiny smile forming on my lips. “Is it wrong that I miss that?”

“I don’t know,” Twilight said. “I can understand missing a coping mechanism, but maybe…” She trailed off. “I have an idea. Come on.”

“Twilight, where are we going?” I asked, following her as she moved out of the study.

“It’s a surprise,” she said before opening the door to Spike’s room. “Spike, we’re going to be out for a few hours. Can you handle things here by yourself for a bit?”

He looked up from his letters. “Yep, just responding to all these ‘royal requests’. You sure you don’t want to endorse those snowblowers?”

“Yes, I’m sure. Why would I endorse a snowblower? I don’t even use snowblowers,” Twilight said, shaking her head. “And that response to the financial plan’s been sent to Appleloosa?”

“Yep,” he said, stamping the letter with Twilight’s royal seal. “And you’d endorse the snowblowers to get a free snowblower.”

“Spike, don’t start milking the princess thing to get as much free stuff as you can. You remember what happened the last time you tried that, right?” Twilight said.

“Yes, I turned into a giant town-destroying dragon. But it’s hard not to be greedy with ponies offering me free stuff all the time. At least, they do when they know I’m your assistant,” Spike said.

Twilight sighed. “No more free stuff, alright? I know it’s not easy, and it stinks that you have to be so disciplined all the time, but that’s how baby dragons grow up to be noble dragons instead of big greedy brutes.”

“I know,” he said, sighing and looking down at the letters that very nearly concealed the comic book he’d been reading. I wonder if Twilight noticed the corner of it sticking out from his pile of papers. “And yeah, I can take care of myself while you and Rarity are out doing whatever. See you for dinner?”

“You bet,” she said, smiling at him. “Whenever you’re done mailing my responses to the mayors of Appleloosa and Dodge Junction, feel free to take the rest of the day off.”

“I’ll get right on it then,” he said, pulling a few letters out of his pile of organized chaos. “Have fun on your day out.”

“Thanks, Spike,” Twilight said, trotting out of his room and over to the stairs. “You ready, Rarity?”

I nodded at her. “I am, although I do wish you’d tell me just what you have in mind. I was planning on getting some work done today.”

“It’ll just be a few hours, I promise,” Twilight said as we headed down the stairs. “Probably not even that much.”

“Very well,” I said as we reached the bottom landing. “I can’t wait to see whatever this surprise of yours is.”

♦♦♦

“Twilight, I feel patently ridiculous,” I said, trying to adjust my foam head-and-horn guards. At least I hadn’t showered yet; otherwise, all my beautification work for the day would’ve been completely wasted. “And what sort of ruffian do you take me for? A lady doesn’t box.”

“So that’s why instead of casting a spell at that manticore, you decided to punch it,” Twilight said from across me in the boxing ring. “And the changelings. And I’m willing to bet you had a plan to hoof-fight the Diamond Dogs if all else failed.”

“Fine,” I said, getting up on my back legs and taking a few tentative swings with my glove-covered forelegs. “I might throw a few punches when things get heated, but that’s hardly the same thing as beating up my best friend.”

“You won’t be beating me up,” she said, using her wings to balance perfectly on her hind legs. Cheater. “You’ll be punching my target mitts. It’s completely different. Once you get used to standing on your back legs, maybe we can start actually boxing. Did you know that beyond promoting general fitness, boxing is supposed to increase balance?”

“I can see why,” I said, falling back on my forehooves. Standing with my forelegs slightly longer than my back legs because of the gloves was… strange, to say the least.

“Okay, think of this like one of your fights with Applejack,” Twilight said. “Just grab on to that anger and don’t stop until it’s all gone.”

“Twilight, I spend a great deal of time not tapping into that anger. I can’t just access it at will,” I said, getting back up on my hind legs and tottering around. “Applejack had to absolutely infuriate me before we really got into it.”

“Fine, what can I say to upset you?” Twilight asked.

“I don’t know, I don’t exactly keep an itemized list of things that will send me into a boiling rage,” I said, struggling to stay upright.

“Hmm, okay, please don’t hate me for anything I’m about to say?” she asked.

I nodded my head.

“What happened to Sweetie was your fault.”

“I already told you I think that’s the case,” I said, moving to lean against the ring’s ropes. “You can’t upset me by using one of the arguments I’ve been using to beat myself up with already.”

“Okay, we’re definitely going to have to talk things out later, but right now… All your dresses are ugly?”

I laughed. “I’m an artist, darling. I’ve heard far worse criticism of my work. I believe one particularly harsh review said I had less talent than a blind quadriplegic.”

“Ugh, you know, I really didn’t think it would be this tough to upset you… Okay, I think I got it.” She narrowed her eyes. “The only good outfits you ever made were the five outfits we had you make for our first gala.” Yes, that would do it. There was being over-critical, and then there was being so cruel as to say those abominations were good. After our first fashion show, I’d had them burned in the backyard to appease whatever demons they’d almost certainly attract.

“Philistine!” I shrieked, throwing myself from the ropes over to Twilight and launching my hoof at her target.

♦♦♦

I panted and stared at the ceiling of the gym, sweat covering every inch of my coat as a throbbing ache radiate from my forehooves. If I could find the energy to move my eyes slightly to the left, I’d see Twilight leaning on her ropes for support.

Whump. Whump.

I could’ve stopped an hour ago. That’s when my body started to burn. I could have, but whenever I thought I’d finally gotten it out of my system, I saw their faces on my targets, and I couldn’t stop. Not as long as I could move.

Whump. Whump.

I let out a laugh. My body burned with energy and rage. My forehooves were starting to ache, but that’s what the gloves were for. I couldn’t stop now. My hooves lashed out again and again, as Twilight was forced up against the ropes. I kept going, blow after blow. If Twilight told me to stop, I would’ve in a heartbeat, but she didn’t. She kept the targets up, so I continued my assault.

Whump. Whump.

I was back on the mat, staring up at the ceiling, listening to the sound of my own heartbeat. My whole body ached and it felt wonderful. I tried to summon up some ghost of my frustration, but there was just a dull exhaustion where it used to be. “Thank you, Twilight,” I said. “This was…” I gulped down air, struggling to sate my burning lungs. “Exactly what I needed.”

“Yeah…” she panted. I could hear her slumping down on the mat. I somehow managed to loll my head over, and there she was, sitting on the ground and leaning against the ropes. “We… You really need to talk all this through with somepony… Maybe not me, but… somepony.”

“Very well,” I said, not even bothering to try and move my leaden limbs. “Not today, though. Today… Can we please go to the spa? I don’t think I’ll ever be able to… get this sweat off me.”

“Sure, Rarity,” Twilight said. “This is… Thanks for the workout. I’ve been meaning to… Go to the gym. Never had the motivation before. First, can we… Can we just sit here a bit?”

“I think… Can you move?” I asked.

“Maybe, but I really don’t want to,” Twilight said, lifting up one forehoof and letting it plop back down. “You?”

“No,” I said, taking another breath. “So… Stay here?”

She panted and sank deeper into the mat. “Yeah, stay here."

♦♦♦

I winced with every step I took. I’d bruised my forehooves more than I thought during my “therapy.” Still, I couldn’t help but smile as I walked into the spa. “Hello, Aloe,” I said, greeting the pink mare behind the counter. “Two deluxe packages, please.”

“Oh, Rarity, are you okay?” she asked, trotting over to me and inspecting my coat. “Pardon my rudeness, but you look a mess. Your mane is all clumped to your head, and you reek of…”

“Yes, I know,” I said as Twilight followed me into the spa. “That’s why we’re here, to clean ourselves up and enjoy a little pampering. I think we should start with the soak, though.”

“Agreed,” Aloe said, looking between the both of us. “Yes, you two must have had quite the day.” She winked. “Please, just take a seat in the bath, and we’ll get you your robes.” As she trotted off, she gave Twilight a small bow.

The two of us trotted through the double door connecting the foyer to the spa proper, and the first thing I saw as I entered was the beautiful bubbling hot tub in the center of the room. I think I might be in love. At the very least, my muscles certainly were. I let out a tiny squeak as I lowered myself deeper into the bubbling water.

“What was that?” Twilight asked, looking down at me.

“Get in the hot tub, and you’ll find out,” I said. How could a tub be so wonderful.

“Fine,” Twilight said, lowering a hoof into the tub. “I really don’t see…” She paused as her eyes rolled up into her head. “Ohhhhhhhhh…. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh…” She lowered herself into the tub as quickly as possible. “We’re going to the spa every time we go to the gym, aren’t we?”

I nodded.

“Yeah,” she said, sinking in so her head was just barely sticking out of the water. “I can live with that.”

Jets of warm water massaged our throbbing muscles, and we were both content in each other’s silence. “Thank you, again, Twilight,” I said. smiling as my aches dissolved in the water. “For giving me something I never knew I needed. I’ll make it up to you somehow.”

“Mhmm… You don’t have to,” Twilight said, not bothering to open her eyes. “Friends help each other. I’m pretty sure there were at least a few friendship reports about that.”

“I still want to help you with something…” I trailed off, trying to think of some suitable recompense. “Your regalia – perhaps I could design that for you? If you want. What do you think of silver and blue as a color scheme?”

“Well, I appreciate the offer, but I have a purple and gold crown, and I’m kind of attached to it. It reminds me of my element,” she said, opening an eye a sliver to take a peek at me.. “Not that I like wearing my crown around, but I still like it.”

“Very well,” I said, throwing out my earlier design for her torque. “I was just thinking you might like a color scheme that was different from Princess Celestia’s.” Why I ever thought she’d want to differentiate herself from Princess Celestia, I had no idea. Purple and gold… Well, I could do something with the gold. Maybe dilute it slightly? There was something about Twilight’s crown that when it caught the light just right, it set the world on fire. If I could bring that quality into her torque… Yes, it would have to be a minimalist thing, not too ostentatious, so the focus of attention would be her natural beauty.

Actually, it was amazing how beautiful she was. Was I more beautiful than she was? When I was completely made up, possibly, but naturally? Absolutely not. She had some natural charm I could never in a million years hope to replicate. Yes, any designs I made would have to highlight that. That would be fun, though; I’d always wanted to work in the minimalist aesthetic, and this was the perfect opportunity. If we were going minimalist, then perhaps something closer in design to Princess Luna’s torque would be called for. Amethyst starburst in the center of the gold torque? Possible, but it felt heavy, like it would draw too much attention from her face. How could I make it lighter? Make the gold band thinner? Too much thinner and it might seem like a necklace. That wouldn’t do, would it? Unrelated note: Why did Princess Celestia’s torque look so much like my element? Same color scheme, same design. If my element’s band were a bit larger and the band thicker and less ornate, you couldn’t tell the two apart.

Ooh! That was a nice idea. Maybe I could make the band for her torque resemble the band for our elements! That way, it could tie into her past, and… Yes, Rarity, we can work with this. I’d have to find someone who could craft the band and set the gem, but… Yes, this could be good. Very very good. Of course, there was still the issue of what color her shoes should be, but progress was progress. I opened an eye to find Twilight staring at me. “What?” I asked.

“I was just… I was watching you think. I didn’t mean to, but I couldn’t help but notice how intently you were focused on something, and then it was kind of fascinating just watching your expression change and trying to extrapolate your thoughts. I’m guessing you had some idea for my regalia?”

“I did,” I said, nodding at her and smiling. “And I promise, you’re going to love it. Although… Did Celestia ever tell you why my element so closely resembled the design for her torque?”

“Huh, it does, doesn’t it,” Twilight said, leaning her head back and looking up at the ceiling. “Well, there is the possibility you could be distantly descended from…” Her eyes snapped open. “I need to check my library. Is there any chance you have your family’s genealogical records? Wow, how did I not think of this sooner? It’s so obvious.”

“What’s obvious?” I asked, looking at her. Twilight was very dear to me, but it would be nice if she’d explain what she was thinking when she had one of her brainstorms instead of just giving me half-complete statements.

“Nothing yet. Well, I don’t want to get your hopes up without having… You have to understand, Princess Celestia’s regalia isn’t really her regalia, it’s inherited. A unification gesture to appease the nobility. It was actually given to Princess Celestia by the great-granddaughter of Princess Platinum, the regalia’s original owner,” Twilight said.

My ears perked up and I leaned forward as much as I dared without upsetting my muscles. Was she saying that. “You think I’m related to…”

“Well, I would, but there’s a bit of a problem. Well, bigger than a bit. All of Princess Platinum’s descendents were either killed or swore a vow of celibacy a few hundred years ago, after one of Platinum’s descendents tried to overthrow Princess Celestia using her claim on the throne,” Twilight said.

I sighed and sank back into the water. “That does put a little damper on this fantasy of yours,” I said.

“Also, even if I was right, one of your parents would inherit the title, not you, unless they proved to be somehow unfit for it.” Well, I could think of several dozen reasons they were unfit for the title of parent, but princess was another matter. I laughed at the idea of my father suddenly becoming a Princess of Equestria.

“Sorry,” I said, smiling at Twilight. “I just imagined my parents suddenly becoming nobility. I don’t think Canterlot could handle such boorishness, and I don’t think my parents could handle such rigid formality. Are you still going to try and research this?”

“Of course,” Twilight said, sitting up and splashing the water as she gestured dramatically with her forelegs. “Do you have any idea how huge it would be if we found out Princess Platinum has living descendants? It would be big. Bigger than big. It might even be bigger than me ascending.”

“I highly doubt that,” I said. “Even if you’re right, which you already admitted is almost impossible, that would at best mean that I’m distantly related to somepony important, while you personally saved Equestria… how many times is it now?”

She frowned. “Between five and seven? But I don’t really think I saved Equestria at all, since I couldn’t have done it without you and the others. I guess I can understand the arguments for me playing a vital role in saving Equestria in at least five instances, but really, as much of the credit should go to you girls.”

Yes, very humble of you, Twilight, but you figured out how to restore the Elements, and you undid Discord’s magic on us, and you saved us from Tirek. We simply assisted you. A little pride in your work isn’t a terrible thing. “My point, Twilight, is that you are far more important to Equestria than I.”

“Rarity, you’re–”

“Twilight, I know what you’re going to say, and I appreciate the sentiment, but at the end of the day, Equestria could carry on without me. It couldn’t without you. That’s all I meant to imply,” I said.

“Because you’re importan–”

“Spare me the cliche, Twilight, and I know that sounds hypocritical, but can you honestly say I’m as important as you? We all exist in your shadow, and I’m okay with that, really, I am, just… Can you honestly say I’m more important to Equestrian society than you? Can you say that me suddenly being related to an admittedly stylish and important mare who lived over a thousand years ago is more important than you and all your accomplishments?” She frowned, practically deflating into the water, and I felt like the biggest bully in all of Equestria. Yes, I might’ve been right, but the dear was just trying to be kind.

I closed my eyes and sighed, rubbing my head. “I’m sorry, Twilight. I shouldn’t have taken my frustrations out on you, I just… I hate being pitied.” An unbidden memory came to mind. School children whispering about ‘poor Rarity,’ whose parents could never be found. Poor Rarity, living in a house all alone. Poor Rarity, such a sweet filly but so unmannered, doesn’t even know how to answer a question. Poor Rarity, sitting in her room, devouring all she can find about class and etiquette. Poor Rarity, rebuilding herself from the ground up as the mare other mares wish they could be. Poor Rarity, catching the eye of every stallion in Ponyville. Poor Rarity, rising star on the dressmaking scene. Poor, poor Rarity, eclipsing all her detractors. I swallowed it down. Twilight didn’t deserve any of that old business.

“You’re important to me,” she mumbled into the water. “I’m sorry, I just wanted to help you, and I don’t like hearing my friends beat themselves up.”

“I understand, Twilight, truly, I do. I just don’t see how me having some royal ancestry could be more important than you,” I said. Of course, I wasn’t overlooking the obvious implications of me being related to a princess, not in the slightest. This was massive for me if Twilight’s impossible theory was right.

“Oh!” Twilight said, slipping into lecture mode. “Well, it’s not immediately important, but it’s historically important. You know, most unicorns revere Princess Platinum, even though Clover the Clever was the hero of the piece and student to Star Swirl the Bearded, but Princess Platinum is seen as a symbol of unicorn sovereignty, so her having a living descendent would be… kind of huge for the unicorn nobility.”

“Ah, I think I see your point,” I said, nodding at her. “And again, I’m so sorry for snapping at you. You’re right, I do probably need to talk things through with somepony, and I… You’re very important to me too, Twilight Sparkle. I don’t know where I’d be without your friendship.”

“Well, if we weren’t friends, Equestria would probably still be trapped in eternal darkness, so… frozen to death. I think we’d all be frozen to death,” she said. “Promise me you won’t be so… Can I tell you a little story Princess Celestia told me when I was studying under her?” Twilight asked. It was good seeing her usual cheer and enthusiasm coming back after I’d so cavalierly trampled it.

“Of course,” I said, smiling at her. Apparently, Aloe and Lotus were letting us soak as long as we wanted today. I suppose they knew we needed it.

“Well, it’s not really a story, more a question. Who’s more important in Equestria? The farmer or Princess Celestia?” Twilight asked.

“Princess Celestia, obviously,” I said, nodding my head. The question almost certainly had a trick to it, but I couldn’t quite grasp it. “There’s only one of her, but hundreds of farmers.”

“That’s what I said too,” Twilight said. “Although actually, there are thousands of farmers in Equestria. There are a one hundred and seventeen within sixty miles around Ponyville, but that’s not the point. The point is, yes, Princess Celestia is vital to the functioning of Equestria. She’s led us for a thousand years in relative peace and ushered in a golden age for all ponykind. However! Who makes the food Princess Celestia has to eat?”

“The farmer,” I said, starting to see where her argument was going. “But–”

“Sorry, I think I know what you’re going to say, it’s what I said too. ‘What about the writers and the artists?’ Or for you, what about the dressmakers? They aren’t vital to Equestria. Is that about right?” she asked.

“A bit on point, but yes, that was the nature of my objection. I can see how a farmer can be as vital to society as a princess, but… yes, what about the dressmakers?” I said. “How can a dressmaker, in a society that generally eschews clothing, be as important as a princess?”

“I won’t forget what Celestia told me, I’m going to try my best to get this right, but I might mess up a few words, she said, ‘Twilight, nopony exists in a vacuum. Everything we do shapes the world around us in small ways. The bartender serves the playwright who has a drunken vision that leads to him writing the play that inspires the child to become a guard who saves the town. Remove one and the whole town dies.’ I remember that night, she gave me a poem to read, and I kind of memorized it. Do you want to hear it?”

I smiled and nodded at her. “I would like that very much, Twilight Sparkle.”

She shook her head. “Full name, why? Anyways, you’ve probably heard the first and last lines of it before, but I think the whole thing is beautiful.” She cleared her throat.

“No mare is an island,
entire of itself,
every mare is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Equestria is the less.
As well as if a promontory.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s.
Or of thine own were:
Any mare’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in ponykind,
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.

“So that’s why I hate it when you start talking about how you’re somehow less important than me because you didn’t save Equestria. We’re so much a part of each other, and I could have never saved Equestria without you. Without any of you. You’re so fantastically important, everything you do creates ripples that shape the world. Every action you take adds a note to this grand symphony of Equestria, and without you, the symphony wouldn’t be as wonderful. Without you, I’d still be the grumpy misequinthrope who’d rather stay cooped up in her library than spend time with friends. All those moments of happiness you give would be gone. Every good you did to other ponies would be gone, and the good you inspired them to do would be gone too. Without you, a ripple of darkness echoes through Equestria, and inestimable light is lost. So please, promise me you’ll never say you’re less important than me again. Alright?”

I’d never loved her more than I had in that instant. She wasn’t just my dear friend, she was the living embodiment of friendship. She was a blinding light, and anything that diminished that light was a crime of the highest order. Warm tears stung my eyes as I wrapped my forelegs around her. Her world of interconnected lights shining and filling each other, driving each other to be brighter and better than before filled my mind as I closed my eyes. All of us burned together, shining as bright as the light next to us. With her star next to mine, my light could be like a second sun. “I promise.”

Author's Note:

This was... I debated a long time on whether or not the ending was too sentimental for the story. Hopefully, it isn't, but I'm always interested in your feedback.

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