• Published 28th Jun 2017
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Comparing Notes - Rose Quill

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Here's what Really Happened

“Oh muffins,” Sunlight winced as his body rocked and nearly fell over.

“Do you spend much time with Derpy in your world?” Princess Twilight asked, coming up beside him to help steady him. The crystal floor, in spite of being steady in its own right, somehow managed to remain cold against the otherwise warm late-summer air. Not that much fresh air was making it’s way into this inner chamber of the castle.

It still occurred to Sunlight a minute after the fact that the pony touching him was not his mother. It wasn’t so much the looks since the lack of glasses and, more importantly, the pony form was a world of difference. It was her voice, which was just as kind and perhaps as motherly too.

“No. Why?”

The alicorn princess just giggled in return. “Here,” she changed topics. “You just need to get used to your center of balance since it’s different.”

“Hey, princess, I think I can handle this just fine,” Sunset nudged the not­-wife from her son. “Just because he’s grown up doesn’t mean I’m okay with some other mare being the one to teach him how to stand on his hooves.”

Princess Twilight, rather than getting upset or sad, gained a grin. “You haven’t been a pony for how long, again? As long as he’s been alive? You’re not any more steady than he is.”

Sunset grumbled something unintelligible.

“I’m back!” Twilight exclaimed merrily as she walked back into the portal room. She then proceeded to trip over her own hooves and crash onto her face, glasses flying off into the air.

Princess Twilight caught them in her magic. “Are you okay?”

“I thought I was doing well for a while there,” Twilight replied in a winded voice, eyes still swirling as her thick­-rimmed glasses were levitated back on by the princess.

“Hehe,” Sunlight chuckled and kept his legs in a wide stance, as he had been doing since getting here. “It makes me feel a lot better knowing this is completely normal.”

“Except for Miss I­-used­-to-­be-­a-­unicorn-­all-­the-­time over here,” Princess Twilight gave a snicker.

“Ugh. You’ve gotten a lot snarkier over the years,” Sunset groaned and then helped steady her unicorn wife. “You can’t call me that any more. Not after this,” she remarked to her spouse.

“Agreed.”

“Hey,” the princess’ voice turned flat­-toned. “You want my help or not?”

“Please!” Sunlight insisted with utmost earnestness.

“Now,” the princess finally returned to all seriousness. She pulled a lever on the complex machine she had built around the human mirror portal. There was a series of turning gears and clicks. Sunlight’s special journal he used to keep in contact with Midnight Sky was locked into place within the machinery and a magic script began pouring out of it, feeding an engine-like device that was built into the contraption.

There was suddenly a screeching noise from the engine.

“Oh dear,” Twilight gulped.

“Don’t worry. It’s supposed to do that for the first two minutes,” Sunset assured.

Princess Twilight nodded. “Sunset did most of the work on that part. She knows what she is talking about. Honestly,” she turned her gaze from her human­-turned pony double to the redheaded unicorn, “You are a wonder every time we meet, Sunset. To think you went on to become a genius inventor in your world...not even Equestrian magic seemed to hinder you overcoming the design difficulties.”

“We still have Equestrian magic in our world, after all,” Sunset reminded. “It was simple enough to power up and test inventions on my own magic.”

BANG!

A puff of pink smoke came out of the engine block situated on the right side of the portal. The mirror began to glow with a swirl of colors that shifted one way and then another. Finally, the colors coalesced into a clear and sharp image like a window. Only the other side of the window wasn’t the other side of the room they were in. Yes, it was a room inside the crystal castle but it did not belong to this castle or this princess.

It belonged to another Princess Twilight. With the view of this other reality’s room so clear, it appeared as if the other group of ponies on the other side of the portal were standing right there on the other side of the device in this room.

And there was a pony there with a dark coat and a smile growing on her face. It was a smile Sunlight began to acquire as well when he recognized her.


I couldn’t believe it was working. I even lifted my glasses up a bit to see it without the slight red tinting.

Sure, the mirror didn’t usually show as clear when we used it normally, but it was being nudged just a bit outside its normal operating parameters.

“And all we have to do once it stabilizes is use Middy’s book to switch destinations?” I dimly heard Mom ask. I only gave it half an ear as the slightly unstable form of Sunlight was pulling me in two directions. One part wanted to rush through and hug him, and the other wanted to laugh at his slightly shaky stance.

Aunt Sparky nodded, her lavender wings spreading slightly and giving a fluff before resettling. I recognized the motion from Mom. Sometimes her feathers just wouldn’t settle right. “For now, yes,” she said. “Though I am interested in comparing notes with you all to see about constructing something just for them. After all, it’s not like we have the engine your counterpart spoke of. Though the portal that exits out at CHS will remain, we’ll rig up something just for this trip.”

I felt my heart skip at that. Something that would be just ours? The prospect was more than I could hope for, and would take a lot of the steps out of the equation.

The mirror gave a brief glimmer, and the surface stabilized. Before anypony could say anything, I dashed through and threw my forelegs around Lighty’s neck, nuzzling his muzzle as he stumbled back slightly from the impact.

“Hey,” I whispered into his ear.

“Hey,” he whispered back, stumbling slightly as he tried to put a limb over me as well.

“One step at a time, kiddo,” I heard from behind me. I stepped away enough to see my mother step through, grinning happily. “It takes time to be able to walk on just three legs. The doctor here took almost a year to get it down.”

“To be fair,” Mother retorted, her glasses being pushed up with her magic. “That was a year of calendar time. We only spent a total of twenty-nine days in Equestria in that span.”

Both Mom and Lighty’s mom began to snicker at the tiny joke. I shook my head. “This is going to take getting used to,” I said, turning and looking at the two Sunsets, my Mother and her counterpart, and two Princess Twilights.

“Tell me about it,” both Princess Twilight’s said at the same time, then burst out giggling.

Mother looked around as I turned to press my barrel against my love’s side, feeling his warmth through my coat.

“This is interesting,” she said, her small-framed glasses sparkling as she looked around. “So many similarities, yet differences as well. This is a physicists dream!”

“I’m seeing a lot of interesting things as well,” Princess Twilight said. “For example, though my Sunset and I have had only minor interactions through the years - completely understandable, considering the circumstances and your choices - the other Sunset apparently had a much larger role in her Equestria.” She smiled and gave her wings a fluff. “How do they feel?”

Mom rolled her eyes. “Twenty some years, now,” she sighed. “Sometimes I’m glad I’m not a full-time princess.”

Aunt Sparky cleared her throat slightly. “While this is all incredibly fascinating,” she said, giving me a wink. “How about the filly showing the colt the castle and working on his mobility while we sit down and see about getting something more long term set up?”

Mother levitated a thick-leather tome from her saddlebag and a pen, similar motions being done by the assembled Twilights, quills and scrolls flowing with raspberry auras of magic.

Looking at Sunlight, I tossed my head towards the door.

“Come on,” I said. “If time is lining up, then we should be just in time to see Luna raise the moon, and that’s a sight to see.”


The halls were big. Sunlight hadn’t seen the castle outside of the one room he had entered via the portal. His girlfriend was rectifying that now. Correction: marefriend. The topic was inevitable as she led him down the long cold empty hallways.

“So I would call you my marefriend instead of my girlfriend here in Equestria?” he said, part curious and part confused.

“Yes, that’s the common term anyways,” Midnight cheerfully responded while leading him to a stairwell leading up. She knew this place like the back of her hoof.

“But the term ‘girl’ is still used in reference to female ponies?”

“At times, yup!”

Lighty stifled a chuckle and it came out as a held back sneeze, which made his companion giggle in return. “I know, I know. Now you up for this?”

The near-white yellow stallion looked at the first step and then his hooves. Step. Hooves. “Nope.”

“Okay. Normally I’d help you learn but, since we’re on a timetable, I won’t beat around the bush. Getting up stairs is a lot more advanced so we’ll have to work on that later. For now...”

“Ye-whoa!” Sunlight exclaimed upon suddenly levitating off the ground.

“I’ll just carry you,” Midnight laughed and trotted up the stairs with him in tow.

The young stallion fidgeted as he saw the steps fly by below him, the enclosed spiraling stairwell moving around him while he remained in place – from his perspective. “Uh,” he looked nervously below. “Don’t drop me.”

“I never drop anything. Well,” she corrected, “not the good stuff anyways. I’d prefer watching the moonrise with my coltfriend intact.”

“Why not teleport us?”

“I wanted you to see at least some of the castle, scaredy cat,” Midnight looked back at him with her tongue out in jest.

The stairs had been lit well enough by slits in the wall every so often, which he assumed face the outside by the way light was filtering in. It was perhaps a bit faint, though. Of course. Sundown. The autumn-like glow of the twilight hour bathed him in full when they reached the end of the stairs.

Midnight Sky trot out of the roof’s stairwell entry with her hovering stallion being gently placed back onto his hooves. The best view was up here but before moving to the recliners that faced the roof edge and sun, she came up beside Sunlight. “Here,” she led one of his steps and another. “Back into the swing of things.”

“Hehe,” Lighty gave a weak laugh. “Sorry to be such a burden.”

“Oh, pfft,” Middy blurted it off. “It’s natural to have trouble like this going back and forth, especially if you’ve never even been in this form before. Besides, I’m still thinking of all the fun I’m going to have with this. My amazing coltfriend helpless in my hooves. I could do anything I want to you...”

“Like you don’t do that when we’re both human,” he countered with a blush.

“Come on,” she shook her head with a smile, leading him onto one of the reclining outdoor chairs Aunt Sparky kept on the roof for various get-togethers. Or...wait...no, this was Sunlight’s Equestria. So this was the other Princess Sparkle’s castle and not Aunt Sparky’s. Well, she gained a grin as she considered the humor of it. She was happy to know some ponies did the same things regardless of the alternate universe they were from.

Sunlight returned the nuzzle she gave him when she settled into the chair next to his. As much as he would love to get comfy in the same chair with her, he heard the creak when she helped him on. These were clearly not designed for the weight of two ponies or more.

“I know what you’re thinking,” he smirked, just noticing the sun start to lower faster by Celestia’s magic.

“What?” she cocked a brow.

“You were thinking how funny it is that Pinkie Pie has the same love of used patio furniture no matter which dimensional Pinkie Pie it is.”

Midnight laughed out loud. “And her color preferences are just as ridiculous!”

“Hey, you can’t be picky at used patio furniture sales,” Sunlight shrugged. “I think it’s safe to make the assumption even though I haven’t met this world’s Pinkie yet. I know my human one well enough to recognize the MO.”

“Here it is!” Middy returned their attention to the event in the sky.

Their vertical position gave them an incredible and unimpeded view of Equestria stretched out towards Canterlot. The sun’s last hues sank below the horizon and a smaller but still large orb floated up to replace it. It did not come alone either.

Sunlight’s mouth slowly opened in awe as gentle and then progressively deeper hues of blue and purple came up in the sky like the tendrils of an aurora. The stars stretched out from the horizon, swirling and criss-crossing into place until they settled all at once in one clear and sparkling pattern. Once the moon was at a comfortably high position in the sky, it began glowing brighter until Sunlight could see well enough around him to see Midnight.

There was a sparkling of something else in the sky, like the aura of an immense magic matching the hue of the soothing nightscape. Likely Luna’s magic if Sunlight recalled properly. Cloud cover was present but sparse, allowing him to appreciate most of the sky above.

“Wow,” was all he could whisper at the sight.


I watched the nighttime sky unfurl, feeling a strange sense of peace. I had always felt calm in Equestria, and I felt even better now that we had found a way to be together again.

I heard a bit of shifting and glanced at Light. He was trying to shift onto his side but wasn’t sure how to go about it. I had to hide my smile, but I forgot that our hearing was sharper as ponies and he heard my stifled giggle.

“This isn’t funny!” he complained. “It’s hard to figure out how to balance myself with this new body!”

I shook my head and climbed up onto my hooves. “Look,” I said, levitating him onto his hooves. “You’re overthinking it. You can feel your balance just like you always could. Once you figure out how to stand, you can feel where the weight shifts when you move.” I dipped down into a crouch, then stretched out like a cat and stuck my tongue out at him. “Just give it a twirl.”

He took a few wobbly steps, then tried crouching down.

I love him, I really do, but I couldn’t help but laugh when his hind legs skidded out from under him.

***

I looked at the stack of books that the Princess Twilight’s had stacked on the table in front of us and nudged my glasses back up my face. “Are you sure we need all of these?” I asked, lifting my leather-bound notebook. “After all, we made the kid’s journals with just the notes in here.”

Sunset leaned over and nudged me with her wing. “Let them have this, Sunshine,” she whispered. “They just got access to a previously unknown section of the royal library. You should have seen Sparky when Celestia opened up the doors to the fully restricted section.”

I smiled as I thought on the prospect of finding an entire new wing of knowledge previously unread and felt a tiny flutter of excitement in my heart. “I can understand, I suppose.”

I saw my counterpart come and sit down. Once again, differences were obvious between her and the princess. Her colors were lighter and her cutie mark was only the central star as opposed to the one surrounded by the five smaller ones both Princesses had. Her gait was a little unsteady, but no worse than mine had been the first time I had crossed over so many years ago. The thought of those days made me smile and lean into my wife.

Nostalgic already? came the expected tease.

Shush and let me enjoy before the Princessess launch into their monologues, I teased back.


“It would be best not to design a necessary third jump,” Twilight noted, moving her hoof across the blueprint they came up with on the large map table. She was getting more comfortable with the look, but it was far from normal to see a hoof in place of her hand.

“Agreed,” Sunshine nodded. “But that does cause some issue with imbuing these objects with portal magic.”

“Portals can’t be taken through portals,” Sunny leaned back in what was normally Fluttershy’s crystal throne. “Not unless you want to risk creating a bridge to some netherworld and spewing out a bunch of who-knows-what.”

“Like sirens?” the Sunset, mother of Sunlight, cocked a humorous grin with the remark.

“Sometimes I’m grateful our dimensions have certain differences,” Sunny frowned.

Princess Twilight moved around the edge of the table to her right to reach Sunshine. When her hoof traced over the mare’s side, Sunshine stepped away on instinct.

The Equestrian alicorn didn’t apologize, though. Instead, she stepped forward towards Sunshine again. “It’s incredible how you two are similar and yet different not only from me but to each other as well. I’m going to need samp-”

“Focus, princess,” Sunset tutted. “We need to channel the magic if these alternate portals are ever going to work.”

With a flash of magic, the sleek princess teleported next to Twilight Shimmer. “Yeah, uh-huh,” she verbally shrugged it off. Her horn lit with a thrumming purple hue, creating a miniature vortex above the map table. Magical lines linked the vortex to the master mirror portal that had been moved here and the smaller items that were intended for new portal capability. Meanwhile, she got a closer inspection of her other targeted Twilight.

“Ready?” Sunset turned to her alternate copy across the table.

The other orange mare was in a moment of surprise due to the nonchalant way this princess was invoking such magic. This Sunset was, after all, familiar with the princess from her dimension rather than this one and the two had obvious differences when it came to experiences, magical abilities, and even body type.

Over the course of her life, the Princess Twilight from her dimension had gained much strength through many hardships. This princess had her own stories, her own hardships, and her own strengths. That and a tall slender body more reflective of Cadance than a regular unicorn with wings.

“Ready,” Midnight’s Sunset replied. Her horn lit with magic and was soon joined by others to begin the careful process.


It was an interesting sensation, upon reflection. I could feel a slight harmonic resonance from my counterpart, our teal magic slowly pulsing in sync. Sunshine, still keeping an eye on the Princess from the other dimension, added her magic to the flow, decades of practice both in our Equestria and our Dreamscape letting it be almost instinctual. I saw the raspberry magic from our Princess Twilight join the two streams of teal and the azure of my wife’s.

Didn’t we just go through this? I heard in my mind, guarded humor in my wife’s mental voice.

Well, it had been a few months since we made the journals, I returned.

Not that, she replied. Another Twilight wanting samples of us for research.

I grinned. Did we ever get copies of the results?

They’re still pending, I heard another voice say. I easily recognized my own counterpart’s voice. I look at her across the table as she reached over and prodded her wife’s shoulder, prompting her to add her own magic to the mix, the raspberry slightly darker than the princesses. I glanced up at the slowly swirling vortex, seeing six streams of magic slowly mix to create something just off blue, some pink swirling through.

“I think it’s stable for right now,” the princess from my reality said, her aura surrounding a mirror that we had brought with us. The other Princess did likewise, the two rising and coming to rest back to back with each other in the multi-hued vortex.

The plan was touchy, as an active portal couldn’t be passed through another active portal. So, instead, we had planned to lay the spells in latently so the coordinates of the spatial realities would be imprinted and then awaken the latent magic once back home. The theory was sound, but theory and reality had often proved to be two different things.

Only a test would show if it worked or not, and we had already made the kids wait four months. I imagined being separated from Sunshine for four months and set my jaw.

“Ok,” I heard a Twilight say gently. “Now slowly, gently….”

I felt a sudden weight on my mana, wings flaring out instinctively for balance. I saw Sunshine’s wings blink into existence, still slightly transparent. The Twilight and Sunset across from us also shifted, feeling the strain as the Princesses withdrew their magic from the spell, counting on our resonance harmonics to imbue the mirrors.

The mirrors slowly drifted over to the portal mirror we were modeling them on, trailing a strand of the vortex with them. The original suddenly flared with argent light, bathing the room in silver tones.

I closed my eyes as I focused on the spell, feeling the draw grow stronger. We had to steep the mirrors in so much magic that we were practically guaranteed an overnight stay here. I knew that I was going to be exhausted, Sunshine as well. The Princesses might be ok, being the embodiment of Magic and all, but I wasn’t sure how my counterpart would come out, being as out of practice with Equestrian magic as she was, let alone her wife.

“Now!” I heard a Princesses shout, the Royal Voice thrumming through my being.

I blasted a second beam towards the original portal, seeing it bounce of and strike the new mirrors. Sunlight’s parents followed suit, my counterpart’s magic beam brighter than her wife’s, the colors of hers dimming with the split attention. Azure light joined our and all three mirrors began to glow silver.

I felt my legs begin to quake and looked up, squinting into the silver brightness where the two mirrors hung in twin raspberry glows.

“Anytime now, Sparky!” I growled.

“Just a few more seconds!” I heard, though I couldn’t tell which one had responded.

The darker raspberry beam began to flicker and flare, Twilight Shimmer’s endurance being the first to start to flag. Her determination was fierce, but you could only force your mana so far. I saw a flicker of lavender light blink into being on her neck, a small round gemstone winking into existence. A few moments later I saw a red one flare up around my counterparts. I recognized the source, though the ones Sunshine and I had no longer existed as the same simple gems they had once been. They were bonded with the Elements of Harmony from my world and as such tended to resemble our cutie marks instead. We weren’t wearing them, as only extreme need required them.

But I felt the extra magic seeping through, and I felt their presence in my mind began to thrum closer and closer in sync, becoming a single heartbeat to my mantic senses. I reached out with my wing and slid it through the shadowy magic that made up my wife’s wings, feeling her shift towards me, our bond linking us so closely that we had sometimes been more one person than two. Our love for each other and for our daughter resonated against the love that our counterparts felt for them and their son.

“Ok,” the Princess shouted out. “You can ease off now!”

I gently backed off on my magic, keeping a mental eye on the levels of the other three mares, making sure that it remained equal. Then, once the only magic remaining was the raspberry of the lavender Alicorns, I sat down, feeling a little drained. I saw similar expressions of fatigue on all assembled in various levels, though the Princesses seemed little the less for wear. They sat both mirrors down on the sides that corresponded to the realm of origination.

“Well,” my Princess Twilight said, beaming. “That was exciting! It’ll take a few hours for the magic to cure, so what do you all say to dinner?”

“Twilight,” the other Princess piped up, her own excitement barely held back. “You remember that we agreed to keep this castle under quarantine until the experiments were done.”

“Yes,” she said. “So we wouldn’t have a panic in Ponyville. But there’s only one Starlight here, and there’s nothing saying we can’t order in.”

She looked at the other Sunset, a smile forming.

“When was the last time you had a hayburger?


“Hayburgers are so,” Sunset Shimmer sniffled, “good…”

Her wife, Twilight Shimmer, rubbed her back to help sooth the mare who was practically crying in joy. Although the crystal castle around them looked cold to the touch, that just gave her all the more reason to be comforting. It was not actually that cold, thankfully. The dining room was at a comfortable temperature – whatever that happened to be for her coat-covered pony form.

Midnight’s Sunset, on the other hoof, almost laughed. It was funny to see some version of her brought to tears over a simple hayburger.

“Is she going to be alright?” Sunshine asked her wife out of compassion for the mare that looked so much like her.

“Probably just the nostalgia,” Non-Crying Sunset shrugged in reply. “She’ll be just fine. Now eat up. We wouldn’t want our food to get cold just because my other self is having a moment.”

Meanwhile Twilight Shimmer eyed her own food with concern. What would happen if she ate it? Thoughts of pony digestive differences rolled through her scientific mind. All the while, Princess Twilight furiously wrote down notes.

“Oh, why isn’t Spike back yet?” the princess worried. “The quill shop isn’t that far away.”

“Probably using the errand as an excuse to get away for a bit,” Other Sunset remarked after swallowing a bite of her meal.

“I’m going to get such a talk from Pinkie Pie if she sees this,” Princess Twilight set her notes down for just a moment to get a quick bite in.

“Too many Twilights?” Sunshine made a humorous guess.

“It’s not that bad,” Sunset half giggled and half sniffled as she came out of the emotional experience. “Now if we had another Twilight then maybe that would be too much. Kind of makes me wonder how many of me got with her.”

Sunlight’s mother gave a “pfft.”

“So, uhhh,” Sunlight looked back over to his marefriend where they both were on the far side of the long dinner table. “We get the kids corner, huh?”


“Trust me,” I said as I glanced at Sunlight. “It’s safer this way. Mother may be somewhat meticulous about eating, but Aunt Sparky can get a little messy when it comes to junk food.”

“I heard that,” my Equestrian aunt said, lifting a napkin to wipe away some of the ketchup on her muzzle. “And I don’t always eat messily.”

“No offense, Sparky,” my mom said, her wings twitching in amusement. “But you aren’t always the most dignified when eating on your own.”

We all laughed as the usually loquacious princess snorted indignantly around a mouthful of hayfries.

I lifted my burger and saw Lighty trying to bring his plate closer with his hooves. “Problems?” I asked quietly.

“I, uh,” he stammered. “I haven’t quite figured out how to use my horn yet.”

I smiled. “Well, that will give us something to do between now and the time we leave.” His burger lifted in my magenta aura.

He blushed and leaned over to nuzzle me. “Thanks,” he whispered into my ear.

I grinned, and his eyes widened as he recognized the impish look. He went to sit up, but he wasn’t fast enough to avoid me putting a little glob of ketchup on the end of his muzzle.

***

I saw my eldest play out mischief at the lad and smiled internally. She was really my daughter. I looked back at my counterpart and saw her smiling contentment as she ate the first hayburger and fries in who knows how long. I popped a fry into my mouth and reached out with a wing and grazed Sunshine’s back. She glanced at me, a little fatigue in her eyes but she was smiling.

“I wonder if the house is still here,” she mused out loud before drinking from her glass.

“Probably,” I said. “I don’t think things are too different between the two Equestrias.”

“What’s this about a house?” Twilight Shimmer asked, timidly nibbling on a fry.

“We own a house in Canterlot,” I said. “It was my parent’s home and after Mom passed, my sisters and I agreed to keep the house. Sunshine and I stay there when we visit.”

I saw my counterpart’s gaze go distant for a moment, her food hovering in her aura as she looked down for a moment.

“What’s wrong?” her wife asked, causing all eyes to go to her. Even the Princess still scribbling notes paused to look.

“I barely remember the house I lived in before I became Celestia’s student,” she said. “It’s not exactly a place of fond memories. But I wonder if I should go see my parents and see if they’ve ever changed.”

“You don’t have to,” Sunshine said. “I’m sure that if they had cared enough they would have contacted Princess Celestia to ask if you were ok.”

Sunlight’s mother glanced away, her cheeks coloring. “I’m not sure she would have helped,” she whispered. “I wasn’t exactly the best student and my parting was… less than pleasant.”

I was about to speak when I felt a small surge of magical energy just before a golden flash flared over the table and a scroll appeared, dropping down and rocking slightly before the glow faded.

“Well,” I said. “That wasn’t something I was expecting on this side.”


Sunset frowned at the letter as she read it. It had been passed to her after the two princess Twilights had read it first as it had been addressed to one of them and perhaps the other by implication. She hadn’t finished reading the passed on note before her princess Twilight had Spike send off a reply.

“You didn’t,” Sunset looked up to the princess, pausing her reading.

“Of course not,” Princess Twilight quickly assured. “I would never assume. I just don’t want her to worry so I told her not to send guards or anything.”

Midnight’s Sunset took the opportunity to breach the subject. “That reminds me, you’ve never spoken to the Celestia of this Equestria, have you?”

“Not directly,” the princess was swift to answer first but then winced and looked to Sunset. “Sorry.”

“No, it’s okay,” Sunset waved it off. “It’s true that I still haven’t. Though she knows about what happened those years ago at CHS and also about the times we came back here for research on cross-world genetics. I just never felt the need to go to her face-to-face. I became a better person – pony – and moved on with my life. That was enough for me.”

Midnight’s Sunset couldn’t help but press the matter. “But you should have some closure. I can tell you ri-”

That got a quick dismissal from the orange unicorn. “No,” she said firmly but calmly. “Our worlds do have differences. In yours, that may be something you feel you need. But in mine...”

“We are perfectly okay the way we are,” Twilight Shimmer finished for her wife. “Besides, we’re in Ponyville right now. Celestia should be in Canterlot if what I’ve been told is true. She’ll be assured enough with Princess Twilight’s repl-”

BAM!

A shower of bright yellow almost-white sparkles erupted in almost as flashy a manner as Trixie’s fireworks. Only the big reveal was not some showpony but the Princess of the Sun herself. Her mane and tail flowed faster than usual, an energetic glint in her eye.

“Twilight! What’s going on? I can tell when you are omitting...infor-” the tall white princess’s words sputtered and stopped as she realized the full assembly of ponies in the room.

“Twilight. And Twilight. And Twilight...and Twilight?” Celestia’s eyes nearly turned to spirals of confusion and she swooned in place. “Which…?”

“I’m Twilight,” the purple alicorn closest to Celestia answered almost in a shy tone. She then motioned to the others in order. “This is myself from a different dimension and that is her version from her human world. This is Twilight Shimmer from the human world of our dimension.”

“This is why you shouldn’t cross dimensions,” Spike deadpanned.

Celestia’s gaze could not be long torn from the two Sunset’s though.

“I’ll excuse myself,” Midnight’s Sunset stated and got away from the table, exiting the room with her wife trying to decide whether to follow or stay.

Before Celestia could respond to it, Sunlight’s Sunset stood up from her chair and announced herself. “I’m the Sunset from your reality. The one you mentored.”

There was no apology in her tone or meekness in her voice. It was an even declaration to clarify matters. Immediately, Sunset knew something was different. The Celestia that she once knew was more strict. More prone to hard gazes even to the point of intimidation. This alicorn was nothing like that though. Her face was the same but her expression was not.

It was soft. Almost tearful.

“It’s really you,” Celestia’s voice almost cracked, her emotions bubbling out upon the weight of the moment.

“It is,” Sunset almost sighed but held back. This was still not something she wished to interrupt an otherwise excellent meal with. But what the elder alicorn did was not what she expected.

Celestia rushed forward and enveloped the mare, tears fully breaking loose.

Twilight Shimmer just remained seated, knowing she should remain an observer.

“Twilight told me everything,” Celestia sobbed. “I’m so glad you’re okay.”

It took a minute but eventually Sunset returned the embrace loosely. When the Princess of the Sun leaned away, Sunset made to comment with a voice still more steady then Celestia’s. “Seems we’ve both changed, huh?”

A hint of a giggle came through the teary voice of the tall alicorn. “Yes, we have.”

Twilight Shimmer gained a minute smile, recalling Sunset’s own recollection of the white mare being less than flowery. Of course, those recollections hadn’t shone a bright picture of Sunset either but these two were very different than they had been. She made a mental note to talk to her wife about it later. For the moment, she prepared herself to get back to handling her own identity along with her three other versions.


I paused on the other side of the door, listening to the reunion and remembering the one I had with my own Celestia. I couldn’t help the small smile from spreading across my face.

Somepony is proud of themselves, Sunshine ribbed, finally joining me.

I shook my head and reached out to pull her in close. “We had four Twilights and two of me - one an alicorn - casting powerful magic here. The court mages at least would have sensed the mantic draw, and I was sure that if she felt it she’d almost certainly recognize the magic.”

My wife tilted her head at me and gave me her professor’s look. “You planned this, didn’t you?”

I sighed. “Why do you think I’m always being sneaky?”

“Shall I answer chronologically,” she deadpanned. “Or alphabetically?”

Before I could respond to her snark, I heard the other Sunset call me into the room. With a curious expression, I walked back in to see Celestia staring at me.

“So I wasn’t mistaken,” she said. “Those were wings I saw.”

I fluffed them in a nervous twitch. I always felt a little uncomfortable when Celestia would draw attention to them. I may have accepted them, even come to embrace them and the difficulties they brought, but sometimes you can’t help but feel that your old mentor is still grading you.

“How long have you had them?” she asked softly.

“Almost twenty-three years,” I whispered. “It wasn’t a particularly pleasant span of time for my side of the fabric of space and time.”

She gazed into my eyes and nodded. “So,” she said, sitting down. “What has brought about this meeting of the minds?”

“Well,” Middy spoke up from the corner of the table. Somehow in the excitement we had forgotten they were present. “That would be our fault, I’m afraid.”

Celestia looked them over for a moment, and nodded a sad smile.

“Ah,” she sighed. “I see. Cross-dimensional love is never easy.” She glanced around for a moment. “Using mirrors as the matrix?”

My counterpart nodded. “How did you know?”

The tall Alicorn sat and smiled.

“The silver lining of mirrored glass is easy to encase spells in,” she elaborated. “If you think back to your time in my tutelage, how many artifacts did I teach you about that were silver or had silver in them?”

I nodded almost in time with my counterpart. It seemed obvious in retrospect. I saw Sunshine’s ears perk up and her posture straighten. Even after twenty-plus years, she was still excited learning anything about magic, despite having crafted a few spells of her own just after Middy had been born. She was a natural scholar.

“So,” the Solar Princess began, looking to the young couple. “Which set do you belong to?”

“The filly is mine,” I said. “Her name is Midnight.”

My daughter dipped down in a show of respect. “Princess,” she said neutrally.

“I see she has some court training,” the counterpart of my mentor said. “Your doing, I assume?”

“More like theirs,” I said, pointing at my wife and then my Twilight. “But we’re over to Equestria enough as it is that it made sense.”

“Even with her technically being a princess by virtue of being your daughter?”

“I’m right here, you know,” Middy muttered.

“Midnight,” Sunshine said warningly, causing our daughter to duck her head quickly.

Celestia then turned to the colt.


“And you are the son of two prodigies,” Celestia remarked.

Sunlight’s mouth moved but he didn’t know how to respond so it eventually closed.

“Neither of your mothers may be alicorns but they certainly have the characters befitting princesses,” the elder alicorn continued. “Accomplishing all of this and having you in the first place was not easy I’m sure. I may not know as much of the world beyond the mirror as your mothers but I can at least tell that living there, finding love, and raising a child would not be easy.”

“We may have used magic on occasion,” Twilight Shimmer admitted.

“Like catching our little boy when he decided that running a marathon was his goal as a five year old,” Sunset giggled.

The mention of that memory made Sunlight blush and give a groan of “come on, ma.”

“To think two of my top proteges would not only fall in love but have children together. In more than one dimension no less!” Celestia’s tone had practically become humorous. She pranced in place with a bout of giddiness.

“I’m not-” Twilight Shimmer began.

“Let her have a moment,” her wife put a hoof to her shoulder and chuckled.

“This Princess Celestia seems a little more...” Midnight’s Sunset whispered to her other self.

Having heard stories before from the winged copy of herself, Sunset had a feeling she knew what the mare was thinking. “It’s a different Equestria for sure,” she whispered back.

“But I shouldn’t hold you up,” the white alicorn began to compose herself again. “I gather you have much to deal with right now with the creation of these new portal links. It would be best if I left you to it. However, Sunset – my Sunset Shimmer – please do see me once matters here are settled. I would like to spend some time with you if at all possible.”

Seeing her wife’s uncertainty, Twilight Shimmer responded instead. “Of course, Princess. We will both consider a time after this is over.”

“Twilight,” Celestia turned to the Princess Twilight of her own dimension. “A word with you in private?”

The purple alicorn gave a characteristic “eheheh” and followed her former mentor out of the castle chamber.

After they had left, Midnight remarked to her coltfriend. “You don’t have to be so nervous around her.”

“I wasn’t...I mean, maybe a little. But what am I supposed to even say to that?” Sunlight fidgeted.


“Well, sometimes there isn’t anything to say,” I said to the colt. “You may not know this now, but sometimes the better course is to stay quiet. Makes you seem wiser.”

My daughter screwed up her face in confusion.

“What does that even mean?” She asked.

I just gave a small upturn of my mouth and a slightly raised eyebrow.

“Ugh!” She exclaimed, turning and adjusting her glasses before settling and leaning into Sunlight. “I guess I walked into that one.”

I glanced at my counterpart, seeing her still staring at the floor. She was sliding a hoof back and forth. I went over and slipped a wing over her shoulder.

“Wanna talk about it?” I asked softly.

She shook her head. “Not sure you’d understand it,” she said in a quiet little voice. “I’m not even sure I understand it.”

I raised an eyebrow. I knew myself and I had also learned how to listen. She hadn’t finished her statement just yet. I saw her wife come over and sit next to her, and I slipped back a half pace. A hesitant breath was taken.

“We don’t have to see her later if you don’t want to,” the mare spoke. “I’m sure she’ll understand.”

The other Sunset looked up, a small smile forming. “No, we don’t have to,” she said. “But I want to. Just for a little while.”

That is so sweet, I heard my wife say through our bond. We should invite them over sometime. Think of the things we could still learn by pooling our knowledge! And we could even see about -

I silenced her with a gentle whap from a wing.

You’re killing the mood, honey.

She swatted me back with one of her own wings, the appendage appearing and vanishing like a puff of smoke.

Spoilsport, Sunshine remarked with a flicker of her tongue in my direction before ambling over to the kids.

“So how about we see about getting you situated, hmm?”

Middy glanced at Sunlight before grinning impishly.

I feel sorry for the lad sometimes. She’s so much my daughter.


“Situated?” Sunlight echoed nervously. If he had learned anything about Midnight Sky so far…

And there it was. A sparkling gleam in her eyes that ran a shiver up his spine.

“Come on!” Middy cheered. “You don’t even know how to get into a bed, I bet. I’ll show you!”

The potential implications of that remark did not pass by the young stallion. However, the idea brought to mind the fact that he was in a pony form. Remembering his intimate moments with Midnight so far was a clash against his present lack of human sensation. That, of course, led to him wondering what it was even like to kiss as ponies nevermind anything else!

All this thinking left him standing in place. Not that it mattered since he was being pulled around once more in Middy’s magical aura.

He was pulled out the door, down one hall, then another. Up some stairs. Down some stairs…

“Okay, now you’re just messing with me,” Sunlight grinned as he noted their travel.

“Am I?” Middy giggled in return. “This is it, by the way,” she motioned to the door in front of them.

After she set him down onto his own hooves again and he took a second to get his grounding, he nudged the door open with a forehoof. Not having hands was weird for sure but he was starting to like how solid his hooves were. Luckily, the doors were equipped with stoppers not too different from the human world. So the unintended force he put into the push didn’t bang the door on the wall. Well, loudly anyways.

“Two beds,” he observed more than asked as he stepped in.

“Your Princess Twilight has a lot of rooms available so I thought we could just have one where we could share,” Midnight said as she came up behind him and they both tested the mattresses. “I’d even consider maybe sharing a bed-”

Sunlight smiled suggestively.

“-but not until I know if you kick your hooves while you sleep,” she smirked.

“Pfft,” Lighty rolled his eyes. “Fair enough. I don’t move much as a human, though...as far as I know.”

“Let’s see,” Midnight tapped her chin as she thought of other things. “What else to get you settled in…?”

“Bathroom?” Sunlight blushed.

“Oh,” Midnight facehoofed. “Yeah.”

***

“So how about it?” Twilight Shimmer asked her wife once they had both finished discussing the portal magic.

They were relaxing against a large princess-sized mattress together. The sheets were unusually dark in color and had designs that seemed foreign even to a Sunset long parted from this world. The furnishings were also unusual in the same manner, though still pulled off a comfortable mood. It was one of the best furnished rooms at the moment, which was why Princess Twilight had insisted they rest here. Other rooms were furnished well enough but most only had separate beds or ones sized for a single pony.

“You mean, who you think this belongs to?” Sunset asked in return. “No clue. Could be anypony. Even one of Twilight’s close friends in the event one of them has vastly different tastes than their human counterparts. Probably nopony I’ve ever known, though. If these designs are from Equestria then it’d have to be on or near a border-”

“While exploring the possibilities of the lover of my Equestrian self is extremely fascinating, that’s not actually what I meant,” Twilight giggled and booped her wife on the nose playfully. “I meant having a longer talk with Celestia.”

“Oh...”

“Yeah,” Twilight laid on her side in expectation.

“Let’s not prolong our stay too long,” Sunset decided. “We can plan a proper trip and even have a country tour. I don’t like this whole getting-pulled-one-way-and-then-another kind of thing.”

“Scheduling is better. Agreed,” Twilight nodded. “We should tell the princess then.”

“Not immediately,” Sunset used her magic to pull her wife back onto the bed when she attempted to leave. It was easier to do since she didn’t have to power up first as Daydream. “We were shown here for a chance to think, rest, and discuss in private. And there’s something I’ve been wanting to do all day.”

“What’s that?”

Sunset gave her spouse the answer in the form of a kiss.

It did not break for some time.


When I woke the next morning, the air was strange. It felt, charged, almost alive.

I rolled out of bed and shook my messy mane out of my face as my glasses came over to rest against my face. I immediately rushed over to the other bed and shook Lighty awake.

“Wake up, sleepyhead!” I exclaimed. “You have to see this!”

“It’s not even daylight yet,” he mumbled, trying to pull the blanket back over his head. I yanked it away and tilted the bed up, giggling as he slid down.

“I promise, you won’t regret it,” I said as he tried to untangle himself from the bedclothes. By the time we had actually gone to bed last night, following a bit of storytelling from both our parents and a few stern glances about behaving ourselves, Sunlight seemed to have gotten a grip on his new body. I was proud of him, really was.

But the sight was still funny as he tried to move bipedally.

“Well, at least it’s more familiar, now,” he said as he finally got settled and moving. I lead him to the balcony not far from the room we had shared and pointed at the sky above the moon slowly dipping toward the horizon.

“A moonset?” he asked quizzically.

“Hush,” I said, staring at the point I had indicated. “There. Watch there.”

And just as the moon touched the horizon, a swath of shimmering light erupted across the sky, wavering and so beautiful I didn’t feel the least bit self conscious about leaning against the stallion to my left.

“It’s gorgeous,” he breathed. “It’s not like a regular Aurora.”

I shook my head. “It only happens every couple of months, signaling the change of seasons. Luna likes order and making sure all the various portions of Equestria start winter at the same time is a bit soothing to her.” I stared at the colors as they danced. “And I always watch them when I’m here. I can feel the magic in them.”

“You’re really connected to the place, aren’t you?” The nuzzle was a little awkward, but comforting.

I nodded. “I don’t know how to put it into words, but something about this world feels right to me. Not even Rory connects so deeply. Maybe it’s because my folks spent so much more time here when they were carrying me, or destiny, or something. I don’t know. But I think I’m meant to be here. At least part of my time.”

I felt his horn touch mine, and peace and love flowed through, something we had done a few times back on the island a few months ago. Something Rory and I had experienced innumerable times in our lives.

I sighed. “You don’t know how happy I am to have you,” I whispered.

“I have an idea,” he grinned. He shifted a little. “So, I’m not completely as familiar on this magic thing as you are. But if this works, we could see each other whenever we want, right?”

I nodded. “More or less. There might be some minor requirement,” I snuggled up against him. “But I’m sure it won’t be massive like only every thirty moons or so.”

“Well, then in that case,” he said contemplatively. “We might want to start shopping for Christmas gifts for each other.”

I giggled.

“Yeah, I suppose so.”

***

“So that’s it?” I asked, wings rustling.

“That’s it,” Princess Twilight answered.

“But we had to finagle a lot to get our little visitations together,” I continued. “Coordinate times, make sure things were in place, and so on. They can just nip through whenever?”

“Not quite whenever,” the other princess said. “They will only be able to slip through in their perspective times. Your daughter at night, and your son in the daytime.” She nodded to each of us in time. “But outside of that, practically any time. And our difficulties are because we use a quite jury-rigged magic amplification and transference generator on the main mirrors.”


“Well that was quite the experience wasn’t it?” Sunshine asked her darker eggplant-colored counterpart.

“Being a pony?” Twilight Shimmer raised a brow beside her. A small bag floated in her grasp beside her. She was no stranger to magic but actually being a unicorn was a little different than her Midnight Sparkle form, so she kept to a single mostly light item. “I’m sure you’re quite used to it. Thank you, by the way.”

“For what?”

“My Sunny may have once been a proud protege here, but she’s...a bit out of practice with her horn. The assistance was well appreciated,” Twilight Shimmer blushed.

Sunshine just gave a minute shake of her head, though. “It was nothing. Besides, the way in which you obtained control and mastery over your Midnight form is very impressive. That may be on the other side of the mirror, but your magic is very strong. Just in a different way. I’m sure that with time and practice you could even wield that form here in Equestria as a pony.”

“What’s going on, ladies?” a familiar voice called to them from the doorway.

Sunset Shimmer, plain unicorn and wife to Twilight Shimmer, stood there on with her forehooves crossed in a smug pose that would have made Rainbow Dash proud. She leaned against the frame on her rear hooves, mimicking somewhat how her human version might stand there. Perhaps it was the warm air or the golden lighting of the beautiful Equestria day filtering through the half-curtained castle windows, but Twilight blushed at the sight.

So much was similar: the color of her hair, the shine in her teal eyes, the assurance in her stance. Perhaps it was spending time in this alternate world in pony form that took Twilight out of her routine-dulled senses. Their marriage had never gotten dull or boring and maybe this was why. They kept getting into situations intentionally or not that made her see her spouse fresh again. And oh was she beautiful.

Sunshine noticed the pause and heated face of the pony she had been talking to. “And it’s good to see you two love each other as much as I love my own Sunny.”

Sunset shrugged. “Just living the dream. Nothing anypony else wouldn’t want.”

“Making the best of it,” Other Sunset smirked as she trot through the doorway around her copy. “Ready yet?” she nodded towards the mirrors.

“Kids should be here in a sec,” Sunset nodded as if it were the most casual thing in the world.

Sunshine sat down along with Twilight on the soft rug-covered crystal floor. “I heard you and your family had plans for winter?”

Twilight glanced to Sunset and then returned to Sunshine’s gaze. “We do have regular family vacations. Sunset insisted on one for Christmas this year. Lighty prefers having someone else along as well since me and Sunny...can get preoccupied. Last year it was Rainbow and her family.”

“What kind of place is it?” Other Sunset asked out of curiosity as she joined them in waiting.

“It’s a resort village in the mountains,” Sunset replied, sitting down next to her wife. “Mt. Canter specifically. The human world’s equivalent anyways. There’s all sorts of things there. Skiing, snowboarding, well-maintained winter walks, natural wonders, hot springs...”

***

“Hot springs?!” Midnight Sky practically leapt at her coltfriend as he tried practicing some magic by using it to make his bed. It was not so easy.

“Yes, it’s pretty warm even though the place operates in winter. It’ll be awhile before we go, of course. But I’ve been hearing Ma pushing the idea so I’m sure we’ll do it this year.”

Suddenly the stallion was turned in place by Middy’s magic, causing his own magic to disrupt the sheets. Not that he was doing spectacularly so far.

The mare put her face up to his, eyes sparkling in wonder and a touch of desire before glancing away momentarily. “Do you think they’d mind if I tagged along?” she whispered.

A second passed as he processed it. Then a grin formed. “Maybe we can try the hot springs together.”

Author's Note:

And that’s that! Almost a full 365 days in the making and a great friendship formed by it.

I’ll likely do a retrospective blog on this in a few days (link here when it’s up) and I’m not sure if it’ll be joint or separate ones from me and BW.

Thanks for being so patient with us! :twilightsmile:

Comments ( 6 )

So... Is this a Sci-Set story? or this also have pony princess x sunset?

I'm more a Sci-Set fan, so...

9006055
It’s Sciset. Sort of.

Great story, loved it. Only a minor complaint, you use I alot and it's not always clear who is speaking since you change perspective. I would add who is speaking / thinking especially when you start with one characters perspective and switch to anothers. I'm surprised pinkie did come out of nowhere for sunlight's cutiemare cutisnara.

9795275
This was written as a collaborative project and in the description we put a key for who is writing what part. There are section breaks that separates the perspectives but my file host crashed. I’m still trying to get them fixed.

9796122
I see, maybe add some text to clarify things, that way if the images break again the story wouldn't be affected. Again great story overall loved it.

Finally finish reading! Great slice of life though it did get confusing with which one is Twilight or Sunset of the respective dimensions at some points.

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