• Published 13th Sep 2012
  • 16,225 Views, 576 Comments

The Twilight Hours - chief maximus



AJ and Twilight keep meeting in her library in the middle of the night, and RD wants answers!

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Part 8

Part 8

Twilight left the barn, following Applejack's tracks to her farmhouse. She had no idea what she was going to say to her, but continued on all the same. She reached the porch, the boards creaking with every step as she set the lantern beside her. Peering into the darkened living room, she softly knocked on the door.

"Applejack?" she whispered. Only the stillness of an empty room replied as she pushed the door open. Twilight could guess where she'd find her as she crept carefully up the old stairs in the darkness. With a quick spell, a small point of light from the tip of her horn cast a purple glow down the hallway. She could hear Big Mac snoring in his room, and Apple Bloom shifting beneath her blankets in hers. The closed door between them led to Applejack's room, where she could hear the unmistakable sounds of soft crying.

She frowned. This whole situation had blown up in her face. In hindsight, Applejack should have been honest with Rainbow. But Rainbow shouldn't have violated her privacy. Both parties shared blame, but some certainly more than others. Twilight took a deep breath before gently knocking on the door. No sooner had she done that, the crying ceased.

"Applejack?" Twilight whispered once more. Hoofsteps drew nearer as she waited. The door swung open a few inches, but no more. Twilight nudged it open and took a step inside, a single candle burning on Applejack's desk cast long and dancing shadows across the room. "I'm sorry about what happened in the barn," Twilight began. "I should have checked for anyone spying on us. I knew Rainbow had been snooping around, but I never thought she'd—"

Applejack waved a hoof to silence her.

"It wasn't your fault, Twi..." she answered. "I shouldn't have been keepin' secrets."

Twilight's expression hardened as she strode towards Applejack's bed, her hat hanging on her bedpost and her mane flowing freely, now loose from its band. "You weren't in the wrong, Applejack. You had every right to privacy."

Applejack sniffed up her tears. "Ah know, but... what kinda friend avoids another and damn near lies to her just because she's ashamed of herself?"

Twilight sat down next to her, placing a hoof around her shoulder. "One that cares about her reputation. I know you, Applejack. I know how important setting a good example for Apple Bloom is to you." Twilight used her magic to brush aside the mane that had fallen into Applejack's face. "I know that you didn't want anyone to know about what we were doing, and Rainbow let her petty jealousy get the better of her. Spying on us was a rotten thing of her to do, but in the end, she was probably just hurting because you were spending time with me instead of her."

Applejack gave her a small smile. "She is the jealous type..."

Twilight nodded. "I know." She looked around the room awkwardly before turning back to her. "I don't suppose you want to continue your lessons?"

Applejack favored her with a smile, wiping the remaining tears from her eyes.

"That'd be great."


The next morning, as Twilight and the Apple family were sitting down to breakfast, the distinct sound of a teleportation spell exploding on the porch interrupted their meal. Whoever it was wasted no time frantically knocking on the door.

"Ah got it," Applejack groaned. None of her family members were planning on getting up anytime soon. "Hold yer horses, I'm comin'!" she shouted before opening the door.

"Rarity?" she asked, surprised at her normally style conscious friend's appearance. Her mane was unkempt and she wore not a touch of makeup. "What brings you out here?"

"You must come quickly!" she panted, "The weather team had a lightning accident!"

Applejack's heart fell into her stomach. "An accident?" She blinked dumbly. "Is Rainbow okay?"

Rarity blinked away before looking back, biting her lower lip softly.

Applejack's eyes widened. She turned over her shoulder and called to Twilight. "Twi! Get your stuff, we gotta go to the hospital!" she commanded urgently, regaining her wits.

Twilight sprang from the table, nearly overturning her bowl of oatmeal. "What?" she said, startled. "Why?"

"Rainbow's been in an accident and she's laid up!" Applejack snapped, grabbing her hat off of the rack by the door and darting outside. Twilight ran out the door after her as Rarity followed suit.

Sweet Celestia, please let Rainbow be okay!


There was a pounding in Rainbow's head the likes of which she had never before experienced. Her muscles felt useless, and her limbs numb. She rolled her head to one side, feeling the soft down of the pillow beneath her head ruffle her fur. She tried to open her eyes, but found her eyelids refused to open. Dash let out a whimper of panic, shifting again as she tried to get her limbs to move.

A muffled sound made its way through her haze. Somepony was talking, but she may as well have had cotton balls in her ears. Soon, the sound began to sharpen, as she made out the words being spoken to her.

"...Miss Dash, you've been through quite the ordeal!"

"Wh-what happened?" Dash asked wearily. "Why can't I see?" she continued, her voice rising in panic.

She felt a hoof fall onto her shoulder. "There was a lightning accident, you took quite a few volts," the voice said, doing nothing to placate her fears.

"But why can't I see?!" she snapped, regaining use of her limbs and gingerly touching the cotton pads taped over her eyes.

"Take it easy, Miss Dash. The bandages are only a precaution. We need to make sure you don't have any corneal damage from the lightning flash." The hoof left her shoulder as she heard papers rustling near the foot of her bed. "To be honest, you're lucky to be alive."

Rainbow felt her jaw fall slack. After a silence, she asked softly, "How long am I gonna be here?"

"A week or two, it simply depends on how quickly you recover."

Another long silence entered the room, before she spoke again, in a decidedly defeated tone. "And my eyes?"

"We're awaiting the test results, but Celestia willing, you'll be able to see again soon."

Rainbow heard the door open. "I'll be back on my evening rounds to check on you, but until then, try and rest."

She could hear him shut the door as she was finally alone in her room. Among the aches and pains, she felt a weight drop into her chest. The memory of how she ended up here in the first place came rushing back to her all at once. She remembered Rarity trying to talk her out of her snooping, she remembered falling out if the rafters of the barn, but more importantly, she could see the look of betrayal on Applejack's face as though she were standing in front of her. Rainbow sat back against her pillows. How could she have let her jealousy get the best of her? Applejack was her best friend, and she'd gone and ruined it.

Dash could only hope Applejack would find it within herself to forgive her. The most haunting part about the entire ordeal was that the last time she saw her best friend's face, it wore an expression of shock and hurt. Unshakeable sorrow took hold of her as she realized that image could be the one burned into her eyes forever.

Rainbow punched the mattress. I deserve it, she thought. This was a hard lesson to learn, and she prayed she wouldn't have to learn it this way. Just as she was about to roll over and push her dreadful behavior from her conscience, she heard the door open.

"Rainbow?"

She knew that voice. She didn't need eyes to tell concern, and this pony had it in spades.

"Applejack... I'm so sorry," she whispered "I just—"

Applejack silenced her with a hoof on her own. "Rainbow, listen ta me. Ah'm sorry I misled you. Ah had a secret that Ah didn't want to spread, so Ah kept it to myself."

Rainbow smiled. She could feel her bandages moistening. "AJ, I would never spread any secret you tell me. I just wanted to say I'm sorry for spying on you. Rarity tried to talk me out of it, but I wouldn't listen. I just got so upset when you started hanging out with Twi and bailing on me, I... I thought you didn't want to hang out with me anymore." Rainbow put her other hoof on top of Applejack's. "You're the best friend I've ever had, and when I thought I was losing you, I got a little..."

"Jealous?" Applejack completed.

"Yeah..."

"Well, you were outta line, and it was a violation of my privacy. But..." Applejack said, rubbing a hoof on her chin. "Ah think Ah could forgive ya, if you're willin' ta put some work in to it."

Rainbow's smile began to weaken. "Work?"

"Eeyup. Ah think a couple extra rainclouds and some apple buckin' aughta do it."

Dash let out an exasperated sigh. "If it'll make you forget about what a jerk I was... fine."

Another silence entered the room before Applejack broke it, but not before grinning to herself. She had caught Rainbow's physician on his way back from the lab with her test results. It seemed minimal damage had been sustained to her corneas during the accident, so she had no qualms about bargaining with an injured mare for farm work. "So, as I was in the lobby, I was lookin' at the magazines. You'll never guess what they had."

Rainbow's ears perked up. "What?"

"Stunt Flyers Monthly, the latest issue." Applejack looked over the cover. "Looks like new regulations came out for joining the Wonderbolts."

Rainbow gasped. "Oh horseapples, I have to update my resume!" she said excitedly, before recalling the doctors prognosis of at least a week or two for a full recovery.

"Actually, Ah think I may be able ta help you out." Rainbow could hear the smile in Applejack's voice. "What if Ah read them to you?"

Dash's smile came racing back. "You... you'd do that for me?"

"Of course Ah will! Twilight says Ah need ta practice anyway," Applejack replied happily. She opened the magazine to the cover story. "Alright, let's see... In the many years of storied service, the Fa... fab..." Applejack squinted at the magazine before holding it out in front of Dash. "What's that word, Rainbow?" she teased.

Dash crossed her forelegs. "Very funny, AJ."

"Oh c'mon now, Ah ain't allowed ta have a little fun? Alright, where was I? The fa-fab-you-lus Wonderbolts have rev-revised their req... ree...requirements many times..."

Author's Note:

And, end. this takes place early on in S1, so obviously, Rainbow's eyes got better. predictable ending? Probably, but not every story can end with an M Night Shamalamadingdong twist, can it?

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Comments ( 69 )

Wasn't expecting the lightning accident - honestly, resolution coming forced due to an accident felt a little cheap - but still, a great ending to this story, and glad to see them all happy and a cohesive unit again.

Its sad to see this fic finished, but it was a sweet ride while it lasted.

Well that was a nice, heartwarming romp. Good to end it here, though cliche'd as it is. The payoff was the work itself tackling a subject I hadn't come across before.

Side note: Also, might wanna Ctrl+F for "I" in Applejack's dialogue unless those are intentional.

In un primo momento, ho pensato che fosse di trasporto, ma capito wasn`t...:ajsmug:

A nice and soft ending. I approve!

kinda wish there was more, or maybe a sequel with some appledashlight shipping in it, but that's 'cause i'm obsessed with that pairing.

the ending was meh to me, not bad but could have been done a bit better, all in all 6/10 for this ending

:pinkiegasp::pinkiegasp::pinkiegasp:
Shamalamadingdong
Shamalamadingdong
Shamalamadingdong
this is now a thing :pinkiehappy:
I feel very Pinkie today.

4387262 A pairing implies 2, I think better words would be 'threesome' or 'OT3'

Needs more! But only because i wanna read more about it.

4387418 tomato potato, tomato potato. at least i was understood.

4387241

Unfortunately this is exactly what I was expecting and hoping not to happen. The rest of the story was so good, but then we got the "Rainbow did a bad thing, but then a bad thing happens to her and it's all water under the bridge the end." which feels like I've just been cheated.

This was such a neat and even cute story, well done. :pinkiehappy:

And thus ends another story I always looked forward to seeing updated... :fluttershysad:

Well-ended, if a little blasé...

I really enjoyed this story. There's not much else I can say.


Pacing was great. :moustache:

D'awwwww... That's sweet... Dangit! You made me all mushy on the inside! Curse you! Anyways, I love the story, it was about growth, out-of-context crap, and jealousy, and I loved it! :pinkiehappy:

Thanks for sticking to the end and finish this nice story!

This story was okay.

Ah, well sucks that it's over NOW, but in all honesty, I should've seen this coming. And in Season 1? :twilightoops: Again, it seems more like I think you mentioned stuff from Season 2, like in regards to Big Mac and Cheerilee or other things. As I mentioned in a review on an earlier chapter I did a few months back.

Anyway, after over a year and a half, it's great to see this story finished, even if it was one of your more cutesy stories; despite the drama and Rainbow being hot-headed and jealous, it was still an enjoyable read! Like others say, maybe the making up part was a little forced and I'd have loved to see my thoughts come to pass (about the others hearing about her accident, but despite the show, they would hold a grudge and not visit Rainbow, making her feel more alone). But at least they made up, even if Twi's earlier summation of their friendship of having equalities with one another, in regards to certain aspects didn't seem to fit in here. And kind of a funny ending, despite Rainbow's serious condition and I ALMOST thought AJ would tell Dash she couldn't ever see again, even if that would've been a lie but you know, she would've deserved it perhaps. dl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/Rainbow_Dash_lolface.png

Well, good ending and I look forward to more updates from you in the near future, or new stories! :pinkiehappy:

Now... I'm sure that I saw that ending scene or at least something very like it once before in a film or TV show once but I can't remember where. In any case, it's a nice bit of heart-string tugging as you can get. Nice work!

Hm, was an okay ending. But Twi and the others could somehow left out of it and it felt like RD doesn't consider them her friends and only thinks of AJ as a friend, even if she say "best friend" it felt like she only hangs out with the rest of the gang "just because": It was always AJ here, AJ there, AJ that, never did RD showed to care about spending time with others or even thought about how AJ or Twi would have felt about her being a noisy jerk into their privacies. I dunno, felt weird to me.

Finished? Wooo time to re-read this awesome sucker from start to the finish. :ajsmug::twilightsmile:

4388516 consider the setting being early in the show, before many of the friendship lessons had been learned. Also, my personal cranial artillery says rd loved all her friends, but she and aj are bros to the close.

4388644

I see, I already wondered why RD wasn't going on about getting on pranks with Pinkie or having Shy cheer for her in her training. The ending is nice, but it still feels kind of "unfinished" to me though. Maybe because it got resolved so fast with that accident and everything.

Very enjoyable ending to an enjoyable story. Thank you for the hard work.

This is very sweet. It's nicely done and feels very cute and fun. I do like how you handle Aj's feelings in this as it feels very natural.

That all said, the ending felt a bit too rushed to me. AJ seems to forgive her very quickly considering how hurt and upset she gets. It kind of feels like Dash getting hurt someone absolves her of her actions and I don't think that's accurate.

Still cute and still a thumbs up.

Of all the possible endings, in all possible worlds, that you could have wrapped this up on... this was it.

This.

i.imgur.com/3auI2.jpg

This is a fantastic resource, and you're in direct violation of rule 19. It's incredibly contrived.

4389822 this was the end I picked before I even wrote the story. If you don't like it, that's on you.

4390013

That would be true if I were the only one mentioning it.

4390212 I don't see how that makes it less true. If people don't like it, that's still their problem. I'm not disagreeing with what they are saying, but as the author, I can end a fic however I want. I'm sorry to disappoint, but I write the story I want to tell. It's brought me this far, so why stop now.

This has been a great story and I've enjoyed it all the way through. That said, I do have to agree the ending felt a bit anti-climatic. But it was still a sweet ride while it lasted.

4389822 I appreciate the link, which I saved, but the accident is not what got RD out of trouble. AJ's talk with Twilight, combined with RD's realization that she was in the wrong is what got her out of trouble.

4390397 This is a very entitled view I see a lot of authors on the website posting, and so here I think I will have to reply to it. No, it's not just our problem you wasted our time by writing such a rushed and quick solution to this story. You led us on for seven chapters with vastly superior writing quality than this (I should say, at this time, I still quite love the story. It only went from "superb" to "mediocre" in the last chapter, and so the end was disappointing). You don't, of course, have to care about people finding this frustrating and liking your story less for it. But then, you also don't have to care about brushing your teeth, eating things besides McDonalds each day or even what state of dismemberment you are in. But given people will likely talk with potential fans and current fans about the underwhelming ending to this story, and your completely unapologetic reaction to it, like the other things I have listed, it is still in your best interest to care.

And if you really don't care about what a large portion of your audience thinks of a story, even if they feel their time has been wasted, what is the point of even showing the story off to people by posting it in a public forum?

4391626 There is only so much I can do to end a story. This was the ending I had planned out from the start. I've already said I was sorry to disappoint, but this was the best ending I could think of. If that makes me a mediocre author, then it makes me a mediocre author. What was I supposed to do? Crowd source an ending everyone agreed on? Then I could claim no credit as the author. I didn't mean to come off as entitled or callous to anyone's feelings, but I can't hope to please everyone.
The fact of the matter is, every story I post here was written by me, and me alone. I have editors that I'm grateful to have, whom I trust implicitly and told me this ending was okay with them. While they by no means have the final say, I believed the ending was fitting, and they agreed, so unless they're just lying to my face, I was inclined to believe them. I also have followers and fans I'm grateful and lucky to have. This isn't some kind of attack on those who didn't like it, nor were any of my previous posts, so I hope no one takes them that way.

If you think this story was a waste of time, you're within your rights to both think that and tell me and others that. But I don't think it was a waste of time. It does exactly what I set out to accomplish: tell a story with a simple lesson, in the same vein of the show and not stray too far from the realm of plausibility.

In my opinion, that's what it does, and I'm happy with it. In your and many others opinion, the ending sucked. Which is fine for you to think. I don't think it did, and so I stand by it.

4391701 Well, considering numerous people vouched for a comment expressly pleading you not to end it this way, you may have considered that it was a poor idea. That said, it is indeed your story, so personal satisfaction is good. However, if none of your editors saw anything wrong with this from a suspension of disbelief, characterization, thematic or pacing level, I suggest you get new ones. There is enough there wrong with it that some alarm bells should be set off, and your editors should pick up on that, or else stick to combing through for grammar issues (which I found very few of, so they are at least competent at that portion).

I am glad you are satisfied with the way your story ended, but just know that a good portion of your audience is not, so rather than saying it's not something you have to deal with in any way, it would be nice to get some kind of sense of regret for it or at least some kind of desire to learn from it.

Thank you, once again, for being understanding about this and not lashing out at me or your other critics. I wish you all the best in your future writing endeavors. :twilightsmile:

4391784 Thank you for putting it concisely. It really does suck to know something you thought worked simply doesn't, but it's done now, and I must move on. I can only hope my future critics are as cordial as yourself.

4391808 Wellll. You could always try writing an epilogue, and allowing the story to come to a more natural resolution by allowing AJ to really decompress her shame in front of her friends, and thereby resolve some of the issues that caused the secrecy to begin with. If you think you'd like to do anything else for the ending or have any other concerns, I'd be happy to take this to PMs.

But again, if you feel this is the ending to the story, I hardly want to dictate from on high as to how to end it "properly". Reaching an understanding with your audience is more than enough. :twilightsmile:

The ending was slightly forced with the lightning thing but overall this was an enjoyable read and i'm glad you finished it.

So, this ending works for me as a concept, but it felt a bit rushed. If there had been more in the way of RD being distracted by her worry about AJ's hurt feelings, resulting in the accident, it might have gone over better for me. I guess it's implied, but... All in all, I loved the story, and the ending doesn't make me like it and less. That being said, I think I would like the story even more if the ending had been a bit more fleshed out. It's not like AJ wasn't going to forgive Rainbow, thus the accident isn't a deus ex machina moment. The accident just skips the juicy steps of them hashing out their feelings, making them realize that in the long run, they're too important to each other for something like that to really come between them. I could have done with some of them juicy bits, but all in all, it's 'kay.:twilightsmile:

I don't feel it's accurate to say the ending is contrived. Rainbow's accident isn't random - it's a direct result of her carelessness. And she's careless because she's busy being too angry with herself to pay attention to what she's doing. You work in a dangerous environment with that attitude and getting hurt is a very real possibility.

On the other hand, the ending does feel rushed. The lead up to the confrontation takes a considerable time setting the stage. Then bang, it's confrontation-acident-resolution all within a very short span. It felt a bit anticlimactic.

4391626
Did you pay for it?
The story I mean? Did you commission it?
NO? Then hush.
An author creating something for free is creating more for themselves than for the audience and as such owe us nothing.
>tldr: Lifes not fair, suck it up.

4390397
As for the ending, yes I thought it was fast as well, but in a way it seemed more like an end to one of the episodes. So while I wanted a longer conclusion, I'm cool with the one we got.

4394235 It's like you completely missed the point of my comment. As for life being unfair, don't I goddamn know it. Have you ever suddenly lost the person you love most in this world? Have you ever contracted a disease that lowers your quality of life to below that of people in hospital, permanently? What about one that causes you incurable chronic pain constantly? Have you lived on a happy, successful person despite all of this bullcrap? No? Then you probably don't even begin to approach understanding the arbitrary cruelty of life the way I do, and learning when to accept the things you can't change, and sound cute talking about it.

But guess what. You know who is able to be fair? People. Do you know who I can't hold accountable for wasting my time or hurting me? Life. You know who I can hold accountable for wasting my time, which, by the way, I consider more valuable than my money? People. And, ultimately, do you know who most often has a chance of giving a fuck when they upset people who like their work? People.

So, ultimately, I have every bit as much right to feel robbed of my free time as he does to feel it's a good ending. And we could not care how the other feels. That would be perfectly valid. Or we could try to make something of it, and understand each other, and work to reach a conclusion everybody is happy with. Heck, maybe we could even make a friend out of it. We could rise above disinterest and dispassion, and actually try to give a fuck about making the world a better place. Or we could keep fighting about it and pretend we don't care. Which one sounds better to you?

Tl; dr, don't assume you understand something better than somebody else just because you can use greentext and sarcasm.

Well done, good sir, yet another very enjoyable story. :twilightsmile:

4394336
Ahem; first off while I do sympathize with your situation in life, I'm not sure how it's relevant to the current discussion. No one's life is prefect, we all have things we have to deal with.

As for my comment I should have been more specific, I found your actual critique to be quite accurate and pretty much in line with my own. What I was referring to in my post was the line:

This is a very entitled view I see a lot of authors on the website posting,

Because (in my opinion and it's just an opinion) more authors should have that view and not pander to their audience. You mention that the author somehow wasted your time and perhaps there is some truth to that. But that was your choice to use your time to read and follow this story. So while you may not like it, the responsibility for media is the the viewer's, not the creator's.

To expand my statement about pandering, I look to stories where an author rewrote an ending to make the audience happy. Unless the author was unsatisfied with it, they should stick to their guns. For example, I hated the end to Background Pony (a great read, if you haven't I highly recommend it), but it was the ending the author wanted and it sent a specific message. Do I think the ending of this story was rushed? Probably. But it's the author's choice, so I respect it.

I suppose it comes down to the reason for writing, when I write its to express my view and tell the story I want to tell. Others write for popularity and to make their readers happy. There is nothing wrong with either of those, but expecting someone to change just because you are unhappy, isn't right.

There is a lot of entitlement and self pity in the current generation of western culture(I'm from the US) and I find myself falling back on a saying to counteract it:

"Just because you're offended, doesn't mean you're right."

I do want to thank you for keeping the discussion civil, yes I was brash in my earlier comment, that's how I am and I won't change unless given a damn good reason. But I still stand by the fact that the only person who could waste your time is you.

Best of luck,
Teraphim

>tl;dr sorrynotsorry but I hope you feel better

4394624 It seems you are once again not reading my comments, since I gave the reason I put forward my life situation was to show that I was well aware that life is unfair and then contrast it with the opposing view that it doesn't mean people shouldn't be. I will grant, however, that it is a nonsequitur and does need the context of the rest of my statement to work.

I will also respectfully disagree with you on it being only on me that the author wasted my time. When you post a story on a website, it is with the expectation people will read it. If he were truly writing this story for himself and only himself, he would never have posted it. Therefore, I find the view that you don't care how unpleasant, frustrating or upsetting people find what you publicly share entitled.

If I suddenly start giving a public speech in a park, I shouldn't ignore people's getting mad at me just because I'm speaking from my heart. It's me who is asking for their attention, not they who are asking for my words.

As someone who is passionate about reading, and has taught several friends how to improve their reading skills, this struck a chord with me. Wonderful story!

godammit all fics i read and follow keeps ending to soon

ah well good story

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