• 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?

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Starlight Glimmer (Part 1)

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The entire morning had been a fiasco.

No, Rarity did not use the word to define the part of her day where had joined forces with one of her sworn nemeses (a Canterlot Noble), Twilight Sparkle, to...um do something with a book.

No, no. She used it to define something far worse.

Lyra Heartstrings.

She had burst in, figurative cannons ablaze, detailing the mannerisms of drunk Twilight with gusto. Well, sure, it was entertaining, but watching an increasingly flustered Twilight Sparkle battle for her own innocence got rather annoying, fast. So, Rarity had suggested the brilliant, logical solution: Check their Club's linked record book for evidence that Sparkle had called for a meeting while intoxicated.

Unfortunately, Lyra took notice of her little comment, and, well, her. She had realised too late that Lyra was the sister of Vega Heartstrings, which had his house shrouded in spellfire for days after Rarity had tampered with the security wards (In her defense, she had cleaned the room till it was downright impeccable before she'd gotten a little curious about the safety systems of the house). With slowly dawning comprehension, she'd watched Heartstring's expression morph into one of outrage.

Rarity ended up with quite an earful.

Unfortunately, Twilight (curse that wretch) broke up the legendary verbal smackdown that had ensued between the two ponies.

It had been fabulous! Just fabulous! She was winning that sun-forsaken –

"Rarity, it's supposed to be an experimental journal entry to see if it would do anything to the journal, so you don't have to tell me the entire events of the morning in third pony," Twilight Sparkle sighed, lifting her quill. "I just needed two sentences! TWO. SENTENCES."

She blinked, frozen, before reclining on the sofa. "You asked me to say whatever I want, and you'll write them all down in the journal. You didn't state the exact length of the passage!"

"Right, Lyra?"

The spearmint-hued mare shifted from her strangely bipedal sitting position, seemingly shaken out of a particularly unpleasant train of thought. "I'm pretty sure that I was winning the darn argument."

"Not an argument," Rarity corrected disdainfully. "A legendary verbal smackdown. And I was winning."

"Dear Celestia, I give up," Lyra groaned. "Why did I even get involved in this in the first place? I just came here to check on you, Twilight."

Suddenly, a vibration rang out like a foghorn. Everypony in the room jumped in shock.

"Sorry," Twilight sighed sheepishly. "Must be Sunset."

Rarity stared blankly.

"Linked record book," Lyra elaborated. She looked tense.

"Oh."

Dropping the book and the quill, Twilight dashed towards her desk, levitating a book with Sunset's cutie mark. It was flashing and vibrating violently. With a flourish, she opened the book, violet eyes rapidly scanning a page.

Rarity could almost see the colour drain out of her face.

"Lyra... Sunset's coming in approximately 10 minutes."

3...

2...

1...

Lyra's right eye twitched. "Oh shit."

"Language," Twilight said, feebly.

With a terrified scream, Lyra took off so fast that Rarity could have sworn she was flying.

After a brief but weighted silence, the two unfroze– Twilight stalking towards the door and Rarity flopping gracefully back onto the sofa.

"So, Sunset actually lives here, doesn't she?" Rarity asked in a monotone, the full weight of the realisation coating her chest cavity with a strange numbness. "Princess Celestia's other student? The Phoenix? Why, if I were Lyra, I would've just stayed put! What is her problem?"

Sparkle's face darkened.

"Sunset hates the Heartstrings family. Her clan has feuded with the Heartstrings for a long time, and so has mine, but as far as I know, my family and the Heartstrings made up and formed an alliance about twenty years back to break the Apple Family monopoly," Twilight explained. "When we were in school, there was an incident in which Sunset had framed Lyra for destroying the school library." –she shook her head in revulsion– "Lyra was expelled. At that point, the feud reached its worst. The whole thing blew up and became a court case. Thankfully, the Heartstrings won, so Lyra could finally come back to school.

"Sunset didn't suffer any consequences for her action, save a scolding from the Princess. From then on, her schemes became more... subtle. Nopony noticed anything, including me, but Lyra just got increasingly fearful of Sunset Shimmer, for Solis knows why. Truthfully, it scared me. I mean, oh Celestia, I've known her for so long! Who knows when she'll just stab your back or decide that she hated you, or something like that. "

Rarity winced as an image of a grinning Sunset vaporising a screaming Lyra filled her mind. A bit of sympathy for the unfortunate victim gnawed its way into her conscience. Sure, Lyra Heartstrings (no matter how normal she seemed) was still relatively high up the pantheon of aristocrats. Yes, Rarity had heard of her before meeting her in the flesh. Yes, she had envied her. But she was a pony too. A pony with her own feelings and fears, with a mind teeming with thoughts and joys and pains. And Rarity could very well imagine being in that position: a highborn, respected by many, but still hated by many of the same ranks as her. She could imagine being vaporised–

Oh, dear me.

"Just a query: How does Sunset feel about having a mudwater in her house?" Rarity asked tentatively.

"Mudwater? What mud–"

Twilight blanched.

"Oh no."

Rarity fought the urge to dissolve into nothingness. "Don't worry; I'll simply pretend to do my job. See?"

She picked up her mop and bucket, shoving them into Twilight's face.

"Nononono don't! I'll solve this, don't worry," Twilight rambled in sheer panic. "Don't worry, don't–"

The doorbell chimed – a too-loud fanfare that heralded the arrival of disaster. For the second time that morning. No, actually, third.

I wonder if we can ever catch a break?

Twilight looked as if she had been run over by a carriage.

"I'll go get the door," she said, slowly. "Do your job."

Rarity levitated her mop, and with a curt nod, began dipping it daintily in her bucket, not daring to look at the doorway. A couple more fanfares rang out, and she could almost taste Sunset's impatience by then.

The door swung open.

From her periphery, Rarity could see multiple coloured blobs at the doorway. Twilight was speaking quietly with them. She continued mopping the same area over and over again, anticipation and panic dancing within her as she coated the floor with a layer of soapy liquid.

The journal was on the coffee table, lying haphazardly near the edge. Tilting her head, she eyed it warily. From the angle she was standing at, it seemed to be glowing. How queer. How very queer.

No. Rarity squinted at it. Upon further investigation, it really was glowing.

Glancing helplessly at the main door, she saw that Twilight was awkwardly standing to the side of the door, sweating nervously and floundering in a pool of small talk.

She trotted right up to her, grinning feverishly.

Two ponies stood beyond the threshold. One was a light grey stallion built with a regal body structure. Buff, but not overly so. He was dressed in partial golden armour, which contrasted well his cerulean mane and eyes. Standing uncomfortably to his side, he wore an expression on his face vaguely reminiscent to that of Twilight's. Rarity could see the family resemblance. She supposed that they also shared the similar bane of small talk.

The other had Sunset Shimmer slumped over her back like a sack of potatoes, unconscious, fiery yellow and red mane billowing in the slight breeze. She was a mare, had a coat that was a couple of shades darker than Rarity's, and without armour. Unlike the stallion, she was considerably less imposing, given that she was a mare. However, her striking gamboge irises carried enough intimidation to rival his presence. The most peculiar thing about her was not the fact that she had Sunset lying over her, but her mane. Her arctic blue bangs were draped over one eye and gelled into near rectangular locks, the strangest thing that Rarity had seen all day (and that was saying a lot).

"Oh... yes, uh, t-this is Rarity," Twilight muttered weakly. " She's my, um..."

"Cleaning mare," Rarity continued, straightening her neck and pushing out her chest. She stuck out a hoof. "Charmed."

Suddenly, the stallion's face broke into a smile. He energetically reached out for the hoofshake. "Sweet mother of Celestia! You're the cleaning mare who got Blueblood arrested! A prince!"

"Oh yes, the Celestia impersonator. Served him right for pretending to be his own aunt," she proclaimed airily. "And you are...?"

"Shining Armour, at your service. And I need your autograph. That guy was such a pain in my flank."

The other mare looked on. "Can we come in?"

Twilight and Rarity stepped aside, allowing the guests to enter.

"Thanks," Twilight breathed.

"Why are they all here and why is Sunset unconscious?" Rarity whispered.

"They want to do a meeting somewhere undetectable," Twilight hissed in reply. "And Sunset fainted when–"

A brilliant white light exploded out from the centre of the room, filling the place with a wave of blistering heat. Rarity screamed and clenched her eyes shut, ducking in futility as every nerve in her body burned, pain clawing at her skin and eyes. Her body seemed to implode as heated air filled her every orifice, boiling her from the inside out.

The journal!

The light faded, and the heat gave way to cool winds. Rarity opened her eyes, and ghostly white dots seemed to dance across her vision. Hurriedly, she inspected her entire body, going over all the spots she suspected were burnt or injured. Nothing. Not even the single trace of pain or burns remained on her light grey coat.

Had she imagined the whole thing?

No. Twilight Sparkle was on the floor too, rubbing her eyes and looking around in confusion. Shining Armour was still standing, though a rose coloured shield had formed a dome around him, while the unicorn mare was sheepishly picking up Sunset Shimmer, who appeared to have fallen off her back. The living room was unharmed, save the coffee table which lay in smithereens, silvers of glass forming vaguely concentric rings around a scorch mark on the wooden floor. At the centre of it all, the journal hovered ominously above the destruction, glowing a brilliant white.

"What just happened?" Twilight groaned, struggling to her hooves. Then, she took in the scene before her. "Whoa."

The floating book remained suspended in midair for several more seconds before falling. Twilight caught it, before yelping and dropping it on the floor.

"Don't touch it. It's pretty hot," she mumbled.

Taking a few tentative steps towards the journal, Rarity inspected it with wide eyes. It was glowing purple now.

ACCESS GRANTED. MAIN CHANNEL ACTIVE. TWILIGHT SIXLE: LOCATED. RARITHREE: LOCATED. S–

Twilight frantically shut down the charm. The creepy log went silent.

So had everypony in the room.

"Well," –Shining Armour cleared his throat.– "That sure was something."

"Yep! Sure was something alright!" Twilight chirped with faux enthusiasm. Her usually neat mane was fraying at the ends and dishevelled. "Tell ya what. Shiny and I will carry Sunset to her bed. Fall, you can stay here with Rarity. She'll get you some tea."

Rarity raised an eyebrow. "I will?"

"Yes please, the teabags are in the pantry," Twilight replied, catching her eyes. Rarity could feel Twilight's panic affecting her psyche. "You will also explain how the journal was just one of our harmless experiments."

Shining Armour enveloped Sunset's prone body with his rose coloured magic while ascending the stairs to the bedroom with Twilight. A second rose coloured blob raced after them. It took a while before Rarity realised that it was the journal.

Meanwhile, an uncomfortable silence descended upon the two left in the living room.

The other mare was looking at the carnage that used to be the coffee table, a ponderous glaze forming over her eyes. Rarity stood awkwardly at the doorway, brushing her frayed mane back repeatedly. Shining Armour seemed easy enough to talk to, but this mare had ...something about her. Under usual circumstances, she would usually stay far away from ponies like her. Why? Because she was getting the same vibe from her as Sweetie Drops.

Did that mean she would stay far away from ponies like Sweetie? A memory tugged at the edge of her mind. Sweetie Drops as an adolescent, mane streaked with pink and deep blue, with a faint smile on her face. She was cradling another Sweetie. I'll be back soon, don't worry, Rarity. Sweetie Belle is in good hooves. She was cynical, intimidating and gentle all at the same time.

And dead.

Rarity shook the thoughts out of her head, instead choosing to focus on the pony before her.

"Want some tea, Sw– ...er... Pardon me, but what was your name again?" she asked.

"Lightfall," the pony replied, smiling wearily. "And no thanks."

"So...coffee?" Rarity asked lamely.

"Er, no actually," Lightfall clarified.

More silence.

This was going to be a long day.

Author's Note:

Next: Starlight Glimmer (Part 2)

Sorry for forcing you guys to wait a month for one chapter of filler, but it's all gonna be worth it when the next chapter rolls by. Not spoiling anything, but there's a reason why I decided to split Starlight Glimmer into two (that came out wrong).

Please don't kill me and have a nice day!


EDIT: Wanna see an extended version of the final scene just to kill time? Click here!