• Published 19th Mar 2017
  • 4,599 Views, 131 Comments

And a Sky Full of Stars - Amber Spark

With her wife stolen away and the world’s magic fading, Sunset must hunt down the monster ripping the power from her beloved to murder the very stars themselves. Because if the stars die… her world will soon follow.

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Starlight by Day

A glow of gentle teal magic wrapped around the doors to the highest balcony of the Phoenix Tower of Canterlot Castle. A moment later, the doors yawned wide, allowing the waning sunlight to drift into the marble passage beyond. A stately alicorn stepped out onto the balcony and sighed with contentment, just basking in the warmth of her dear Sun.

Bronze-colored horseshoes clinked against the floor as Sunset Shimmer trotted to the railing. The eyes of the nobles weighed upon her, though she doubted they could see her clearly. There were always a few in the Celestial Court below, talking with attendants, delegations from other nations or chatting aimlessly about whatever dandelion fluff they believed to be important today.

Still, no matter what gossip they happened to be spreading at the present, she allowed herself to be seen. It was important that those under her care beheld the Princess of the Dawn fulfilling the ancient Pact.

“Good evening, love,” came the familiar smiling mare’s voice behind her. Sunset could always tell when she was smiling. Sometimes, she need not hear the voice to know, she just knew. After so many centuries… it was hard not to tell.

“And to you, Sparks,” Sunset replied without turning around, a little smirk on her muzzle.

As expected, she got a huff of exasperation.

“After five hundred years of a nickname, one hopes you would tire of it.” Hooves encased in silver horseshoes clinked onto the marble as the other speaker approached.

“One hopes after five hundred years bearing a nickname, you might accept it,” Sunset quipped.

“Indeed? One wonders why I continue to shoulder these burdens,” said the exasperated alicorn as she stepped up beside her and surveyed their kingdom.

“Because somepony must.” Sunset shrugged. “After all, what terrors would I unleash, had I nopony to rein me in?”

Twilight laughed. It was the tinkling of shooting stars. “The very foundations of the world should crack and tear asunder, most likely. Sun and Moon forbid that to ever come to pass, Shimmy.”

Sunset tried to not twitch. She really tried. And she really failed, much to the amusement of the lavender alicorn beside her.

“Turnabout is fair play, my dear,” Twilight said, gently nuzzling her wife. The starscape in her mane flowed about them for a moment, intertwining with the solar fire in Sunset’s.

“I cannot argue with such divine logic.” Sunset snickered, unfurling her wings in a vain effort to work out the kinks that invariably came while presiding over the High Court.

“You seem weary this evening.”

“I will admit, I am eager to put the Sun to rest tonight.”

Even as she spoke, she knew her true love could not let it rest without an explanation.

“What troubles you, Sunset?” Twilight moved to study her.

Her gentle eyes were worried. No matter how heavy Twilight’s silver crown became, she would cast it aside in an instant for Sunset.

One of innumerable reasons this mare had earned Sunset’s undying devotion.

As if she needed to earn anything, Sunset thought wryly.

Sunset rested her forehooves on the railing, her eyes shifting from the glorious city of arcane light and ancient marble below to the brilliant stars glittering in the clear azure sky. She picked out a few of her favorites and smiled up at them, knowing she was smiling at the mare beside her at the same time.

“Something stirs in the arcane winds,” Sunset murmured. “Have you not felt it?”

Twilight was quiet for a moment. That was answer enough. “It becomes more difficult for you as well?”

Sunset nodded, still looking up. “Have you seen them at noon, Twilight?”

“They’re dimmer,” the alicorn admitted. “They grow dimmer with each passing day.”

Sunset smiled faintly and wrapped a wing around her wife, holding her close as the Sun slipped further toward the horizon. “Of course you would notice. They are yours after all.”

Twilight shook her head, mane flying once more as a faint breeze rose from the immense mountain city below.

“In the last few nights… I’ve wondered. They do not answer me as they did only a few moonrises ago.”

“We are due for an Emergence,” Sunset pointed out. “It’s been some time since we’ve had one. It is why I sent both Philomena and Faerana to scout our lands.”

“Sending our phoenixes was an excellent choice. It has been a century,” Twilight murmured. “But this feels different, love. It feels… it feels as though they’ve been stolen away from me. Pulled somehow even as their light fades…”

Sunset nodded as her great horn began to glow teal. “The magic fades with it.”

They both stared into the sky as Sunset’s colors mingled with Twilight’s before fading entirely. As always, the stars that shone so brightly during the day burned even brighter in the deepening shadows of night. The sun’s hue changed slightly, as it did every evening. Only those who were attuned to the Eighth Arcane Tier would even see it, but of course, the two alicorns always could. They always would.

The Pact wasn’t all harsh duty and responsibility. Many blessings nestled within the ancient agreement they had made together once upon a time.

“The populace are starting to notice,” Twilight said, her own horn glowing with the beautiful magenta magic Sunset treasured. “There have been rumblings of discontent in the High Assemblies, from the Pegasi Provinces to the Deerkin Forests. Whitecoat Elderfall seeks an audience with us both tomorrow after dawnbreak.”

“The Whitecoat would be the first to notice. The deerkin were always among the strongest of our populace.” Sunset gently tucked her Sun down below the horizon. “We’ll speak to him together.”

Twilight nuzzled her. “You need not trouble yourself. You are tired, my dearest. I will handle the matter myself.”

Another smirk lit upon Sunset’s muzzle. “Oh? And why are you suddenly so eager, hm? Maybe somepony’s seeking another deerkin dalliance?”

Twilight blushed furiously even as her wings betrayed her. “I’ll have you know that was a one-time thing.”

“Three times,” Sunset sang.

The smirk turned into a grin as she heard Twilight’s teeth grind together.

“But you knew of it!” Twilight protested. “You even suggested it!”

Sunset finally turned her gaze from the sky—which held far more red in it than usual—and looked at her eternal love. Twilight pouted in that special way she did when she believed Sunset to be mocking her.

Which was exactly what Sunset was doing. Still, it was all for a good cause.

“I know, my dear Princess of the Dusk,” Sunset whispered, forcing her own wings to stay down. “After all, I was with you.”

Twilight almost dropped her Moon. Her magic fluttered, her cheeks flared and her wings twitched. But she kept control. Millennia of experience didn’t vanish after a few teasing words.

“You are impossible,” Twilight hissed even as Sunset laughed, her mirth surging through her mane and tail. Sunset burned like a beacon, turning the Phoenix Tower into a lighthouse for a few seconds.

The entire city would see it, even through the haze of magical light that pulsed through the city every evening. This didn’t bother her in the slightest. The populace would know was that their Princess was happy. Usually, this made them happy, too.

However, Sunset managed to exercise a tiny fraction of restraint. She refrained from teasing Twilight any further until her wife’s Moon was fully in the sky on the eastern horizon and her own Sun was safely on the other side of the world.

Once Twilight released her magic, the lavender alicorn glanced up at her beautiful sky. Her horn flared briefly as she tweaked a few star patterns. Sunset never tired of watching her work. Her craft was as beautiful as she was.

A very long time ago, Twilight labored under a streak of perfectionism nearing the obsessive. But since they made the Pact, she had revelled in new ways to express her brilliance through her nightly work on the diamonds in the sky. In this, she was the sole master. None would gainsay her, as the stars were perfect—just like Twilight.

The stars glittered eternal and forever radiant. Every day, Sunset would look to the blue sky to see them glittering down upon them… but it was only at night when she witnessed the true majesty of her wife’s craft.

Finally pleased with her sky—despite a few dim stars—Twilight turned to Sunset and smiled her tiny impish smile. Sunset knew her little jab about the previous Whitecoat had worked perfectly.

“Now… whatever shall I do with my dear Princess of the Dawn, hm?” Twilight purred. “I have it on good authority she’s off-duty now.”

“Princesses are never off-duty,” Sunset corrected, but her smile didn’t fade in the slightest. “However, they are permitted the occasional—”

Sunset paused and frowned.

“Sunset?” Twilight asked, concern marring her beautiful song-like voice. “What’s wrong?”

“Don’t you hear that?”

“I don’t hear—”

Twilight stopped. She heard it as well. Her ears flicked around even as Sunset scanned the city below for the source of the strange noise.

“It’s like… the sound of a waterfall…” Twilight murmured. “Only… different…”

The great spires of Canterlot City beneath them looked normal. Ponies, deer, buffalo and zebras wandered through the streets. The latest model of self-propelled arcane chariots flitted from skytower to skytower. A few beams of light erupted from the entertainment district as the latest unicorn show began with the fall of night. Canterlot was the capital of their nation, so the city never truly slept.

It looked like any other night.

Still… that noise… and it was growing louder. Closer.

“Sunset?” Twilight pointed a hoof at her night sky. “What—”

Sunset’s eyes darted up and her blood froze. Brilliant balls of blue and gold streaked through the night sky toward Canterlot. She counted a dozen of them, yet could not gauge size or distance… only that they appeared to be heading right for—

“I can’t… it—” Twilight mumbled and suddenly swayed, the magic from her horn flaring with a brilliant white light and then flashing out with a loud pop.

“Twilight!” Sunset cried, moving to catch her wife before she could collapse to the marble of the balcony.

This proved to be a critical mistake.

A shockwave of magical force erupted between them. It shoved Sunset’s back against the stone railing. She cried out as her ribs cracked beneath the sudden pressure as she watched Twilight sail toward the tower wall. She hit with a horrifying thud and slid bonelessly to the ground. Twilight’s eyes were shut. Blood oozed from a gash below her horn. Her tiara toppled to the cracked marble.

Sunset searched the skies for whatever had dared to do this to her beloved wife, vowing to make it pay dearly

But the ball of light surged again, and a beam of primal force ripped into the balcony. It lasted mere seconds before the ancient stonework shattered beneath the onslaught. Sunset whirled, struggling to get her bearings… fighting to get her wings unfurled and pumping. She fell almost a hundred feet before she could right herself.

Twilight’s inert body plummeted toward the city. Without thinking, she dove toward her wife, screaming her beloved’s name.

“The magic of this world dies,” hissed an eerie voice from the orb of light. “My vengeance is at hoof. I have need of her… but you are far too dangerous. You… you must die.”

In an instant, another spear of light erupted from the thing. Sunset was struck blind for a moment too long. When she had restored her vision, Twilight was gone.

Her silver regalia fell to the city far below with a faint tinkle, like falling stars.

Sunset found the central ball of light even as the other spheres surrounded her. Inside, she could faintly see the form of a lavender alicorn being held by… something.

Before she could act, it shot off over the city to the east at an impossible speed. Sunset pursued whatever beast had taken her beloved. Almost instantly, she was struck by one of the magic orbs the attacker had left behind, sending her careening madly off-course.

Sunset blinked and stared at the sphere of magic as it expelled its occupant.

The gargoyle grinned. Its eyes burned with an unholy blue light as it reached out for her and unleashed twin streams of tainted green and white balefire from its craggy, demon-like claws.

Author's Note:

Little Tinker's comment for this chapter (in relation to Whitecoat Elderfall):

Twilight prefers two horns (antlers) over one?

My response: