• Published 10th Aug 2018
  • 4,882 Views, 53 Comments

Beyond the borders - rooks_fanfiction



Betrayal always hurts, especially when it come form those you love and trust the most.

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Chapter 1

The wheels of Sunset’s motorcycle had barely stopped turning before she was off it and jogging through the gates of Canterlot high. She didn’t know what had happened, but something had obviously gone badly wrong, and she needed to find out what.

Everything had started out normally, she’d needed to explain what Mystable was, but once she had twilight had commiserated with her about the school’s reaction. It wasn’t until she’d started talking about the reaction of her former friends that things had gotten weird. When she’s told Twilight how they hadn’t believed her and had abandoned her, she’d been expecting Twilight to get a little bit angry on Sunset’s behalf and then to give her some advice on how to get through the situation, instead there had been no response except for the blotches that had slowly started appearing on the paper. It had taken Sunset almost a minute of staring at those slowly appearing blotches to realize that the book was reproducing tears. At that point a welling panic had drowned out her own unhappiness, and she had scribbled out a concerned query. The moment she’d seen the couple of squiggles that had been the entirety of the response she’d been up and out the door. While it had taken her some time to recognize the tears, the marks of a Unicorn who didn’t have enough control left to hold a quill steady were as plain as day to her.

As her panic rose, she’d run the last few stoplights before reaching the school. Now, seeing the statue I front of her, her jog sped up to an all-out run, a decision it took her a bare twelve seconds to regret as her muzzle’s sudden introduction to the cold, crystalline, floor reminded her just how tricky going from bipedal to quadrupedal was, even at a walk. Rubbing her bruised muzzle with one foreleg, she got her other legs under her and took a couple tentative steps. Once she was sure her legs weren’t about to betray her again, she began to trot towards the door.

Thinking back, she remembered Twilight had once described the view from her room. As soon as she reached a large room with windows on both sides she paused and oriented herself, “Assuming that’s the tree she describing, then that staircase looked like the best bet.” After several stops to reorient herself, and seven doors that turned out to simply lead to empty rooms, the faint sound of muffled sobs told her she’d finally found her destination. Several soft knocks on the door received no response, so with a glow of light green magic Sunset inched the door open.

Twilight was lying on her bed, curled into a tight little ball, her wings wrapped protectively around her as she cried quietly. Sunset didn’t even consciously decide to move, the next thing she knew she was just beside Twilight, nuzzling gently at one of her wings.

“What’s wrong?”

Her worry only grew as neither the nuzzling nor the question elicited a response.

With one final nuzzle, Sunset took a couple of steps back and turned towards the door.

“Just wait here. Everything’s going to be ok, I’m going to go get your friends and-”

“NO!”

With a burst of magenta magic, the door slammed shut so hard that cracks formed in the crystal. Sunset blinked and turned slowly back around. While tears still flowed freely from Twilight’s eyes, her expression had changed to one of absolute panic. Sunset stared at the terror-stricken mare as the pieces fell into place.

“Twilight, they're not the same people. Fluttershy Rarity and the rest, they made friends with you because they wanted to, because they liked you, not because someone asked them to. I am absolutely certain they would never-”

“They have.” The interjection was absolutely lifeless, and it stopped Sunset cold.

“What?”

“They have. You remember that I told you about my brother’s wedding and the changeling invasion?”

Sunset nodded “Yes, Chrysalis replaced Cadance, you and your friends realized what was going on and saved the day.”

“No.”

Sunset raised an eyebrow as Twilight’s voice trailed off.

“No,” Twilight repeated. “They didn’t believe me. They left me.”

By the time Twilight finished her story Sunsets eyes were wide, and her jaw was clenched as she felt rage flow through her.

“And why,” she asked as gently as she could manage. “didn’t you tell me the truth last time?”

“I didn’t remember!” Sunset jerked back from the sudden scream.

“I didn’t remember,” Twilight repeated more quietly. “that night I went into the archives and found a spell to alter my memories. That story I told you, that’s what I thought happened, but when I read about what happened to you, it all came crashing back.”

Sunset winced. “Ah,” she paused, then walked back to Twilight and nuzzled her side gently. “I’m not going to make light of what happened, they failed you, and hurt you badly in the process. At some point, I think you’ll need to have a long conversation with each of them about what really happened, but remember this, you’ve known them for years and only once have they ever-”

“But was it only once?”

Sunset blinked “what?”

“What if it wasn’t a onetime thing? I’d probably remember if they’d betrayed me like that again, but what other memories might I have changed so as that we could stay friends? How often have I had to change my own memory, once a year? Every month? How many of my favorite memories are lies I created so I wouldn’t lose my friends?”

Twilight paused for a moment, but started speaking again before Sunset could reply, fear filling her voice. “And what if, what if,”

Twilight paused again as her words trailed off, then took a deep breath and started again. “I’ve always been powerful, far more so than other Unicorns, but Celestia needed me to use the Elements of Harmony and defend Equestria. After that, I was a princess. Sunset, what if.”

Twilight once again failed to complete her question, but what she had asked had been enough. Sunsets remembered when she’d been a filly. She’d had more magic then anypony else she’d known. She’d been scared, scared that shed lose her temper and lash out at somepony, scared that she’d fumble a spell, scared because nopony she knew could protect themselves from her, let alone stop her. And above all, scared that she might someday accidentally end up,

“You’re scared that you might have killed somepony and that Celestia let you get away with it, and maybe even erased your memories about it, because the Elements of Harmony were needed to keep Equestria safe, and later, because you were a princess.”

Twilight eyes widened “How-”

Sunset mustered a slight grin. “Remember who you’re talking to, the only Pony alive who might understand those feelings as well as I do is Raven Inkwell, and she’s never been very willing to talk about her past.”

Twilight giggled slightly at the memory of how uncommunicative Celestia’s assistant could get, then she sobered as the situation at hoof came back to her. “Yes. I mean, think about it, my magic flared in a room full of colts and fillies who were applying for a place at CSGU, I collapsed the bucking roof.” Tears were starting to leak from her eyes again. “How likely is it, really, that not a single one of them was crushed by falling debris or fried by a burst of raw magic?”

Sunset opened her mouth, but Twilight plowed onward, not giving her a chance to get a word in.

“I remember a whole bunch of times when I damaged the castle, what if Celestia took away my memories of the times my mistakes hurt ponies because they’d interfere with my development.”

Sunset watched in horrified fascination as mane started to frazzle.

“And the Elements, what is we didn’t give them back to the tree because it was being attacked by vines, what if it took them back because our friendship was so fractured we couldn’t use them anymore. What is the table was meant to show us friendship problems, so we could learn from them and fix our friendship? And Tirek, what if he never escaped from Tartarus? What if someone accidently set the library on fire, I could have been the one who caused all that damage in a fit of rage after finding the charred remains. Andifthat’sthecasewhatifI”

Sunset pressed her hoof gently against Twilights mouth. “Firstly, I don’t think you have to worry about that last one, if you’d really gone on a rampage like that everypony would be terrified of you and they aren’t are they.”

“Well no. But-”

“No buts, you’re not Tirek, and it’s as simple as that. Now, as for your other concerns,” Sunset paused and rubbed a hoof against her temples. “I’m afraid we’ll have to take those seriously. But Twilight, I promise you this, we’ll get through this together, you saved me when I was at the lowest point in my life, and I promise, I’m going to be here for you.”

Twilight smiled weakly and wrapped a wing around Sunset. Moments later the wing tightened around her briefly, and Twilight let out a bitter laugh.

“What?”

“Just realizing that the low point you remember and the one I do might not be the same.”

Twilight looked up at Sunset, and sunset could see tears threatening to break free again. When Twilight spoke again it was in the most vulnerable voice Sunset had ever herd.

“I don’t like this Sunset, not knowing if I even really know the person I’m talking to. It’s scary, and it hurts.”

Sunset blinked several times, forcing her own tears back.

“Well Twilight, that’s one more point I can reassure you on. Luckily, almost all of our conversations are recorded in writing, in that book over there. As for the rest,”

Sunset paused for a moment, unsure if she was really willing to make the offer, to share something so personal. As se saw the combination of hope and fear in Twilight’s face, she made up her mind.

“As for the rest, I’m sure the Princess has warned you of the risks of living someone else’s memories too often, the danger that you’ll starting to think like them, luckily we’ve spent so little time physically together that those risks shouldn’t come into play. If you want, I’ll open my memories to you.”

Twilight’s mouth gaped, and she simply stared at sunset for a few moments.

“Thank you. I don’t, just thank you.” Twilight Paused for a moment then continued.

“Thank you, but no. You’re actually willing to open your memories, I have every reason to trust your honesty. Though, if you’d tell me what you remember about those encounters?”

Sunset smiled gently. “Well, it all started when I came to steal your crown.”

During the next two hours, as Sunset told her Twilight about their first meeting and about the battle of the bands, Twilight visibly relaxed.

“Thank Celestia.” Twilight breathed as Sunset finally stopped talking. “That’s what I remember as well.”

“Good.” Sunset smiled briefly, then settled a serious gaze onto the Alicorn sitting next to her.

“Now Twilight, the way I see it you have four problems. The first and most certain one is how your friends treated you at your brother’s wedding and how it’s going to affect your friendship with them. Second, what other things they may or may not have done to you that you don’t remember, and how those will affect the friendship. Third, what problems you may or may not have had with your magic, how you will avoid them in the future, and how they affect your relationship with Celestia if she altered your memories of them. Fourth, the possibility that memories you haven’t even considered have also been altered.”

Twilight nodded at each point Sunset made, then looked up at her hopefully as she finished. Sunset sighed as she looked into Twilight’s hopeful eyes, she had come up with a possible plan, an idea she’s played with for herself on the way home from Canterlot high, but she truly didn’t know how Twilight would react to it.

“I do have an idea Twilight, but understand, it just how I’d handle this, I’m not trying to push you into anything.”

Sunset paused, and Twilight nodded in understanding.

“Ok, first I would spend a bit of time away from your friends while you decide how to deal with problem one and discover if problem two even exists. I wouldn’t suggest Canterlot, as, if problem three proves to have substance, Celestia could pose a real problem. You’ll have to go over your memories, and given how many years of memories will need to be scanned that will take some time. I also wouldn’t suggest doing it on your own, someone experienced in using mind magic might include a compulsion that would make you overlook any false memory you find.”

Twilight’s fur seemed to take on a paler tone at Sunset’s final words, the idea clearly hadn’t even occurred to her.

“As I see it, that means you need to leave Ponyville for a while and spend some time with a pony you can trust who also knows mind magic. Now, with everybody convinced I’m Anon-I-Miss I’m not too eager to go back to Canterlot High. While I was Celestia’s student, I also had a bad habit of sneaking into restricted sections of the Canterlot archives and reading books I really wasn’t supposed to, including books about mind magic. So, here’s what I suggest, the two of us go on a bit of a trip. As Celestia’s students, we read any number of histories and cultural treatises, but we’ve almost never been beyond the borders of Equestria. Let’s do a bit of traveling while we give your head a thorough scan and see if we can find a new perspective on our problems from.”

Twilight sat silently for a few moments, emotions playing over her face to quickly for Sunset to follow, until, eventually, worry settled solidly into place.

“I don’t know. If it turns out I really don’t have as much control over my magic or my temper as I think I do, then things could get very bad. If I lost control-”

“Then I’d stop you.”

Twilight blinked. “Sunset, while I’m sure you’re a very skilled Unicorn, I’m an Alicorn, and that means-”

“That means you have more raw power than me. As I have told you, however, I had a bad habit of reading books I wasn’t supposed to, books on mind magic, unexpurgated histories of Equestria, books with the true history about Nightmare Moon and Luna, and most importantly, books of war magic that have been banned for the better part of a millennium. You may have more power than me, but I have far nastier ways to employ mine. Also, since your immortal, I won’t need to worry about killing you. Believe me, there are spells deep in the restricted section of the Canterlot archives that you’d be happier not knowing about, ones that would inflict tremendous pain while doing no physical damage, and others that only an alicorn would survive having cast on them, any one of them would keep you from focusing enough to cast a counterspell while I set up a stasis bubble around you. After that I’d drag your temporally frozen flanks straight to Celestia’s throne room and demand an explanation.”

Considering what she’d just basically threatened to do to her, Sunset almost laughed at the sudden look of hope spread across Twilight’s face.

“You really think you could?”

Sunset’s mind wandered for a moment, remembered some of the most pleasant nights of her time as Celestia’s student. Memories of slowly tearing apart another young Alicorns magical defenses and then coming up with the most creative of binding spells to cast on her played briefly behind her eyes. That, of course, lead to memories of what they’d done next, only for those to start to mixed with thoughts of fighting Twilight, and what could come after. Sunlight shook her head firmly, banished the thoughts, if not the resulting blush.

“Yes, I’m sure of it.”

A smile started to form on Twilight’s lips. “Oh, this is going to be great. We could visit the Zebra’s in the sea of grass, or Minitour archonate, or maybe even the land of dragons in the far south.”

Sunset listened, happy to see that Twilight seemed to have been distracted from her problems, and only occasionally added a suggestion to their possible itinerary. A yawn cut Twilight off as she was arguing with herself about whether going to see the palace of the Griffin’s great khan was a good idea or not. Sunset laughed gently at the faint blush that spread over Twilight’s face.

“You’ve had a rough day, so I suggest you take a nap while I go back through the mirror and gather my things. Oh, and would it be alright if I stored some stuff in an empty room somewhere? I’ve ended up with more things than can easily be kept in a saddlebag.”

“Of course, the castle has more space than I could ever hope to use, and considering what you’re offering to do for me, this is the least I can do.”

A grin played across Sunset’s face. “You mean you let anyone who threatens to kick your flank use your castle? Well, I guess that explains Starlight, though I’m surprised Chrysalis hasn’t turned a wing into her new hive yet.”

“What? No, I mean that,” Twilight paused as she saw Sunsets quirked lips, then chuckled. “Ok, you got me. So, any idea when we should leave?”

“Assuming I don’t take too long packing and that you let me help you pack when we get back, I’d say we could leave on the evening train.”

Twilight froze. “That soon, but what about preparation, checking and triple checking our packing lists to make sure we have everything? What about-“

“What about if one of your friends came over, are you ready to face them Twilight?”

A brief look of panic crossed Twilight's face before she took a deep breath and sighed.

“You’re right, I’m not ready for that. Do you think-“

Twilights words were cut off by a huge yawn, and Sunset smiled down at the Alicorn resting on the bed.

“I think you should get some rest Twilight. Worry about whatever else is on your mind after you’ve gotten some sleep.”

Twilight grinned weakly. “It’s usually Spike who tells me that.” Twilight paused and blushed faintly. “But with everything that I have to think about, I’m not sure I can. So, um, Sunset, would you mind?”

Sunset nodded even as Twilights question trailed off, unfinished. Stretching her neck forward, she gently placed her horn against Twilight’s as she prepared to cast Silverwind’s Somnolence Summoner.


“Just a second.”

Starlight barely resisted the urge to blast her door and whoever happened to have picked such an inopportune time to knock on it. Taking a deep breath, she rolled off her bed and took a moment to cast Moonblossom’s Meditative mind, thankful once again that she’d found that copy of Misty Morning’s book in Twilight’s library. As her anger, as well as a number of other distracting feelings, became distant and unimportant things, she walked towards the door, only to pause just before opening it to cast a couple more spells. As the moisture on her horn vanished and the room's scent was altered to the pleasant smell of blooming lilies, Starlight opened the door.

Looking out of her room, her eyes widened. While she had already guessed it was Twilight at her door, the saddlebags strapped to her back and the yellow and orange pony behind her came as a surprise, as did the fact that Spike was riding on her back inside the castle.

“I’m sorry, did I interrupt something?”

Starlight mentally thanked Moonblossom for the spell that allowed her to keep her face blank as Twilight asked her question.

“Oh no, just getting a bit of rest after having a bit of trouble with a spell.”

Twilight smiled in relief, and even with the spell Starlight struggled to keep a matching smile from spreading across her face. The struggle abruptly became much easier as a knowing smirk played across Sunsets face. Turning slightly so she could look at whatever the other Unicorn was looking at, her eyes played briefly over the starry hat and cape that sat on her nightstand, finally coming to rest on the tip of a horn that protruded just over the bed’s concealing bulk.

“I’ll be quick so you can get some rest then. I had a favor to ask you, I’m going on a bit of a trip and I was hoping you’d agree to be the acting princess of friendship while I was gone.”

Starlight blinked, momentarily dumbstruck. “Ok, but where will you be?”

“There’s a, friendship problem, one that Sunset and I need to work on, and I think this one might take a while to fix. I trust you Starlight, more than anyone else in Ponyville, and I know you can handle this.”

Starlight stood up straighter as Twilight’s words sank in. “Thank you Twilight, I won’t let you down, and I know you’ll come up with some clever way to fix the friendship problem before you know it.”

The worried look that played across Twilight's face as she said her goodbyes told Starlight that she had her doubts about that. As she turned to reenter her room, an impulse hit her, and she'd cast a spell to enhance her hearing before she had time to think about it.

“not sure that was a good idea.”

“A teacher has to know her student, both the good and the bad, I wouldn’t compromise that relationship. She has the title, the table, and friends to help her, what could possibly go wrong?”

“Celestia, why would you say that Twilight”?”

“What do you, oh come on that’s just a silly superstition, how could a question possibly,”

As Twilight’s words faded into inaudibility, Starlight let both spells fade and reentered her room, shutting the door.

“You’re terrible at hiding.”

The words contained more humor than accusation and the blue Unicorn snorted as she stood up from behind the bed.

“Well, of course, Trixie is simply too great and powerful to go unnoticed.”

Starlight chuckled as she hopped back onto the bed and pulled Trixie into a tight hug. Her attention was soon far to firmly fixed on her great and powerful marefriend to hear the softly echoing call of “Cutie mark crusaders, castle explorers.”

Author's Note:

For some reason there were a bunch of interactions in this chapter that just did not sound right to me no matter how many times I changed them. while a couple of things still do sound a bit off to me, that might just be because of how often I’ve changed them, the way a word stops sounding right after you’ve said it enough times. If anything does sound wrong to you, leave a comment and I’ll take another look at it. On the bright side, this chapter is not the only thing I’ve written since the last update, I’m also working on a second story that’s been rattling about in my head for quite some time now. Since this other story has far more action and drama than this one, I’ve decided to wait until the entire first arc is complete before releasing anything, then post a chapter every other day instead of leaving you with cliffhanger after cliffhanger. So, if you enjoy my writing than that’s something for you to look forward to. Also, while I can’t promise a truly quick release of the next chapter, I think I can promise that there won’t be as long a wait as there was for this one.