• Published 19th Mar 2016
  • 2,290 Views, 93 Comments

Astrum Nova - Solaris Hemera



Twilight Sparkle lived in a perfect Equestria where everypony was cleanly segregated, Unicorns in major cities, Earth ponies in the outskirts and those barbaric pegasi far away from the mainland. So why did she feel that this was all ... wrong?

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The Journal of the Ashes

Dear Twilight Sparkle,

I am rather pleased to say that your long-time friend and classmate Sunset Shimmer has been accepted into the Hyperion Guards! As a supporter and user of solar magic, she was almost immediately accepted by Lightfall into her ranks. Though at the current moment, Equestria is at peace, she would hence fight as one of my personal guards during times of war. I hope that you would offer your congratulations to her when she returns to your residence.

Your Mentor,
Princess Aurum Solis Celestia

P.S. Your previous housekeeper had resigned the day before. I have taken the liberty to hire a new maid for you. Her name is Rarity, and today would be her first day at work. Please treat her well.

P.P.S. Do take the rest of the day off. I have cancelled whatever appointments you have for this afternoon and evening. Meet me at sundown in the lecture hall.

Twilight skimmed through the note, scribbled hastily on a piece of torn, old parchment with a broken quill-nib. If it weren't sealed with the Imperial Brand, she would have thought the note was written by a particularly lazy Celestia impersonator.

However, the little memo still carried the elegance of the Princess's glorious, loopy horn-writing, and only Celestia herself can produce the famous Imperial Brand to seal her letters. Alas, Twilight had no choice but to deduce that, yes, indeed, the note was written by her mentor.

She had found it on her mattress, rolled up neatly on her pillow, as if Celestia had known all along that Twilight would have a falling out with her cleaning mare and flop huffily onto her bed in a fit of rage. And oh, that cleaning mare! Twilight knew her name now, and it tasted foreign, perhaps a little bitter in her mouth. If only she had known that Celestia sent Rarity, maybe then would she have tolerated the mare's snarky tone and haughty glances for a while more. Now Little Miss Arrogant would probably have complained her head off to the Princess.

Yes, Little Miss Arrogant. The name sounded far more familiar to her than Rarity.

Groaning, Twilight pulled her pillow over her head. She couldn't believe that the news about Rarity took up more space in her mind than Sunset 's enlistment. Honestly, though, she couldn't even muster an iota of surprise when she had found out – the prodigious Shimmer always seemed to get what she wanted.

Twilight shut her eyes, sealing the contents of her letter away in the back of her mind. She would not stress about the looming meeting at sunset, nor would she harbour any expectations about it.

Her day was going so terribly at this point that all she wanted for it is to be over.

Rolling off the bed, she stepped onto the ground. The area around Sunset's chifforobe was still covered in a dense, magical fog, swirling lazily with violent shades of red, purple and green. I never knew that broken charms could cause such contamination... What did Sunset even put into her amulets?! Experimentally, Twilight dipped a hesitant hoof into the mist, and a subtle chill permeated her bones, filling her with ice. She jerked it out, leaping backwards. Her hoof was now a deep shade of olivine.

So much for spell damage safety standards.

--------*♢*--------

"Sweetie?" Rarity called. "SWEETIE!"

Sweetie Belle peeked out from behind the couch. "Rarity?"

Glancing at the old clock on the wall, she frowned suspiciously at Rarity's advancing form.

"You're back kinda early... too early..."

Rarity fought the urge to roll her eyes and reply "You don't say?" back at Sweetie. Instead, she forced her face into a smile she hoped appeared kind and compassionate.

"The food combination you've always wanted to try is a double hayburger, with fries, and a strawberry milkshake to go," she replied. " Also, since a year back, you forced me to say that every time I come home."

Satisfaction glowing in her eyes, Sweetie curled back into her corner behind the couch. Sighing, Rarity pulled her cleaning uniform off, staring at their house. It was dilapidated, leaning sadly to the right, on the verge of collapse. The hay roof was rotting and parts of it were missing, causing rainwater to drip slowly down to their equally soggy wooden floorboards. A few buckets were placed under some of the holes in the roof, but after ten holes, they ran out of buckets and will to live.

Rolling up her uniform, she dunked it into a half-filled bucket.

"Why are you home so early, anyway?" Sweetie questioned, aiming her bright green eyes at Rarity. From her dark area, those eyes almost seemed luminous. "You didn't lose your job, did you?"

"No, I didn't," she replied, annoyance creeping into her tone. "I just–waHAHA!"

Triumphantly, Rarity pulled her mane brush from under Sweetie Belle's couch. "Found it! My mane can finally stop looking utterly dreadful!"

She gestured wildly towards her frayed curls, grinning in excitement. " This is the best possible–"

A loud snore exploded from her younger sister's mouth. From her curled up position at the rear of the couch, she looked wretched, pathetic even.

Heaving a sigh, Rarity set down her brush. Trying to keep her hoofsteps low and soft, she swiftly went into her room, the only usable one in their house other than the living room. The rest were either too waterlogged from the previous night's storm or too unstable due to the winds.

A box was sitting on the floor, cardboard and filled to the brim with shards of glass and wooden chips. A large label was plastered on the side of the box, indicating that it was "RARITYS CHAM BOCKS". She hoped that she had spelt the words correctly, from what she currently knew of the alphabet.

Apparently, from what her mother had told her, it was necessary for all unicorns to have a labelled charm box in their home, filled with at least ten basic charms.

Picking out a cracked silver of tinted glass, she strung it, an arcane circle spiralling out, turning it into a talisman. Stalking slowly back to her sister, she softly placed it onto her. The terrifying snores abated.

She smiled, satisfied, as she launched herself onto the couch.

Charms were surely the most useful thing that any unicorn could come up with, especially in the Ponyville Slums.

--------*☆*--------

Charms were useless, idiotic items that deserve to go to Tartarus.

Twilight thought for the hundredth time as she finally burst through the doors of the lecture hall. The golden double doors slammed into the walls, signalling the arrival of an olivine-coloured, boil-covered, aubergine-maned, student of Princess Celestia.

As usual, Celestia was sitting casually in her chair, scribbling something with a snapped white quill, top half of the feather dangling by a thread and swinging in tandem with Celestia's hornwriting. This time, a second wooden chair was placed beside her.

"Hello Twilight," her mentor greeted pleasantly, giving Twilight her usual sharp-eyed once-over. "You're looking positively... green today."

"Your Highness, I tried to clear up some fog left by this morning's breakage of around a dozen charms. Apparently, it has some effects to a pony who attempts to clear it up with a fog-clearing spell." Twilight replied, tiredly. "My left forehoof is a slightly darker shade of olivine than the rest of my body as I placed it into the fog without any caution whatsoever."

She could almost see the laughter streaming out of Celestia's eyes. "Do not worry, the effects of the contamination should be cleared up by the following morning."

"Besides, I have something to show you! Come, sit down on this chair."

Twilight cautiously took up her seat beside Celestia. It was vaguely uncomfortable and far too tall for her. Her heart was performing some sort of vigorous dance within her chest, and she can smell the fresh, bright scent of flowers, sitting so close to Celestia. She consciously took in every strand of the Princess's neat bun.

On her table was a book.

It was thick as a tome and just as old, leather-bound (Twilight shuddered as she imagined a cow slaughtered just for the creation of the book), and yellowed. But Twilight's breath caught as soon as she saw the cover.

Her cutie mark, in full, accurate colours, was emblazoned onto the leather.

"What?" Twilight whispered.

"Read it," Celestia commanded.

Hesitantly, Twilight levitated the book and opened it. Immediately, she was greeted with the words: "THE JOURNAL OF THE ASHES", followed by a tiny: "By Twilight Sparkle".

Twilight blinked, a strange, trickling confusion running down her throat, expanding into something resembling panic. Had she written a book before and completely forgotten about it? Yes? No?

Immediately, Twilight was leafing through the pages so fast that she could barely see a thing, except for some snatches of writing.

"...the study of stars in..."

"Dying sun..."

"...the fall of the universe..."


The last page finally flipped over and Twilight nearly screamed. It was a full-colour sketch, of her wearing a golden crown, grinning away in a manner the real Twilight would smile back at. And the worst thing?

She had a huge pair of Celestia-like wings, spread in its full glory.

The book clattered out of her telekinetic grip.

Her jaw was hanging, eyes still staring blankly at the picture.

" The book was not written by you, but I would like for you to have it, so that you can, ah, get to know the author a little better," Celestia instructed, firmly. " You would not have any more lessons with me until you finish the book."

"So... somepony impersonated me?" Twilight asked feebly, staring up at her mentor's eyes. "Please tell me that somepony impersonated me..."

"I...I'm not sure myself," Celestia sighed. " I found it with me one night, thousands of years back. It was advanced, way beyond that time."

"I had assumed that it was a gift from another alicorn named Twilight Sparkle, and I sent many, many scouts in search of her. But I never did find her. And I suppose you know now why I chose you as my student..."

Instead of an all-powerful alicorn, you found a young magicless unicorn, with the same cutie mark and appearance, thousands of years in the future. You took her in anyway, in hopes that she would remember, somehow, about writing the journal. But she didn't.

And now she is useless to you.

Useless.

The true reason of Celestia's mentorship was somehow even worse than the rumours.

"But why, why now are you showing this to me?" Twilight choked out. She could tell that tears were streaming out of her eyes. "You could have given this to me earlier, so I could have left and not spend THIRTEEN YEARS OF MY LIFE MASQUERADING AS A STUDENT! OF! YOURS!"

"Why, you ask," Celestia replied, quietly. Her face wore a mask of calm, as she trained her eyes on Twilight.

Twilight found herself on the floor, thrashing as she was slowly levitated back up until she was level with Celestia. She was thrashing, struggling against Celestia's powerful magic. Betrayer, betrayer, betrayer...

"Because I've finally found my Element of Magic, and it wasn't Sunset after all," Celestia enunciated smoothly, holding her grip onto Twilight. "It was you."

" I would never have told you about the journal otherwise."

Celestia was suddenly pacing, as she continued levitating Twilight. " I'm sorry, if I didn't lock you in a telekinetic grip, you wouldn't have listened. And time is running out. You may have no idea what I'm talking about now, but I need you to know one thing..."

Suddenly, the princess released her bun. Her carnation pink mane dangled loosely around her. And then it hit Twilight. What happened to the ethereal mane that had framed her countenance all these years? What happened to the royal regalia that Celestia used to wear? Before Celestia said anything else, Twilight knew the answer, deep within her.

"Twilight, the sun is dying."

--------*☆*--------

Author's Note:

Next: Gathering Light

Whew... cool season 6 premiere, huh? Sorry for the late release of this chapter!