• Published 30th Sep 2018
  • 3,225 Views, 282 Comments

Her Sunlit Lineage - Graglithan The Greater

Sunset takes a trip back home to visit family, and learns more than she thought she would.

  • ...

Rainboom Reflections

~Meanwhile, in Canterlot City~

After Sunset had headed into the portal, and the Rainbooms all went home to do their own things, Rainbow Dash was left in the worst possible situation. She was alone with absolutely nothing to do, and her motivation to do anything was tanking just as fast.

This had left her lying in her bed, staring up at the ceiling blankly.

Rainbow had tried playing some video games, only to feel so little excitement she just ended up dying in-game repeatedly to even the easiest of enemies. She pulled out the Daring Do books she owned, but her mind kept wandering away from the story after a few words, and Rainbow would find herself still staring at the same page she started at. Even playing soccer in her backyard did nothing to help.

For Bow Hothoof, soccer star extraordinaire, this was somewhat worrying.

Just this morning, his girl was feeling just fine. She’d told him that she was going to go and hang out with her friends for the day. His confusion and surprise were laced with his worry when he saw her come back in a funk, motivation gone.

Which brought Bow to where he stood now, just outside his daughter’s room. “Uh, hey Dashe-kins. Would you like some dinner? I made your favorite spaghetti!”

Rolling over, Rainbow stared out her bedroom window. “No thanks.”

Bow frowned and let out a sigh. “Alright. Let me know when you’re feeling hungry?” When Rainbow grunted in response, Bow closed the door and headed back to the kitchen, a dejected gaze in his eyes. “Windy, how I wish you were here right now.”

Alone once more, Rainbow rolled onto her other side and sat up in bed. Her eyes lazily moved over the room before she stopped at the sight of her closet. Getting up, she headed over and pulled it open. At first glance, it would look like anyone would expect, with sports shirts and pants hanging in a haphazard disgrace to organized sorting.

Those didn’t interest Rainbow at the moment. What did, was the box that was tucked away in the upper corner. One that she’d managed to hide from even her parents and planned on keeping it that way.

Inside, was a collection of items she deemed worthy of such secrecy. From embarrassing momentoes of moments she enjoyed but didn’t want to get out that she did, to the newest additions to her collection. Daring Do books from Equestria were cool and all, but like her actual copies from her world, didn't interest her at the moment. Pushing them to the side, she pulled out her target. If you could only see the top, you’d wonder what Rainbow would be keeping a glass jar for.

The question was one quickly answered by the sight of its contents, for within the glass was a small, self-sustaining stormcloud. Not big enough to cause damage, but not low enough to dissipate by Equestrian standards. On the side, there was a note from Rainbow's counterpart; one she took the time to read, every instant she pulled her souvenier out.

Loyalty is like Lightning.

It’s Fast, Flashy, and Fierce, but it also can hurt somepony if you’re not careful.

So remember who your friends are.

A sigh escaped Rainbow as she gently smacked her head into the jar, getting a small bolt to jump an zap against the glass. “The other me sure knows how to give a pep talk.” Setting the jar on her desk, Rainbow sat down and stared at the little arcs of lightning dancing across the dark grey cloud. “If loyalty’s so fast, where was mine a month ago?”

Putting the jar back in her closet, Rainbow went back to her bed and flopped down, missing as a wisp of magic phased through the shoebox and disappeared inside.

In another home elsewhere in the city, Rarity stared at her sketch pad. For hours, she had been trying to come up with the perfect design to utilize the fabrics given to her. The fabric bolts in question were busy collecting dust off to the side of her room, gems glinting in the light. Her counterpart had been generous when giving them to her. There was a bolt for every color she could think of needing, especially with a friend like Rainbow. “If that girl would just let me design an outfit for her, she’d probably shake the impression the school had on her sexuality.”

With a sigh, she shook her head. “No. Focus Rarity. We’re working on the apology dress for Sunset, not getting Rainbow’s public image straightened out.” Resolve regained, the fashionista turned back to her sketch pad.

Its blank pages stared back.

With a frustrated groan, Rarity let her face land upon the pages with a resounding thud. “Why? Why can’t I think of anything!?” Her sketch pad was thrown from the desk in her frustration as she stood.

The door squeaked as it was opened slightly, and Sweetie poked her head in. “Rarity? Is everything okay?”

Rarity turned to respond but paused when she saw the nervous look in Sweetie’s eyes. Several emotions warred for a moment within her heart, before settling on guilt. Not wanting to scare her sister more, Rarity gave a gentle smile as she tried to calm herself down with a hand over her own heart. “I’m fine Sweetie, just, suffering from an artist block at the moment.”

“Oh.” Sweetie looked at the floor for a moment before risking a glance back to her sister’s sketch pad, which now was strewn in the far corner of the room. An idea came to mind, but she was a touch hesitant before sticking her head a little further into the room. “Would you like to come and watch some TV?”

Normally when upset, Rarity wouldn’t accept and would continue focusing on her work rather than join in watching television. Even when frustrated, Rarity was usually able to pump out ideas left and right with blocks being only an occasional bump in the road. Even on especially bad days, Rarity was under the notion that cartoons were for children and did little to help with relieving one’s woes.

Normally, Rarity wasn’t thinking about the sight of Sunset crying on her knees in the middle of the school hallway, and how it was her fault.

Smiling through her inner turmoil, Rarity nodded. “I’ll be down in a bit.” The sight of Sweetie smiling and heading downstairs sent a small spike through her heart that forced her to grimace at the feeling. Her gaze moved to the sketchpad, where one of the previous attempts could be seen from the fallen pages. “Oh, Sunset... I want to give something to you, to make up for what I did. So why is it that all my attempts at generosity fall so dismally short?”

Leaving the room, she missed the magic floating in through the window and engulfing the bolts of fabric, before fading away.

The walk home with Twilight had been relaxing. The cold air, the friendly banter about how she planned on uncovering Celestia’s age, all of the words that flew over Fluttershy’s head, it just helped ease her thoughts, even if only until she got back to her house.

And especially after she entered the building.

Fluttershy sighed as she looked at the state of her home. Once neat and organized, there was now a trail of various stains on the floor. Following the path of culinary death, lead her to the sight of her brother Zephyr cooking... something.

The scent alone was enough to make her cringe. “U-um, Zephyr? What are you making?”

Looking over his shoulder, Zephyr smiled a bit. “Oh, hey Flutterbutter! I was just reinventing how to prepare some food for dinner.”

Fluttershy looked down at the skillet in his hands, a suppressed a shudder. “It’s um... nice?”

Nice was not the word. While sauteeing the onions, Zephyr had somehow managed to reduce them to a brown paste. On top of that, what other ingredients that had once been in the meal were either burned to ash or cooked to the point of joining the onion in mush city.

Zephyr didn’t seem to think it was so sad though and moved it into a bowl. “I read that this method of caramelizing onions is far better than the old way.”

I think several studies would beg to differ. Fluttershy felt a twinge go through her body at the thought, before sighing. “Um, Zephyr, maybe you should--”

Zephyr instantly threw the pan of food away and started going through the fridge again. “You’re right, I definitely should try something else. Sauteeing onions ain’t anything new, and I’m honestly too awesome to be bothered to cook anything.” Grabbing a carrot, Zephyr left the fridge open as he walked to the living room and flopped on the couch. “I take it you’re cool with cooking for the both of us big sis?”

Fluttershy’s eye twitched as she took a deep breath. “Zephyr. We talked about this. You need to start learning how to take care of yourself.”

Zephyr blew a raspberry at the thought. “Oh please, I got all the comfort I’ll need right here at home.” The lanky teal teenager scratched at his pitiful amount of facial hair, barely even qualifying as a coat of peach fuzz, that he refused to learn how to shave off.

For how long though? A sigh escaped Fluttershy as she walked into her family kitchen. Collecting and cleaning all of the pots and pans that Zephyr had made a mess of, she could feel a vein throb. I really wish Zephyr would just grow up already. He’s not even that much younger than me, and I’m almost old enough to move out!

The tone her thoughts carried made the same twinge from before have a second go at her. With a sigh, she rubbed her face and thought about the dream catcher she got from her counterpart. Despite what she had said, Fluttershy knew that those primaries were not any that fell out naturally. Even though it had to have hurt to pull out her feathers like that, she still did it just to make sure her gift was just right.

Her thoughts moved to Sunset, and how seeing her smile and be happy usually warmed her heart. Why couldn’t I be kind like that when it would have mattered most?

Had she been upstairs, the magic gently merging with her dreamcatcher would have been hard to miss.

Pinkie’s eye was twitching as she glared at the cookbook before her. Never before had a pastry been able to beat her, yet here she stood unable to complete the recipe she thought, no, the recipe she knew would be needed to cheer her friends up. But batch after batch had come out looking somewhere in the spectrum of undercooked, burnt, or this unholy halfway where the center was mush, but the outside was char.

“It's just, flipping, CUPCAKES!” Pinkie screamed as she flipped the latest batch of failures into the garbage, totaling her attempts at somewhere between thirty and forty. “How am I messing up!? I’m an awesome baker!” Her hair deflated a bit, and her frown turned from one of fury to sadness. “Aren’t I?”

Sighing, she went back to her kitchen’s island counter and slumped against the cold marble, despite it being littered with the remnants of her prior attempts. On the countertop, propped up with a few other books, was the cookbook she got from her counterpart. “Maybe I skipped a step? No, I know I read it all and did everything the book said.”

And she had. Several times in fact. “Guaranteed to give a pony a smile,” it said.

All Pinkie wanted it to say was the secret to making these darn cupcakes.

Pinkie turned away from the book towards her equipment. “Did I mismeasure something? No, I’m the best at measurements. Oven temp? No, it can’t be that.” Amidst the cracked eggshells and milk jugs, her hair fell limp around her, only barely holding onto its curls. “What am I doing wrong?”

“Pinkie.” The pink girl jumped in surprise, flailing wildly as she fell back onto the floor. From her prone and somewhat worrying spot on the floor, she looked up at Maud, who looked back down. “It is almost time for dinner.”

Gasping, Pinkie shot to her feet and pressed her hands into her cheeks. “I’ve been so busy trying to get this recipe right that I forgot to make dinner!”

Maud casually put a hand on her sister’s shoulder and kept her from running into a frenzy of cooking. “It is alright. I ordered pizza.”

“Oh...” Sitting back down, Pinkie slumped with a dejected sigh. “Sorry for making you have to do that Maud. Limey’s probably mad about it too, isn’t she?”

Maud didn’t seem fazed by the statement, though that would be a given when talking with the Persian-bluish-grey girl. Instead, she sat down next to Pinkie and put a hand on her shoulder. “You seem troubled.”

“I am.” Pinkie’s hair lost the fight and its curls in one pitiful sound of a deflating balloon. “Sunset said she trusted all of us even after how we all left her and now the girls are all mopey and sad and I wanted to do something to cheer them up and make them all laugh but I can’t get the recipe that the other Pinkie gave me right and now I even messed up dinner and I can’t do anything right.”

“That’s not true.” Maud gave her sister’s head a gentle pet. “You always know just how to make a person smile, and always have a bright smile of your own.” A small smile graced her lips as Maud continued to brush her hand through her sister’s hair. “You just need some time to rest and let yourself frown. No one smiles all the time. You and your friends just need some time to yourselves.”

Sniffling, Pinkie nodded into her sister’s hand before pressing her face into Maud’s shoulder. “Thanks, Maud. You’re the best sister ever.” She continued to cry into her sister’s shirt before Pinkie started to nod off from the exhaustion of making thirty to forty batches of cupcakes in rapid succession on top of crying her eyes dry.

Maud just lifted her sister’s slumbering form and carried Pinkie to her room. This wasn’t the first time Pinkie had baked herself into slumber, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. It was as the pink girl slumbered that a bouncing ball of magic landed in her mini-party cannon and rolled down the barrel.

Applejack sat on her porch, staring out at the trees her family prided themselves on. Each tall apple tree stood proudly amongst their kin, waiting for the cold weather to fade and spring to come in full force. For Applejack, it was a time when she had little work compared to the rest of the year. Little work, left more time to think.

The thinking part was unfortunately what she was doing right then, even if she didn’t want to.

Her eyes were boring straight through the woods and harvest, landing somewhere in oblivion. Applejack’s mind, however, was replaying the same moments over and over again.

You’re our friend.

Spread all the secrets you want, we don’t have to listen!

I trust you.

Applejack sighed as she rested her eyes and let her head fall onto the porch banister. “Sweet merciful lord, how am Ah supposed to respond ta that?”

“Respond to what?” Looking up, Applejack saw her little sister standing in the front door looking confused.

Waving a hand, Applejack turned back to the trees. “It’s nothin’, Bloom. Head on inside.”

“AJ, yer the worst at lyin’.” Sitting down next to her sister, Applebloom frowned with worry.

“Yeah, Ah guess Ah am.” Applejack chuckled dryly, before taking off her hat. “Lot of stuff’s been going on lately, and Ah learned a lot about Sunset in the process.” Turning to her sister, the older farm girl smiled sorrowfully. “Did ya’ll know she never knew her ma?”

“She didn’t?” Applebloom’s eyes widened before she found herself frowning in thought. “Wow, Ah never would have thought.”

“Neither did Ah.” Taking a moment to breathe, Applejack idly rubbed her knuckles. “She only grew up with her pa, and that stopped when she went to be a really high up student or something with her world’s ruler.”

“Well, that explains why she was all high and mighty since she showed up.” Applebloom raised an eyebrow for a moment before frowning. “She musta been really lonely...”

“Yeah.” Applejack and Applebloom both sat in silence, staring off into the orchard. The peace wasn’t disturbed by either for some time. They simply sat there, processing the information or going over it all again in their heads. It was the older sister that broke the silence after some time. “Want to know the worst part?”

“Huh?” Applebloom turned to her sister, worry in her eyes.

“Just this morning, Sunset went back to Equestria.”

“WHAT!?” Applebloom stood up and stared at her sister in shock. “B-But why would she do that!?”

“She’s going to go visit her pa.” Applejack looked tired, now that Applebloom got a good look at her eyes. “As Sunset was leavin’, she said she trusted us to take care of everything while she was gone.” A wry chuckle escaped the farm girl. “Can Y'all believe that? After everything we did to her, she still trusts us.” Applebloom’s eyes remained wide as she stood there, rendered dumbstruck by the way her sister had reacted. “Ah don’t think Ah deserve it, honestly.” Applejack turned back to the orchard, looking older than she was. “Ah certainly wouldn’t give myself the time of day if’n Ah had that happen ta me.”

Applebloom found herself looking down at her shoes. “Yer not the only one who messed up sis.”

A sigh escaped the older farm girl as she stood up to move closer to her sister. “Bloom, for the last time, Ah already for--”

“It ain’t that!” Applejack jumped back at the shout with a flinch, even as Applebloom hastily covered her mouth. The little farm girl hadn’t intended to yell, but she couldn’t back down now, even if she couldn’t meet her sister’s gaze. “It ain’t that, AJ. Ah know ya forgave me, but that doesn’t make me feel any less guilty. And Ah am guilty, whether or not ah like it.”

Kneeling down, Applejack smiled at her sister, using a hand to make her look up into her eyes. “Ah guess that makes two of us then.” The two sisters hugged it out, both feeling sorry for the other. They stayed that way for a time, before breaking it up and heading for the door. “Now, let’s head on inside and call it a night. Those saplings have been growin’ like weeds, n’ if they keep it up, Ah’ll need yer help ta plant them all come tomorrow.”


As the two apple sisters headed inside, a single wisp of magic moved into their barn and merged with something within.

Twilight liked to believe she was an excellent academic. The task of finding out someone’s age was a trivial one. Just some cross-referencing from file to file and, possibly maybe, delving into sections of documents that most definitely were likely private. But that was illegal, so she was taking the less dubious route and checking the locations such information would be readily available.

Closing yet another tab in her internet’s browser, Twilight rubbed her tired eyes and leaned back into her seat. “How? How can it be this hard to learn how old someone is!?”

She had checked the CHS website and got one age, then to doublecheck she went through any social media profiles and found several more pieces of information that didn’t match. More so, none of the ages could be anywhere near accurate! There was entirely no way that Celestia was older than Granny Smith, not when she looked like she was only just reaching her thirties!

Was magic involved? No, that can’t be it. Sunset only got here a few years ago. If it were magic, Celestia would have had to be exposed much earlier, and also have an incredibly specific result as a consequence of contact.

Spike yawned from the bed. “Can’t you just save this for later, Twilight? It’s late and I’m tired.”

Twilight looked at the clock and winced a bit at the reading of 11:30. “Your right Spike. I need to get to sleep if I’m going to get to CHS on time tomorrow.” Shutting her computer down, Twilight stretched and yawned as she climbed into bed, and Spike moved to curl up next to her. "Still... why would Celestia keep her age hidden like this?"

Rolling his eyes, Spike huffed. "Maybe she just doesn't want to have a cake covered in way too many candles? I've seen how mom always has to force a smile when Dad cracks those forest fire jokes."

"I doubt it's that Spike." Twilight couldn’t help but smile at the puppy. He always had an innocent way of looking at things, especially now that he could speak his mind. "But you're right. I can save this for later."

As Twilight got ready for bed, she remembered all the events that led up to Spike being able to talk. Finding the strange readings, going to CHS, meeting all of the girls who became her friends.

Becoming Midnight Sparkle.

She shuddered for a moment, taking a moment to look and see if she’d disturbed Spike before reaching down and petting him. The feeling that the magic had filled her with had been indescribable at first. Now that she had some time to think back on it, shocking, burning, freezing and painful were the choice words she’d use. Feelings she felt a twinge of from her eyes, and a whisper in her head.

You won’t be rid of me.

Twilight shook her head and dispelled the thoughts as best she could, before thinking of something else that had happened that night. The one event that helped save her.

Take my hand, Twilight.

In stark contrast to being transformed, Sunset’s magic helping change her back had been warm, comforting, and soothing. It helped save her from that icy grip that had consumed her and gave her something she never knew she had needed in the first place.


Twilight tried to keep the image of her savior in her head, and her eyes moved to the journal that remained on her desk. Getting a new resolve in her tired eyes, Twilight smiled. “I won’t let you down, Sunset.” Another yawn broke free before she blushed. “Just... after some sleep first.”

As she slumbered that night, a trail of magic moved through her room and floated around aimlessly for a moment, as if confused as to where it could find something to touch. It then started to move towards the pair of glasses sitting on the desk, splitting in two and merging with each lens.

Author's Note:

And he's the second half of the writing spree, now that it's been polished up and edited.