• Published 19th Mar 2016
  • 2,288 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?

  • ...

At the Crux


The Crux Heartstrings Airship Bay was packed, filled with increasingly impatient unicorns. Apparently, the Bay was closed. Long lines of ponies had formed at the ticketing areas, and many a tired looking unicorn were setting up camp outside the building, pitching fancy looking tents in haphazard, snaking rows. If one listened carefully, a few snatches of speculation were floating through the air. Some said there had been some sort of fire or attack by the Supremacists. Some whispered that there had been a break in. Some even shouted that one of the cross-shaped piers jutting out of the side of Canterlot Mountain had fallen.

Sunset Shimmer was lying in one of those tents, dying from the summer heat.

She had made it a point to purchase a plain looking one, so as to not draw attention, but it still had her cutie mark emblazoned proudly on the outside, waving slowly in the brisk winds outside. At the moment, Sunset was listlessly flipping through her entrance exam paper, frustratedly glancing through the occasional red crosses that were marring her otherwise tick filled scroll.


Suddenly, a brilliant purple blur filled her vision, impacting upon her muzzle and bouncing off. "Ow!"

Sunset looked up blearily, and noticed that the tent door had tied itself back, revealing a very familiar looking general. He was smiling, all right, but there was an unfamiliar tightness around his eyes.

She immediately shifted to the left as Shining Armour crawled in, before drawing her right foreleg up in a sloppy looking mock salute. "You didn't have to throw my sandwich at me, sir."

"Sorry, didn't think that you'd be distracting yourself with your scroll," the General replied airily, tearing open the rose-hued casing of her own sandwich. He then proceeded to eye it carefully. "Hey, look! This thing matches the colour of my magic!"

Shimmer rolled her eyes, before sinking her teeth into her hay bacon sandwich. "Yeah, and the bacon in here matches my mane."

"Rulebook states that I should be launching an incendiary spell up your muzzle for that. Too bad, though, I would rather not." – Armour's pupils shrunk slightly. – "Keep that up and your insides will become fire."

Shimmer fought the urge to roll her eyes again. "Sure thing, boss. Not like we're following the rulebook by being out here at this time, anyways."

Shining turned towards Sunset, meeting her unimpressed gaze. A flatness came upon his lips. "You gotta learn some respect, Lance Corporal. I've known you for years already, and you're still like this."

"Still, you don't have to try to act tough just to –"

Shining then proceeded to levitate his sandwich casing and place it lightly on Sunset's horn, shocking her into silence. It stayed.

Sunset used to wonder why Captain Night even got his (patient and comparably gentle) son to join the military. She knew that Night Light spoiled his children, which explained why both his children were insufferably sheltered. At least Twilight Sparkle had her plethora of dangerously high marks to serve as her reinforcements. Hell, she was so highly intelligent that Sunset was sure that Sparkle had upstaged her in terms of the number of memorised spells in their brains, which proved highly worrisome even for a pony like her (one who was incomparably beautiful, smart and powerful) . Thankfully, Twilight had been crippled in terms of her magical power, causing Shimmer to rest comfortably on her high throne.

Anyways, she had actual leverage to use against Twilight, all within her head.

However, Shining had little of Twilight's tenacity or supposed intelligence in the first place, leaving him with kindness, patience and protectiveness as his sole merits. Sunset had always felt that ponies which dealt mostly in defensive strategies and barrier spells were not worthy of joining the Equestrian Military. Well, yes, she knew that it was called the Royal Guards for a reason, but one who only defended would do little against a greater threat. All in all, she did not revere Shining Armour as she did for Lightfall.

This was all a year ago, before she watched him plan out the sequence of a potential assassination based on the flaws of their defence and anti-rebellion systems in a grand total of three weeks.

And it covered the murder of all 116 of the government officials.

Sure, the plan was a commission by the Duke in order to further improve the security of Central Manehattan, but the whole incident scared Sunset. A lot. Thankfully, it took one concerned expression on Armour's face to convince Shimmer that he was still the same brotherly stallion she had grown up with.

"Oh, crap."

The swear immediately brought Sunset back from her own thoughts as focused her gaze on Shining's nervous expression. Shining never swore. Unless...

"We're late," she sighed. "Aren't we?"

"Yeah. Ditch the sandwich and wipe your muzzle. If Lightfall asks, we ate our lunch at the canteen before teleporting here."

She understood. They were supposed to be at work now, and if anypony caught them here in the Crux, they'll experience death by Night Light. As the rulebook said, "...Royal guards who are caught outside castle grounds during their shifts will be subjected to Corporal Punishment." She was pretty sure this didn't apply to Shining or Lightfall though, but they'd be pretty pissed if they're forced to explain why the three of them are at the Crux at this time. So, Lightfall stated the specific instruction to teleport immediately from the castle to their meeting spot. She figured that she would just skip lunch and do the teleportation. Sadly, they had some... technical difficulties, namely the facts that the place was closed and the entire interior of the bay was lined with anti-teleportation wards. It had been quite a sight when they zapped into existence on the roof of the place.

Therefore, they took the logical route: getting a tent and having lunch.

"Where are we supposed to meet Lightfall now that the airship bay is closed?" Sunset asked, raising an eyebrow at Shining, who was frantically pacing in the already cramped tent. "I don't see how Lightfall would ever find us in this mess."

He paused, settling back down tensely. "Fair point."

"Yeah, yeah," Sunset muttered. "All about punctuality, aren't you?"

Shining didn't reply. A shadow passed over his muzzle, shading the twinkle of his cornflower blue eyes.

After a few uncomfortable moments of silence, he looked up again. "Lance Corporal Shimmer, do you know what this meeting would even be about?"

She hesitated. "No... sir."

"Never mind, then," he sighed. He went back to being uncharacteristically silent.

Something exploded within Sunset Shimmer. She reared up on her hind legs, slamming downwards inches before of Armour's eyes. He released a tiny squeak.

"Look, Shining. It's pretty damn obvious that you're hiding something. SPILL IT NOW, GENERAL!" she snarled, ramming her head into Shining's. It was an intimidation tactic she used to perform on him when they were foals. "That's an order!"

He backed up into the tent wall, shoving up against the canvas. His horn was charged with purple light, withstray wisps curling off it. He looked... aggressive, quite unlike him. "FINE! Just get off me!"

Yet again, her trick worked.

"I mean, I wan– Lightfall asked me to do something I didn't want to do, okay?" – he glowered at Sunset. – " And no, she didn't ask me to do the hanky-panky with her, or bathe in corndogs, or pitch headfirst off a cliff. It's just... complicated. Really complicated. And you're gonna get your flanks whopped for ordering a general around!"

She smirked, folding back upon her haunches and telekinetically brushing some stray hairs back into her wavy red-and-gold locks of mane. Sure, she was definitely not satisfied with his answer, but she'll find a way to snatch his answer from his mind. She had the feeling that whatever he was not telling was very valuable.

With that, she made up her mind.

"Thanks for telling me about your problem."

Shining Armour laughed mirthlessly. "You're not happy with my answer. I can tell as much."

Sunset merely smiled placatingly. "Yeah... maybe. But I have something to show you too."

She ignited her horn, which flared a very bright aquamarine. Reaching into her mind, she laid the spell matrix, causing the recorded memory to arise and untether itself from the base of her mind. Armour arched an eyebrow.

"This," she said. "Is about your sister. I may or may not have been spying on her. It's valuable information."

"You shouldn't be doing that, but..." –Shining's eyes lit up cautiously, burning with an equal mix of admiration and suspicion. – "A... memory? You recorded the scene didn't you? That's really complex magic."

Humble face. Put on your humble face, Shimmer.

"Um, yes. But it's a long scene. I may pass out at the end. But when I wake up, I need your full answer."

Shining's face boiled with a mixture of outrage, fear and concern (for his sister, she supposed). In the end, his curiosity won in his battle royale of emotions.

He nodded reluctantly.

Concentrating, she projected her thought outwards. To her delight, a stable screen, rimmed in her aura, appeared. It was a scene of a lecture hall, from the point of view of the tall windows behind Celestia.

Celestia sat there, scribbling.

An olivine hued Twilight Sparkle waltzed in.

"Hello Twilight," Memory-Celestia said. "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." Memory-Twilight replied. "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."

Shining Armour sat in rapt attention, drawing in the scene.

Sunset's eyes, however, were fixed on a leather-bound journal sitting on Celestia's desk.

Author's Note:

Next: Starlight Glimmer

Sorry for the reeeallly late update, but I blame my mid-terms. Had to study. Sorry.

Fun fact: Night Light has threatened his son about giving him a public bath in corn dogs before. Strange times...

Also, Celestia's security is really, really lax. Then again, no one expects a flying Sunset to film you even though you're in a pretty high tower.

Anyways, here's your chapter. Have a nice day!

EDIT: First dislike! Got any feedback? Put it in a constructive, reasonable way in the comments!

DOUBLE EDIT: THIS GOT FEATURED! YESYESYESYESYESYESYES!!!!:rainbowlaugh: Thank you everybody who has ever liked or bookshelved Astrum Nova!