• Published 17th Mar 2017
  • 1,839 Views, 157 Comments

In the Absence of Twilight Sparkle - MyHobby

Twilight Sparkle isn't the only human learning magic, as Sunset discovers when she is invited overseas to visit a school run by Starlight Glimmer. She appears to have good intentions, but Sunset's doubts rise when a magic-powered murderer strikes

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Far and Away

Twilight Sparkle flopped back-first onto the cot provided by the Apple family. Her loose hair splayed out from her head, framing her face. She held her glasses in one hand and stared at the ceiling with intentionally blurry vision. Having an inability to focus on her sight allowed her to clear her mind. It was a refreshing experience, a microcosm of peace in the midst of the mind-numbing day.

Applejack hopped onto her bed and fiddled with her phone. She hunched over with her palm propping her face up as her right hand thumbed the touch screen. “C’n I get you anything? Snack, toothbrush, extra pillows?”

Twilight had brought her toothbrush and paste from her house. She’d grabbed the bare minimum: pajamas, a change of clothes, toiletries and deodorant. She spent as little time as possible in the bare, empty building. “Nah. I’m good.”

Twilight looked the other woman over. In comparison to her own pajama shorts and tank top, Applejack wore full-length flannel pajamas. She furrowed her brow and set her glasses in place. “So… does it get cold up here or what?”

“Huh?” Applejack placed the phone on her nightstand and leaned back against her headboard. “I just generally don’t use my blankets. Flannels feel better anyhow. You don’t gotta worry’ bout the chill. It’s just me bein’ me.”

“Fair enough.” Twilight folded her hands over her stomach. “Did you tell anybody about what’s going on?”

“Nope. Didn’t wanna overreach my bounds.” Applejack half-reached for her phone. “Y’want me to spread the word? I could IM folks for yah.”

“No thanks. I’ll do it. I only want a couple of people worrying about me.” Twilight held her phone in the air and stared at her contacts list. She’d probably add Shining Armor and Sunset. Maybe her parents. Maybe not. “I’m not sure what to say, really. ‘Hey, gang. Got accused of murder. El oh el. Probably going to jail. El em ay oh.’”

“You ain’t goin’ to jail.” Applejack spoke with a certainty that Twilight wished she felt. “On account of you not doing anythin’ wrong.”

“Nothing wrong.” Twilight removed her mother and father from the message recipients. “Yeah. Nothin’ at all.”

Before she could begin composing the message, her phone vibrated and a notification flashed on the screen. It was a call from Sunset Shimmer. Normally a cause for happiness. Now, though? “Huh. Speak of the devil.”

“Beg pardon?”

“Sunset’s calling.” Twilight pressed the green button and held the phone a little closer to her mouth. “Hey, Sunset. You’re on speaker with me and AJ.”

“Oh. Hi, Applejack!”


“Listen, Twilight, I have huge news. This day has been wild.”

Twilight Sparkle sighed through her nose, careful to angle her breath away from the receiver. “You don’t know the half of it.”

“You sitting down? ’Cause this is huge.”

Twilight sent a small, weak grin towards Applejack. “I couldn’t be sitting down any harder.”

“Okay. So. I’ve been invited to visit a school that teaches real magic.”

That got Twilight to sit upright. She stared at the phone with her forehead wrinkled, frowning as though Sunset could see her. “Come again? You talking real, real magic? Our kinda magic?”

“Really real magic, Twi.” Sunset’s voice vibrated with sheer excitement. It came through the audio as little pops of static, possibly caused by out-of-control glimmers of emotion-powered magic. “They want me to come and teach, and they’re gonna pay me just for showing up. I’m gonna have… oh gosh…. a whole classroom of people to teach magic to. People with just as much talent and excitement for it as we have. I mean, we don’t know if it’s gonna work out exactly, but if it does…”

“Wow.” Twilight didn’t have any other word for it. It was a bomb dropped into the idea-rich confines of her mind. They weren’t the only ones who had familiarity with magic? Now that she thought about it, of course a world as old as theirs would have plenty of opportunities to discover a natural force over the eons. If people could identify gravity, study the atom, explore the depths of space, why wouldn’t they find magic? To say nothing about the sirens having lived in their world for around a thousand years.

Wait. Hold up. Something was amiss. Twilight pushed her glasses higher up her nose. “Where’s the school?”

“It’s overseas. In the countryside of the Highborn Isles.”

Twilight nearly dropped her phone. Overseas? Across the ocean? In a whole other continent?

Her stomach lurched. Her ears burned as the weight of the revelation settled over her shoulders. She spoke quietly, more to verify what she already feared than to present an interrogative. “When are you leaving?”

“As soon as possible. We got the soonest flight.” There was a slight pause as Sunset weighed the conversation from her end. Her voice took on a lower, concerned tone. “Hey, are you okay?”

“I—” Twilight swallowed her breath. “Is Shining going with you?”

“No, he and Sunny are staying behind. I’m traveling light and fast.” Sunset’s volume shifted as she adjusted her grip on the phone. “Is something wrong, Twilight?”

“It’s… it’s a long story…”

And it was a long story, told through seemingly endless minutes of agonizing reliving. Sunset was mercifully silent throughout the tale, just allowing Twilight to pour her heart out. Applejack rolled to lie on her stomach, her phone held loosely over the edge of the bed. She, too, remained quiet, sitting through the story she’d already heard twice over.

When Twilight finished, there was an extended silence. Sunset breathed at last, followed by a sorrowful sentence. “Twilight, I’m sorry.”

“I just…” Twilight’s throat constricted as a sob threatened to rise from her chest. “I thought you could help.”

“I’m so sorry, I—” Sunset shuffled around. Twilight could hear paper flapping in the background. Her friend was fidgeting on account of having nothing else for her hand to do. “—I want to help you so bad, but… but we need… the paycheck will really help… I can’t… The plane leaves tomorrow.

But it doesn’t leave today, Twilight thought. You could cancel. You could stay and help me and be a hero to me. The school will still be there, won’t it? If they really wanted you, they’d be willing to wait for you, right?

Out loud, she let out a whisper. “It’s your dream, Sunset. You can’t give that up.”

Sunset Shimmer made a few muffled “thinking” sounds. They grew in volume and frustration with each passing moment. “I think I got an idea. I might not be available, but I know somebody who will be.”

Twilight allowed herself a smile despite herself. “Shining Armor?”

“Yeah, yeah, him too.” Sunset Shimmer’s shuffling switched to tuning pages of a book. “He’s gonna have Sunny, but we have Pinkie watching him while Shiny’s at work. But there’s somebody else who has experience with this sort of thing. I think if we drop her a line, she’ll be able to help out.”

Experience? Twilight’s mouth curled into a light scowl. There was a very short list of people in her immediate circle who had experience with magical murders. One of who’s pure existence played with Twilight’s perception of the universe and her place in it. “You talking about the princess?”

“Exactly.” Sunset Shimmer stood up so fast her chair clattered to the floor. “Shoot! Sorry. Where are you guys? I wanna drop off my old journal and get you in touch with her.”

“Apple Family residence,” Applejack piped up. “Twi’s stayin’ here ’til this whole thing blows over.”

“I’ll be over in fifteen minutes, tops.”

The call ended with Twilight staring at the phone, unsure of what the heck she’d just gotten herself into. It wasn’t like she didn’t get along with her counterpart. It was just… there was that whole “me but not” aspect to get over. She hadn’t quite found a way to parse the thought.

“Huh.” Applejack slid off her bed and slid into her slippers in the same motion. “I ain’t seen the princess since—” She slipped Twilight a glance she wasn’t supposed to notice. “—well, since she visited last.”

“Spike’s funeral? Yeah.” Twilight Sparkle stuck her phone in a loose pocket and followed Applejack out the door. “Me either.”

While they went one way down the hallway, Big Mac walked the other. Applejack gave him a friendly punch in the shoulder. “Off to bed, Mac?”

“A’yup.” His voice hitched when he saw Twilight trailing behind his sister. He gave her a small nod. “G’night, Twi.”

Twilight’s first instinct was to leap into the man’s arms, to hold him tight and never let go. With that desire suppressed due to sheer decorum, her next challenge was to suppress a laugh. He cut quite the figure, dressed in loose-fitting cottony pajamas that buttoned up the front. His hair lay at funny angles, teased out of shape by the humidity of an evening shower.

She wrapped her arms around his middle, and he returned the hug without a second thought. “Good night, Mac. Love you.”

“Love you, too, Twi.”

Apple Bloom chose that moment to pop her head out of the bathroom, toothbrush in hand. “If’n I hear any weird noises durin’ the night, I’m gettin’ the hose.”

Big Mac broke out into a coughing fit, releasing Twilight and making his way towards his bedroom. Twilight caught a glimpse of a rare sight: Big Mac blushing as bright red as a firetruck in an apple orchard. Applejack silenced further comment from her little sister with a glare that had been known to churn butter, curdle cheese, and do the laundry all before suppertime. Apple Bloom said her goodnights and closed the door to the bathroom before further threat to life and limb could be made.

Twilight could only roll her eyes, having long been at peace with Bloom’s constant efforts to chaperone. She followed Applejack downstairs to the first floor, where Granny Smith lay asleep on the easy chair. The TV hummed quietly in the background, its faint light flickering with some late-night gameshow. They tiptoed past her and stepped into the cool summer night.

They stood quietly for a while as they waited. Twilight Sparkle rubbed her bare arms as the chill cooled her skin. She sent Applejack a sidelong glance. “So. Did Sunset ever try teaching any of you guys magic?”

“Not really. After a while it just sorta wasn’t a thing in our lives.” Applejack set her hands on her hips and leaned back against the door frame. “Don’t get me wrong, it was pretty neat gettin’ all glowy and savin’ the world and such. But eventually we all got on with our normal lives. Sunset wasn’t too keen on having any evidence that she weren’t from this world.”

“Yeah…” Twilight shrugged. “She never really told me anything about the other world. Not until we both visited it. Now, though…”

“We covered as much as I knew when we met yah. Believe you me, I never really knew anything b’sides we all had double-mint twins in Ponyland.”


“Yeah, s’what I said.”

Twilight and Applejack shared a grin underneath the silvery moon. Applejack yawned and stretched her arms upward. “I’m glad it’s all a little more public nowadays. Helps to understand just what sorta crazy we all got into when we were kids. I almost miss the whole superpowers thing. Almost. I’m a bit simple when it comes to what I really want outta life.”

Twilight took off her glasses and polished them on the edge of her tank top. “What’s your dream?”

“Mostly jus’ ‘take over the farm.’” Applejack looked up at the stars, crossing her arms over her chest. “I figure I’ll work those fields an’ orchards ’til I’m old’n’gray. Like Granny did. Like my parents would’ve.” She nodded firmly at Twilight. “It’s the most satifyin’, fulfillin’, life-affirmin’ thing I ever done. And I can’t imagine doin’ anythin’ else.”

Applejack moved her hand like she wanted to adjust her hat, but found her head bare. She chuffed softly. “How ’bout you? I know you got that magic thing on lockdown.”

“Yeah, that’s a big part of it.” A flash of purple light appeared in the palm of Twilight’s hand, illuminating them brighter than the porch light. “It’s a dream to understand it more and more… I’m in the career I’ve always dreamed of… I’m on track, for the most part…”

Twilight must have been frowning, because Applejack pinched her eyebrows. “But?”

“But? I dunno.” Twilight shrugged and let the magic go out. “It’s hard to dream when you’ve had a day like today.”

Applejack laid a warm hand on her shoulder. “Nothin’ wrong with that. Just heal. And know we’re by your side.”

“Thank you, AJ.” The contact felt good to Twilight. A bright spot in the scum sandwich of a day she’d had. Still, if she allowed herself to remember that Sunset wasn’t going to be around, that joy soured. She pushed the thought from her mind and focused on what she wanted to say to the princess. It was gonna be weird communicating through Sunset’s magic journal—like handwritten text messages. She could probably draw pictures to illustrate her points, but the images rendered would still be completely foreign to a pony. It was time to call upon all her skill at interpersonal communication.

She also made a point to ignore the thought that her and interpersonal communication had a rocky history.

Sunset pulled up in her minivan, still dressed in her teaching outfit, her hair frazzled from what was probably frantic packing. She left the van running as she hustled up the driveway, the journal in hand. She and Twilight shared a quick hug, after which she gave one to Applejack.

“I’m so sorry, Twilight.” Sunset was near tears, wiping her eyes with a wrist. “The timing for this is so garbage. God, I can’t even—I’m sorry.”

She handed the journal to Twilight, who took it gingerly. “I took a sec to send a message ahead of time, just to get the princess up to speed. You can read it and add anything you think is pertinent. I just wanted her to get back to you as soon as she could.”

“That’s fine.” Twilight flipped open to the freshest page and speed-read the transcript, which described both Twilight’s and Sunset’s situations. It was fairly spot-on, with only a couple of spots that would require ironing out. She wasn’t actually under arrest, for one thing. “It’ll… it’ll work out. Somehow.”

As she was speaking, the book vibrated in her arms, shimmering with faint magic. She flipped the page and a message scrawled itself out before her eyes: We’ll be right over.

Twilight read it again. And again. And yet again. Still, she wasn’t sure she understood quite right. “Right over?” To where? To the library? She looked over the end of Sunset’s message and found no such call to action, just a request to help. It couldn’t mean—

Another vibration. Another scrawl on that same page. Tomorrow morning.

Sunset read over Twilight’s shoulder. She gave the page a double-take. “Wha—huh?”

Applejack appeared on the other side and gave it a similarly puzzled look-over. “Guys? Is the princess comin’ here, to this world?”

“It… would seems that way.” Twilight Sparkle looked up at Sunset, unable to feel anything but confusion. “So is she coming to help me, or to see the school?”

“I specifically asked her to help with you.” Sunset paced across the porch, rubbing her hands with every step. “She might just want to be here to help you hands-on. But it also wouldn’t hurt to be closer to the magic school, just to see what it’s all about.”

Applejack raised an eyebrow. “You could just ask her.”

Twilight took the pen from its place clipped to the cover of the book. She scribbled a quick message and, a minute later, received a brief affirmation that the princess was on her way to personally aid Twilight.

“Dang,” Applejack said. “Roll out the red carpet.”

Sunset was visibly relieved, the stress practically steaming off of her. “Oh, thank heavens. I feel so much better knowing she’s gonna be with you. Trust me, Twilight. If there’s one person who knows more about magic than I do, it’s the princess.”

Twilight Sparkle frowned deeply at the journal. She wished she shared Sunset’s ease. As it was, the whole situation just got a whole lot weirder. And more complicated. She didn’t doubt Princess Twilight’s competency, or good heart, or brilliance.

She doubted her own.

“I really need to finish packing,” Sunset said. She gave Twilight and Applejack another hug—the last for a long, long time. She trotted back to the minivan, waving as she went. “I love you guys!”

The engine revved, and she was gone.

Twilight Sparkle pressed the journal to her chest. She watched the van’s taillights vanish into the distance. Her eyes stung anew with unshed tears. She swore aloud, and for once, the Apple family had nothing to say about it. Instead, Applejack took her by the shoulder and led her slowly inside for a night that was sure to be anything but restful.


Sunset Shimmer walked through the airport the next day, plenty of time before the sun rose. Shining Armor was beside her, pushing Sunny’s stroller. Her luggage was checked. Her ticket was in hand. Her destination was certain.

Or so she told herself. On the inside, she was more nervous than the first day she’d spent as Princess Celestia’s personal student. Then, an orphan with more magical talent than she knew what to do with. Now, a magical expert in a world that was just discovering the science.

Magic was different in this world she called her home. It was harder to grasp. Tenuous and fleeting. Faint. It required a great deal of focus and even more practice. Could everybody eventually learn how to use it? Maybe. Perhaps people used it without knowing what it really was. At the moment, there was no way to know.

Up ahead, she saw Celestia and Sombra sitting together in the waiting area. The large man and the principal held hands, both smiling as they chatted. It seemed odd to Sunset; Celestia had never mentioned Sombra, but he was clearly a large part of her life. Even now, continents apart and years between them, they were able to reconnect as though they’d never left.

Shining Armor kept his voice low as they approached. “I didn’t know the principal had an SO.”

“You and me both,” Sunset said. “I think they had a relationship thirty years ago.”

Thirty years?” Shining Armor cracked a grin. “The embers still burn.”

Celestia and Sombra stood at their approach. Sombra bowed his head at Shining. “Captain Armor. It has been some time.”

Shining Armor shifted in his stance, coming alongside the stroller to put himself between Sunny and the doctor. “I’m sorry, I don’t recall having met.”

“It was when you were part of the team to assist Prime Minister Fancy Pants.” Sombra extended a hand, which Shining gripped with a strong squeeze. “I was able to see the Libertas Military in full force when you rescued him from that mob.”

Sunset’s eyebrows rose as her heart dropped. A mob that required foreign military presence? What had she gotten herself into?

“Ah, I’m sorry, I didn’t recognize you with your new hair style.” Shining Armor sent his wife a look that was just bordering on I told you so. “I hope the political climate is a bit better these days.”

“We will be in the Insofar countryside. The… more zealous political unrest is localized on the mainland.” Sombra leaned heavily on his cane, his face a chiseled stone of seriousness. “I promise you, I would not have invited Mrs. Shimmer if I thought there was danger to her wellbeing.”

Celestia slid herself bodily into the conversation as only a practiced social butterfly could. “I would like to remind you that Sunset is no helpless waif. We’ll look out for each other, Shining Armor.”

Sunset intertwined her fingers with Shining’s. They shared a look that both of them knew. They had decided to trust each other, no matter what. It was only for a little while. They could handle it. They’d spent far longer time apart when Shining Armor was an active member of the military. They’d been in far more dangerous situations.

Doubt niggled at the back of Sunset’s mind, but she brushed it off as prefight nerves. “That’s right, Celestia. We’ll look out for each other.”

She knelt down to touch Sunny’s face. The young boy was sleeping, since it was still before five o’clock. She whispered and kissed his cheek. “I love you, Sunny. Be a good boy for Daddy.”

He blinked awake. His eyes searched the strange surroundings until they finally rested on Sunset herself. He tried to ask if they were at the airport, but his sleepy slur came out as a “Wetairpert?

“Yeah.” She brushed his hair out of his face. “Mommy’s got to go visit another school now. I’ll call you tonight.”


“I’m sorry, Sunny.” There was that pain in her chest again. The kind of pain she felt when she spent time with Scootaloo. She hadn’t connected the two before this moment, but there it was. She felt like she was abandoning him. Abandoning him, and Shiny, and Twilight. Like she was screwing them over.

She took a deep breath in. It was fine. She was doing this for the sake of her family, for the sake of the magic students, and for the sake of herself. It wasn’t selfish. It was important. It was world-changing. It was…

It was her boy. He had woken up more, though he was still dizzy. He was too young to truly comprehend what was happening and why, but he still understood that his mommy was leaving. He reached for her, tears already dribbling down his chubby cheeks.

She took his hands in hers and smiled, warm and familiar. “You’re gonna have so much fun with Daddy. And you’re going over to the Pie’s tomorrow to play with Cheese Cake and Cherry Pie. You’ll still see me when we video chat.”

After some time, the call came to board the flight.

Shining Armor bent down to take Sunny from the stroller. He held the boy close with one arm, and wrapped the other around Sunset. They shared a kiss, all too brief, and then parted. He spoke to his son, warm and calm. “Wave goodbye to Mommy, Buddy.”

The three of them waved to each other, and Sunset felt her heart being ripped from her chest. A welcoming pat from Celestia urged her forward. She hesitated at the gate, her breath catching. She turned to catch a glimpse of her husband and son.

“Please don’t hold up the line, ma’am.”

Sunset Shimmer boarded the plane with a nine-hour flight ahead of her. Celestia allowed her to have the window seat, while the far taller Dr. Sombra required the aisle seat. Sunset fastened her seatbelt and pulled open the sliding window. She could see the large window in the airport that faced the airfield. A shape, indistinct yet unmistakable, stood in the midst of the glowing room. She pressed her hand against the glass.

“Gum?” Celestia passed a six-pack of mint gum to her. “It’ll help with the pressure. You’ve never flown before, have you?”

Sunset laughed lightly. “Not in an airplane.”

“It’s terrible.” Celestia leaned against Sombra’s shoulder and closed her eyes. “You’ll be much happier if you can get some shuteye. Get some rest and look forward to the nasty breakfast they serve.”

Sunset didn’t know that she was going to be hungry. Her stomach was all butterflies. A new country. A new continent. A new culture. She didn’t know that she could handle it.

It’ll be fine, she reasoned. She’d completely restructured her life once, and this was a far less permanent and drastic change than that. It was only for a time. Unless she just decided to teach magic for the rest of her life. That was always a possibility. She had to at least consider it, right?

Considering it made her feel ill again.


Twilight Sparkle awoke with a start. Her nightmares that night had taken an especially dark turn. Nothing horrifying enough to scare her awake, but enough to drown her in a seemingly endless morass of depression and unease. If she wasn’t drowning, she was racing against the clock to save someone from a looming darkness. Sonata appeared a few times, mocking her with that chilling, broken laugh of hers. Moondancer sat alone in the morgue, stating they couldn’t be friends anymore.

Principal Cinch expressed disappointment at Twilight for forgetting a locker combination. That one confused her more than anything.

It was all so slapdash, so overwhelming, so nonsensically put together. Twilight couldn’t stand to think about it another moment. She sat up in bed to find herself alone in the room. It was already midmorning. Applejack had long ago gotten to work on the farm. The same could probably be said for the other members of the Apple family. Twilight reached over to pull up the shade and let the sunlight in. The farm was peaceful and beautiful, as ever. It calmed her. Let her know that even if her world was crumbling, there was something to hold onto.

A dog’s bark—either Wilber’s or Walter’s—broke into the stillness. Both dogs ran across the field as Granny took them for a walk. The old woman kept up despite her years. Heck, from the smile on her face, Twilight figured she reveled in it.

Seeing no chance to ogle Big Mac from afar, Twilight took a quick shower and got dressed for the day. Since she didn’t need to go into work, she figured it was fine to keep it casual with a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. It was most certainly warm enough this time of summer. Just a chance to chill and prepare for—

The door rattled just as she got finished dressing. So much for relaxing, then. It was already time to face the awkwardness of her mirror from another world. She walked downstairs, being the only one in the house to answer the door. She paused with her hand on the knob, took a steeling breath, and pulled it open.

Nobody met her eye, so logic dictated she look down. She found herself toe-to-toe with a purple dog.

The dog raised a paw and waved. “Hi, Twilight!”

She slammed the door as her mind went on the fritz. It was Spike, in the prime of his life. Purple and green coat. Strong muscles from lots of exercise. A gleefully wagging tail. He wasn’t old, and tired, and worn out like he’d been in the years leading to his death.

The next moment, things clicked into place. He’d spoken. It wasn’t Spike… No, actually, it was. It just wasn’t her Spike. It was the Spike from the other world. The young dragon. He’d come to help her.

Aaaaand she’d just shut the door in his face.

“Sorry,” she said, pulling it open. “Sorry, my mind is just—sorry. I didn’t realize it was you.”

He rubbed the tip of his snout. He looked at her out of the corner of his eye. “Get a lot of talking dogs around these parts?”

“No, just… no.” She rubbed one of her wrists as shame heated her cheeks. “I wasn’t expecting you to come with the princess.”

“Oh, totally. You guys are my friends, too, you know?” He sat on his haunches, gesturing with a paw as he talked. A painful-looking scar split the fur of one shoulder. “Twilight headed to Sunset’s house to talk with Shining Armor. We can get started, though. What do you have so far? Any leads on the culprit?”

I have jack squat, Twilight thought. She stepped away from the door to let Spike in the house. He wiped his paws carefully on the rug before continuing. Twilight noticed that he carried a pair of tiny saddlebags, which held pads of paper and various writing utensils. How he thought he was going to be able to use them with dog paws was beyond her.

“Oh, wait.” Twilight reached for her phone and thumbed through her contacts. “The princess is going to find an empty house. Shining’s at work right now.”

Spike waited patiently for one moment before interjecting. “You know Twilight doesn’t have a phone, right?”

Twilight blew a breath through pursed lips. Duh. “Did she bring her journal?”


“I’ll be right back.” She ran up the stairs to Applejack’s bedroom. She pulled the book to her from where it sat on the nightstand, and a pen followed suit. She returned to the entryway to find that Spike had made his way to a couch. He was shuffling through his detached bags, trying and failing to grasp the pens with his paws. She sat next to him and opened the journal to a fresh page. “You, uh, doing okay there?”

“I’ve dealt with useless appendages before.” Spike bit down on a pencil and tried to write for a few brief moments. The lame scribble that resulted almost made Twilight laugh. He spat the pencil out and lolled his tongue. “Yuck.”

Twilight sighed and wrote her quick note to the princess. She leaned back and let out a long breath. It was gonna be a long day.

“Hey.” Spike smiled and put his paw on her chest. “Don’t worry about it. We’ll get through this. I promise.”

Twilight Sparkle froze, her entire body tensing up. She looked at his paw, then looked at his face. “What are you doing?”

“Uh…” He tilted his head, his brow furrowing. “I’m putting my ha—paw on your chest. It’s a sign of friendship in Equestria.” He gave her a half-grin. He knew she wasn’t exactly buying it. “Isn’t it—um—isn’t it a gesture of affection here?”

She gently removed his paw. “Oh yeah. Definitely affection.” She narrowed her eyes at him. “Sexual affection.”

Spike practically leaped off the couch as the color left his face. His ears blazed a bright red. “Oh-kay! Sorry about that! Let’s just pretend it never happened, right?”

Twilight laid her head in her hands. Maybe meeting the princess wouldn’t be as awkward by comparison. Maybe, maybe, maybe. “Whatever you say, Little Spike.”

“Don’t call me L—” Spike cleared his throat, brushed his paw against his snout, and set about cleaning up the mess of pens he’d knocked over. “Probably not the time,” he muttered.

Author's Note:

It's so good to be out of the hiatus. Welcome back to the world of Equestria Girls!

Stay safe. Stay smart. Stay on your toes. I wish you all good health.