• Published 25th Aug 2017
  • 1,932 Views, 13 Comments

The Sun Sets Before Starlight - EclipseSight



Sunset has many regrets, too many to count. Most of them she has managed to atone for. One still remains. Now, it's up to Starlight to help her new friend close the book on her past, just as another did for her.

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Breaking the Dam

“So...you say the magic in this world is connected to these geodes?” Starlight asked, carefully rolling Sunset's between her fingers under her scrutinizing gaze. She had to admit, as weird as they looked, hands were much more dexterous than hooves. At least when it came to simply holding things.

“Yup,” Sunset replied with a nod, settling down onto the worn sofa next to her fellow Equestrian. “We found them at Camp Everfree and ever since then wearing them has given us access to special powers. Dash has super speed, Applejack has super strength, Rarity can create gemstone constructions, Fluttershy can talk to animals, Pinkie Pie makes things explode, Twilight can use levitation magic to manipulate objects and I'm able to see the thoughts and feelings of those I touch.”

Listening to the list, Starlight's eyes widened and her jaw slackened slightly. “Wow, that's quite varied. More like special talents than what we would call basic magic.” She shrugged and handed back the geode, allowing Sunset to slip it back around her neck. “It's fascinating. Though, I guess there's a lot of problems that stem from having an influx of magic in a world that isn't used to it.” To illustrate her point, she picked up the mangled mirror that had previously imprisoned Sunset and the others. “Like, this for example... In Equestria something like this would be locked away or destroyed, but here...”

“Yeah...there isn't a lot of damage control,” Sunset mused, clasping her hands behind her head and resting against the makeshift cushion. “Right now it's just me and the others... Which is why I worry so much...” Kicking her legs, she idly watched her foot appear and disappear over the horizon of her thighs. “I don't want anyone here to get hurt because of magic...” The next part she left unsaid. Especially the magic I brought here...

Starlight's brow furrowed as she stared down at the thing in her hand. Today had been close, too close. It was no wonder Sunset was on edge, an entire world was a massive responsibility. Pouting, she crossed her arms over her chest and turned to the huge window that made up most of one wall. The night sky looked so different, the few constellations she could see through the haze of street lights were foreign to her. Yet somehow there were still constellations, formed naturally rather than with magic. “Yeah, that makes sense...Must be rough, just...waiting for the next big thing to happen.”

“To be honest... I've been waiting for everything to go wrong since Princess Twilight pulled me out of that crater...” Sunset muttered, only to jump slightly as she realised what she had said. “Wow...has it really been that long?” Sighing heavily, she began to massage her temples. The relief was only physical, whatever tension she was still holding in her spirit remained anchored to her. A gentle, warm pressure on her leg caused her to look down. Not really knowing what to say, Starlight had placed a hand on Sunset's knee. Forcing a small smile, Sunset lowered her hands. “Sorry, It's only the first day and I'm already turning this trip into a downer for you. I'm sorry.”

Starlight merely shrugged, removing her hand and using it to toss her hair back over her shoulder. “It's not that bad. A lot better than going completely stir crazy in Twilight's library again. I've read all the books that interest me...now I'm just down to counting them whenever the castle's empty.”

“I imagine it's pretty annoying, being left behind all the time...” Sunset mused, shaking her head. Being alone in a huge castle brought back memories, though she had been isolated for a different reason. She tried to push the thought to the side, her features momentarily straining with effort. “I guess that's why you jumped at the chance to come here?”

Momentarily oblivious, Starlight shrugged again. “In a way yeah. It's not so bad, and I do like my own company from time to time but...I guess you could say I jumped at the moment when it came to me.” She grinned, a quiver of excitement running down her spine. “I also couldn't really pass up the opportunity to see a whole new world. This place is amazing. Once you get over the weird limbs and lack of magic thing.”

While Starlight gave her wrists a disdainful flick, Sunset nodded. “Yeah, it is pretty weird at first. That was the first thing I missed. My magic. I was always proud of it, though I don't think I could have held my own in a magic duel with an alicorn without any formal training.” Her lips twitched into a small grin, which widened when Starlight's chest puffed out proudly. After a completely irresistible tap to her friend's stomach, which caused Starlight to jerk forwards and glare at her, Sunset continued. “Then it was other things. My hooves, my mane, my tail...just the familiarity of it all. After I got over the initial excitement, I started getting homesick.”

Becoming pensive, she leaned back in the sofa and looked upwards. Her ceiling was high, almost cavernous. When she had first scouted for a place, it had been the last thing from her mind. She had just needed it to be affordable. After her true colours had been revealed the school's library had no longer seemed hospitable to her. Yet as soon as she had felt that ceiling looming high above her, she knew she had found her place. “Everything was so different, yet in the same way, it wasn't. Even back then there were just as many similarities as differences. It was, weird.”

“Yeah, that doesn't sound too appealing,” Starlight said softly, letting her voice fade into the stillness. A small, self-deprecating smirk tugged at her lips. “I admit, without you there I think I might have just run back into the portal as soon as I realised I had no magic.”

A chill washed over Sunset, causing her to shiver briefly. She stood, trance-like, and walked into the middle of the room. “To be honest...I might have done the same...If I'd had a home to go back to. But I didn't, not after...”

“What you did?” Starlight finished in a whisper when Sunset's voice faded into the air. A jolt ran up Sunset's spine and she whirled around suddenly. Only then did she realise what she had just blurted out. Her thoughts had just taken over, saying that aloud was the last thing on her mind.

Having taken the bull by the horns, Starlight let her eyes drift closed. She was about to enter deep water, with no sign of a raft. The old Starlight would have been too wrapped up in her own importance to care, the current one found the situation impossible to walk away from. “You've never forgiven yourself have you?” Lifting her head, she smiled towards Sunset, a sad, all too knowing smile. “Not really.”

Sunset said nothing, which confirmed Starlight's suspicion. Her smile widened slightly and she pointed an accusatory finger at Sunset. “Yeah, it's easy to see.” Tilting her head and pursing her lips, Starlight reconsidered her words. “Well, easy enough for someone who's been thro- is going through the same thing. It's just like looking in the mirror every morning.”

Letting out a quiet sigh, Sunset leaned against her wall and folded her arms. She attempted a smirk, but it came out as more of a grimace. “You are good. First me, then Juniper and now me again. Twilight's teaching you well.”

Adamantly, Starlight shook her head, keeping her eyes lowered towards the ground. “No, I'm just...well traveled in this circle is all. Been there done that, still doing it. It's a hard habit to break but an easy one to pick up on when you're in the know.” A scowl broke through her features and she began to grip her knees until her hands threatened to cramp. Catching herself, she exhaled softly and forced herself to relax. “It's an easy trap. You worry about one thing for so long and no matter how much you try-”

“-It never goes away and just makes everything else worse?” Sunset continued, sliding down the wall and landing in a melancholic heap on the floor. Turning her head away from Starlight, she sighed and closed her eyes. “I just don't know how to talk about it. It's been so long-”

“-that not talking about it just feels...normal.” Standing, Starlight walked over to where Sunset was sitting against the wall. She had planned to settle down next to the other girl, to at least attempt to comfort her, but instead, ended up misjudging the distance to the ground and losing her balance. She toppled backward, landing flat on her back with her arms and hair splayed out over the floor. Somewhere along the descent her beret had fallen off and ended up beneath the sofa where she had started. “Umm...oops?” she tried, smirking sheepishly at the ceiling.

Rendered speechless for several moments, Sunset could only stare. Her eyes were glued to the scene before her, a lilac skinned girl flat on her back with legs still flailing in the air. It was so...absurd. What started as a quiet titter was soon a bout of uproarious laughter that had her clutching her sides.

Eventually, Starlight was able to right herself. She heaved herself into a sitting position, breathing heavily from the exertion. Wiping the back of a hand across her brow, she turned towards Sunset, cheeks slightly flushed. The fiery haired girl was still laughing. It took her several moments for her to bring herself back to level. Starlight's lips curled upwards slightly and she said softly, “You've been holding that in a while haven't you?”

Instantly sobering up, Sunset dipped her green eyes downwards. Though it was out of her view, she could feel the geode on her neck. After the elation of finally having control over some sort of magic again, it had begun to feel like a lead weight from the multitude of questions attached to it. She felt Starlight once again lay a hand on her, this time the warm weight rested on her shoulder. Biting her lip, she looked up and met the burning sapphire eyes with her own. “Yeah, I guess I have...” she muttered sombrely, leaning back against the wall. “I guess... it's just a relief to finally be able to tell someone that no, everything isn't actually okay... Even if I can't tell them why.”

“Tell me about it... I know exactly how that feels,” Starlight admitted, trying to find a comfortable sitting position on the floor. In the end, she settled with kneeling down and resting on her ankles. “It's difficult to be okay in the moment and just let everything go by when it's the past that keeps dragging you down.”

Sunset stiffened, eyes widening and pupils shrinking rapidly. Starlight nodded sadly, having suspected as much. Leaning forwards slightly she pressed her hands into the floor. Sunset's carpet was cheap and thin but compared to solid crystal it was absolutely luxurious. “I've been there, actually I'm still there for the most part. One way or another, the past comes back to bite us...whether it's ponies, and dragons, constantly bringing it up or it's our own fears pulling us down and stopping us from moving on. Am I correct?”

The fiery haired girl nodded slowly, not surprised that Starlight was continuing to hit the mark. With the dam now broken wide open, it was just a simple matter of poking away at the broken edges until everything had flooded out. “Yeah, I've sorta gotten used to everyone bringing it up but...they don't know the full story. They don't...bring up the part that really hurts.” She laughed again, but this one lacked any form of humour. “That's probably the only reason I've been able to keep it hidden this long.” Defeated, Sunset sagged into her floor, arms falling uselessly to her sides. Turning on her side, she curled her knees into her chest while keeping her face away from Starlight. “How do you deal with it?”

“My past?” Starlight tilted her head upwards to stare at the ceiling, pondering the question. “Day by day. Living in the moment, as I said. It's... hard but I'm able to do it most of the time...The less you think about it the less it hurts.” She shuddered and blinked to clear the haze beginning to cloud her eyes. “There have been days where I'd lock myself in my room and hate myself, but they've become-” she twisted her hand in a circle and made a disgusted noise. “-less frequent.”

Sunset swallowed, feeling torn two ways. Part of her wanted to try and say something, to end the conversation that was tearing away at them both. The stronger part of her held off. Perhaps it was selfish of her but she was so close, so close to being able to break her own self-imposed silence.

Before she knew it, she was trembling uncontrollably. She curled her knees upwards and hugged them into her chest. That helped alleviate the trembling but caused her heartbeat to thump rapidly into her thighs. The blasted organ, it hurt...just as it had on her first day in the human world. In the past, she had been able to brush it off, or at least quietly deal with the surge of sickness that turned her stomach. Not this time. This time, she could feel herself bursting. Maybe she really had finally worn down to nothing, maybe she was just at her limit or maybe she held the faint hope that finally, someone could help.

“I want to go home...” she finally mumbled into her knee, tears beginning to form in the corners of her eyes.

Starlight stared at Sunset, concern etched into every line on her brow. No matter how much she tried, in the end, she had to concede. “Sorry, I...I didn't catch that.”

“I want to go home...” Sunset repeated, lifting her head slightly so she would be audible. “I need to talk to her...”

“Talk to her? Who?” Starlight asked, shifting a little closer. She was just able to stop herself from falling over again.

A sound almost like a whimper escaped Sunset. It took several moments for anything substantial to escape her, throughout which she could feel Starlight gently rubbing the back of her neck,“Princess Celestia...” she was finally able to choke out.

“Oh...” Starlight muttered, silently berating herself. After everything she had learned, that should have been obvious. “Well, why don't you? The portal is right there and I'm sure everyone here would understand.”

Starlight reeled back slightly when Sunset snorted bitterly, clearly unimpressed by her suggestion. “You make it sound simple,” she growled before her voice fizzled back to a shaky whimper. “It's...really not.” Shaking her head, she buried her face back into her knees, wanting to shut out the inside world as she finally poured her soul out into it. “It isn't. Even if I did walk all the way to Canterlot, I'm banished from the castle. Banished! Do you know how crazy bad that is? For the wisest and most forgiving pony in the whole kingdom, to banish someone from the castle, or just about anywhere? It's practically unheard of.” Her knuckles had turned white by this point but the grip she maintained on her knees only tightened. Now that they had actually broached the subject, she felt unable to stop, though also felt no better.

Starlight chewed on her lip. While she did not know Celestia personally the solar princess had been nothing but amicable, despite her past misdeeds. Whatever had happened with Sunset... could honestly not have been any worse than what she herself had pulled off. Messing with time was a serious offense, if Sunset's banishment had been years ago, then maybe...

“Maybe...Maybe the banishment is over? It has been a while and umm...well...I guess it can't hurt.”

Her face fell immediately at Sunset's response. “I don't quite think you understand the gravity of the situation.” Slowly Sunset lowered her knees, crossing them into a sort of basket. It made her easier to read but personally, Starlight thought the position looked painful to maintain. After letting out another mirthless laugh, Sunset fell silent. She grappled with whether it was a good idea to continue. Starlight had been an island in a storm, even after only a few hours, helping Sunset breach a barrier that no one else had. That was what ultimately fuelled her decision if she truly had a choice and was not simply splurging her emotions uncontrollably at this point. “The things I did... The things I said...I don't know if anyone could ever forgive me for them. I can't even forgive myself. I took her trust and shattered it into so many pieces... The things I did in this world...were just the tip of the iceberg.”

“I see...” Starlight muttered, falling deep into thought. Her insides were protesting violently, telling her over and over how deep she was getting. This was bigger than she had first presumed, it was personal. Wordlessly, she stood and walked over to the window. Sunset kept her gaze glued forwards, meaning Starlight quickly left her field of vision. Staring at her faint reflection in the glass, Starlight already saw uncertainty beginning to taint her sapphire eyes. Blinking did nothing to remove the stain, causing her to have to suppress a sigh. It was the way of things for her, always taking a bold step forward only to be forced two steps back in a completely different direction.

Nevertheless, after a moment of hesitation, Starlight forged onwards. It was time to actually repay her debts, to Twilight and everyone else, by not allowing a friend in need to go unaided. Whether her attempts would crash and burn, she at least had to try. Being afraid of failure would only lead to more self-loathing, as she missed every opportunity that passed her by. Even if she had to take three steps back, all that meant was she had to take an even bigger leap forward next time.

“Can it really hurt to try though?” Starlight asked quietly, letting her words float across the room. “What we don't know can often hurt more than what we know. It can be...painful.” She turned around, gripping her elbows and trying to make herself as small as possible. All she had right now were her experiences. Whether they would help or not, she felt that sharing them was better than simply giving up.

“I always wondered why Twilight insisted that I reconcile with my village after so little time and that one of my first friendship lessons should be reuniting with Sunburst. It always felt so...odd. Logically I thought that they were both things I should only do after I'd become a better pony but Twilight knew better, as always.” Sunset looked up, seeing that Starlight's eyes had misted over. The unicorn was somewhere else, talking more to herself than Sunset. Nevertheless, the fiery headed girl found herself hanging on to every word. She had heard the story but only from Twilight's point of view. Hearing it from Starlight, was almost like listening to her own inner self. Every word hit home, she felt them as they buried deep within her.

“I'd been horrible to the ponies in my village... I'd taken away everything that made them special. Whether they thought they wanted it or not, I had no right to manipulate them like that. I was sure that they would turn me away, or worse...” She let out a weak, self-depreciating chuckle as she remembered the many twisted machinations her mind had formed when gripped in the throes of dread. In hindsight, it seemed so over the top, even stupid, but at the time everything had been real. It had been real to her, something neither Twilight or Spike could ever truly comprehend.

“Sunburst was a little different. He was the entire reason I went on my crusade, the reason I turned cold and bitter. I had done nothing to him but I was still scared, Scared that I would hurt him now, that he would hate me for what I did. I feared his judgment even after all those years and I feared what it would do to me. Would I have turned back to stone, or would I just crumble, becoming useless to everyone?”

The tears that had glistened in Starlight's eyes throughout her speech suddenly vanished, leaving Sunset astonished by the transformation. Now smiling freely, Starlight unfolded her arms and moved away from the wall's support. “It turned out okay. It all did. Every fear I'd been keeping bottled up within myself just went away. I'd been about to split open and suddenly it was all just gone.” She giggled lightly, suffused with the same relief she had felt when she and Sunburst had finally summoned the strength to release their secrets. “But the funny thing is. Even if it had turned out for the worst...I know, deep down, that it would have been better to know than let the doubt and worry continue to fester. That's why Twilight did what she did. So that I'd be able to forgive myself and move on. So that... So that I'd actually have a chance to become the better pony that she knew I could be.”

Looking over at Sunset, she gently tapped her temple with two fingers. “Trust me Sunset. Nothing that will feasibly happen can match to what you'll imagine...what you've probably already imagined. Up here, is a lot worse than what's out there.”

Speechless, Sunset merely stared dumbly into space, slowly digesting every word she had just heard. She lowered her head, letting her hair once more obscure her eyes. Starlight hung back, allowing Sunset the time to privately come to terms with her own head. Only after several minutes had passed did she quietly whisper. “It's natural to be scared. Believe me, I was absolutely terrified, but if you constantly shy away and lock yourself up...nothing ever improves.”

That clinched it and something kindled deep within Sunset. She quietly pushed herself to her feet and walked over to Starlight. The lilac skinned girl tensed slightly, it was entirely possible that she was about to be punched in the face. Instead, Sunset threw her arms around Starlight's neck and pulled her into a crushing hug, one she had desperately needed for a long, long time. For several moments Starlight stood completely still until she finally brought her arms up and gently rubbed Sunset's back.

With her face buried in Starlight's shoulder, Sunset whimpered out weakly. “H-Help me.”

Starlight answered on instinct, driven by impulse. This time, thankfully, she knew with utmost certainty that her gut had not failed her. As she held the brunt of Sunset's weight in her unsteady arms, she set her features into a determined stare and nodded. “Sure... I'll do what I can.”

Not long after, Starlight found herself putting Sunset to bed. Despite the other girls numerous mumbled protests, she had insisted that she would be fine on the couch. Now, as she laid there, clad in a spare set of Sunset's pyjamas because apparently, humans were fickle about clothing even in the privacy of sleep, her body refused to succumb to that state. The task ahead was seared into her veins, causing her blood to boil and her nerves to twitch.

Heaving herself into a sitting position, Starlight tugged on her pyjama top. The red and yellow sun mark blazed brightly over her rapidly pounding heart, bringing the whole dilemma into a much more dire perspective. This was about more than just a friendship lesson, or her own growth. If she made even a single blunder, then it was possible, likely even, that Sunset would never truly recover. Perhaps she had been foolish to blunder into this alone but after witnessing Sunset's distress she was assured there had been no other course of action. Also, she did not have to stay alone. She just had to swallow her pride and reach out for help. Fortunately, she knew exactly where she could get it.

Stealing into Sunset's room was easy, at least compared to the Canterlot Archives. Even her cumbersome grasp of her new limbs and lack of magic could not make the task more than trivial Finding the journal in the dark was the hard part. More than once she bashed her hands against something hard, like the rickety old dresser or even Sunset's bed. The first time she had been unable to stop her gasp and Sunset had shifted in her sleep. After several moments of listening to the blood pulsing in her ears, everything had returned to stillness and Starlight had gotten back to work.

She found the journal in Sunset's schoolbag. Why she had not checked their first, she did not know. It did not matter, she had the journal, a pen and just in case, a torch. Maintaining her cloak of stealth, she slipped downstairs to the living room. Of course, Sunset would learn of her deed in the morning but in this case, she reasoned that it was better to ask forgiveness than permission.

Settled down on the sofa, she opened the journal to the first empty page. It was the middle of the night, she would have to hope Twilight had gotten carried away with studying again. The odds were in her favour but luck rarely seemed to be on her side. Putting pen to paper, she began the task of writing, with the torch and moon to light her way.

Hi Twilight, it's Starlight. I'm using Sunset's journal, obviously. I'm sorry to contact you so late at night but I really need your help. Something's happened and I really don't know how to deal with it. If you're there, get back to me as soon as you can. Please.

With her message composed, she leaned back on the sofa and tried to soothe her overworked nerves. There were a thousand ways this situation could spiral south, at least. There were just as many ways she could potentially mess it up. The only glimmer of hope she could see was that her over-reliance on magic would most likely not be a factor. She would just have to make sure and resist any urge, even the tiniest one, to enchant either Sunset or Princess Celestia, no matter how good an idea it seemed in the moment. Rather than make her feel better, the entire line of thought made her feel ready to lose the copious amounts of popcorn she had eaten at the premiere. It reminded her of how woefully ill-equipped to deal with this she was. Slumping downwards in her seat, she released a shaky breath. If Twilight did not return her message...

A loud buzzing caused her to sit bolt upright, almost out of her skin. She was barely able to avoid yelling in shock, using one of her hands to muffle the squeak that did manage to weasel its way past her lips. Her breathing was both rapid and shallow as she looked down to see that the journal had come to life in her lap. The heavy book was vibrating rapidly and a harsh glow emanated from it, illuminating the entire open walled apartment. With slightly trembling hands, she pulled it open. Under her message, another had appeared. Relief almost made her drop the heavy tome to the ground. Tightening her grip, she leaned in to read. The dim light of the torch forced her to squint.

Starlight? This is a surprise. Is everything alright? You aren't hurt, are you? Are the girls okay? Do you need me to come through the mirror?

Starlight gulped. Maybe she should have phrased her message a little differently. Twilight's panic was practically bleeding through the ink. Taking a deep breath, she made her first priority ensuring that Twilight did not come bursting through the mirror in a blind panic. That would complicate matters to no end.

No, Everything's fine. Just about anyway. There's no need to panic. I just need a little advice if it isn't too much trouble.

The next response was noticeably neater, reverting back to Twilight's usual perfectly formed, if a little bland, lettering. “It's important to make your writing readable for everypony, no matter what...” she would often say, which would have Starlight rolling her eyes. She was always in too much of a rush to be neat. As long as she was able to read it, that was fine for her. Writing without a horn had worsened the problem immensely. She just had to hope Twilight could decipher the broken squiggles that were trying to pass off as letters on her page. Thankfully, it seemed the alicorn could

Of course, I'll help if I'm able to. Though, I do have to ask...does Sunset know you're using her journal? Also, what are you writing with? Hands or mouth? Your writing is a little, hard to decipher. More so than usual I mean.

The audible smack of Starlight's hand slamming against her face caused her to wince for two reasons. The first was abated quickly when no sound came from Sunset's bedroom, while the second reason was more simple, it stung. Wringing her hands for several seconds gradually alleviated the tingling in her fingers, while her head cooled on its own. A little more forcibly than was necessary, she penned down her reply.

No, Sunset has no idea. She'll find out eventually but...in this case it's better to ask forgiveness than permission. I know I don't have the best track record but please Twilight, trust me on this. You'll know what I mean when I explain.

P. S. Mouth, I have no idea how to use these weird things for more than grabbing or holding.

This time, she reopened the journal the moment it began to activate, minimising the disturbance it spewed into the still night. The response read as such.

Alright. I trust you. Go for it, but try using your hands. It's actually a lot easier.

Taken aback by the suggestion, Starlight glowered at the aforementioned instruments and spat the pen out into them. Slowly, she curled her fingers around the smooth cylinder and tried to get a comfortable grip. After several minutes of fiddling, she finally managed to get something akin to decent hold on the pen and tried writing. It was easier, but it was still comparable to trying to etch into stone with a spoon. She really needed her magic back.

Okay. Do you remember the times when you-

She paused to think of a word that did not sound resentful. The experience had been necessary, if much more than her, at the time, fragile confidence had been comfortable with.

-coerced me to reconcile with my village and reunite with Sunburst? Rhetorical question, you were there. Anyway, I think I've managed to stumble onto something Sunset's been keeping close to the chest. She wants to reconcile with Princess Celestia and I think, or hope, I've been able to convince her that it's a good idea. But, I have absolutely no idea what to do now. Any advice?

Unlike the previous replies, this one was preceded by a long delay. After almost twenty minutes of tugging at her hair, tapping her fingers and generally being stressed and impatient, Starlight had been about to repeat her message when the book sprang to life. She opened it, expecting to have to an essay of ramblings. Instead, what greeted her was far more perplexing.

Oh...wow.

Dumbfounded, Starlight stared at the two words, almost losing her grip on the pen. “Seriously?” she snorted, readjusting her hold and scribbling down her annoyance.

Twilight? That's about as helpful as a broken horn! What's going on?

Back at the castle of friendship, Twilight picked up her large, snowy white swan feather quill. Disbelief was still etched across her face. Her student had managed to pull off in a day what she had been subtly, and at times not so subtly, been trying for months. It had stumped her, being the catalyst for more than one sleepless night. Yet, after only a day, Starlight had managed to convince Sunset to finally put the past behind her. Wiping the solitary tear of pride that had started to slide down her cheek, she drafted a reply. Though not before chuckling at the obvious irritation radiating from Starlight's message.

Sorry, I just...admittedly I can't believe how quickly you managed what you did. I've been looking for a way to convince Sunset to mend that bridge for a long time. Yet here you are, after a single day. I'm proud of you.

Reading the last four words over and over again, Starlight felt her gut twist. “Yeah, no pressure or anything...” Tearing her eyes away from the small phrase, she started reading the next message. Finally, it was what she actually wanted. Sometimes Twilight spent way too long getting to the point.

As for advice. Well, you've already gotten this far. You and Sunset are similar, so work off that. I know checklists aren't your thing but a little preparation can go a long way. It doesn't help all of the time of course, which I can't believe I'm saying. The best thing to do would just keep her motivated. You know what it's like to go through with this, better than I do actually.

Starlight chuckled slightly, shaking her head and tapping the pen against her chin. “I don't think I'll be doing the checklists...or maybe I will. I just won't let Sunset see.” Deciding not to let herself get suckered into a conversation about checklists, Starlight started to write underneath Twilight's message. The night rolled on, with the pair scribbling back and forth. Starlight began to hate her hands all the more, they cramped barely two hours in and demanded some maintenance. Regardless, between the barriers of two worlds, a plan was formed.

Author's Note:

Ugh, this one took forever to get out. I've got most of the rest already written, I'm just having trouble with the last few bits. I decided to put this up though since the story became far longer than I originally intended. Too long for a single chapter. The rest should be up within the next day or two at the most, I have the rest basically finished. I hope you all enjoy. Sorry that I've been gone so long, things got in the way. Hopefully, this will be the end of my impromptu hiatus and I can get to other things. Thank you all for your patience. Have a nice day!