• Published 2nd Oct 2018
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Joy In The Morning - PoemeMystique

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Sunlight at Dusk

Sunset Shimmer arrived at Twilight’s house at around sunset, which was something it occasionally amused her to do. It was definitely only herself she was amusing, since her friend never noticed things like that. Twilight Sparkle knew the length of Planck time, the triple point of formic acid, and the principles whereby stars were classified, but she frequently didn’t know what day it was, or even, during school holidays, whether it was morning or evening.

On being let in and ushered up the stairs, Sunset found Twilight sitting at a desk stacked even higher than usual with books and notes.

“Hey,” she greeted her.

“Sunset! Hi!” Twilight beamed. Her smile was so warm and genuine that it made Sunset feel somehow lighter on her feet.

“What’s got you so stoked?” she asked, smiling back.

“Do you really need to ask?” grunted Spike sleepily from a recumbent position at the end of the bed.

“I’ve been given a list of extra-curricular reading!” squeaked Twilight, practically bouncing up and down in her seat. She waved a stapled document at Sunset excitedly. “It has one hundred twenty items! Almost all of which can be got from the library.”

“So you went and got them all, huh?” said Sunset, looking at the teetering pile of books.

“Of course not, Sunset,” laughed Twilight. “I wouldn’t just go and bring one hundred twenty books home, that would be crazy!”

“Oh no?” said Sunset with a wry grin.

“No, the first thing I did was list them in priority order, obviously. Then I ascertained which ones were available and which not, and then I went to the library. I’m going to read them in batches of twenty, which is the maximum number I can withdraw at once. I’m about to finish the first batch. It’s so exciting!”

“Who gave you that?”

“Dr Turner. He’s such a great history teacher. We’re doing the Reneighssance in class, and he just makes it come to life. It’s as if he’d seen it all with his own eyes. It’s not something I’ve ever had much interest in – in fact, I’ve never really had to study it before; they let me join the pure science track at Crystal Prep – but now I’m starting to realise how much fun it can be.”

“I hope this doesn’t mean a last-minute change to your college plans. ‘Cos I should warn you, Twi, no-one respects liberal arts majors. Literally no-one. Not even other liberal arts majors.”

“I know. No, this is just a side interest. But every branch of knowledge has value, Sunset. If I’m honest, I’ve neglected some of them up to now. I want to broaden my horizons a bit.”

“It looks like you’ve broadened them enough for one day. Want to go for a walk round the block?”



Outside, darkness was falling fast. It was a very warm spring, and the crispness of the evening air came as a blessed relief after some stifling days. The leafy suburban neighbourhood where Twilight lived was peaceful at this hour; little traffic went by as they strolled along the sidewalks. Between the cones of light cast by streetlamps, they could see bats dipping and soaring against the indigo sky. They were right on the edge of town, where it began to give way to fields and copses.

The calm of the twilight hour made them not want to talk much. They had been walking in silence for some time when Twilight seized Sunset’s hand and pointed into a nearby tree. Upon a branch was a small, dim shape. A pair of huge yellow eyes were fixed upon them. Sunset was spooked for a second, until headlights from a distant car flicked over the tree and briefly illuminated a majestic barred owl.

“Look, Sunset. Isn’t he handsome? Hi there!”

“Hoo?” said the owl.

“If only Fluttershy were here,” said Twilight. “What are you saying, Mr Owl?”

“Maybe we don’t want to know,” Sunset teased. “I’ve heard owls are real grouchy first thing in the evening. Perhaps he got out of bed the wrong side.”

Twilight snorted with laughter, and the owl took flight and disappeared into the gathering dark.

“No offence!” Sunset called after it.

“Hoo! None taken!” hooted Twilight, making them both giggle.

They walked on.

“The Owl of Manerva takes flight at dusk,” said Twilight reflectively, apparently quoting something.

“Manerva?”

“Manerva was the goddess of wisdom in ancient mythology. I was reading about that earlier. The owl was her symbol. ‘The Owl of Manerva takes flight at dusk’ is a saying. It means you don’t fully understand something until… it’s nearly gone.”

Twilight’s face fell slightly as what she had said sunk in. Sunset, naturally empathetic, noticed immediately, took Twilight’s hand and squeezed it comfortingly.

“I know what you’re thinking. Don’t worry about it. The day when you fully understand something, especially something as complex as human beings – or, you know, ponies – never comes. Whether they’re in the ancient past, or right there in front of you. You keep learning all your life.”

“Thanks, Sunset,” smiled Twilight. “I didn’t mean to get all deep.”

They walked on in companionable silence for a bit.

“It’s such a lovely thought, isn’t it?” said Twilight after a while. “You keep learning all your life.”

“I guess it is, yeah.”

“I was just reading about the Reneighssance humanists as you came in…”

“Sorry, enlighten me,” interjected Sunset. “I’ve never got to grips with this world’s history.”

“They were like early scientists, hundreds of years ago. They believed in the power of humanity to learn everything in the universe – just for the sake of learning, not because it supported anyone’s agenda. They thought we could make the world perfect through knowledge, if only we had enough time to study. I love that idea: that it’s all out there, and it’s all ours.”

“There’s more to life than knowledge, Twilight. You know that, right?”

“I know, Sunset. And I know it’s not having the knowledge, it’s what you do with it that counts – and who you share it with. Yeah, that lesson kinda sunk in.”

“Sorry. I trust you, Twilight. Completely. But from anyone else, it might make me anxious, hearing that stuff about remaking the world. They say ‘knowledge is power’ for a reason. It’s very easy to slip from wanting one into wanting the other. I speak from experience!”

“I’m not going to go all Midnight Sparkle on you girls again. You yourself showed me that. Don’t worry.”

“I’m not worried. In fact, I’m glad to see you this happy again. And confident! I haven’t seen you like this since well before Camp Everfree. It must be great to get that pumped from reading books!”

Twilight’s peal of laughter made Sunset smile without quite knowing why.

“I mean, not that I’m averse to reading the odd book myself now and again,” she clarified. “Just not about this world’s ancient history. That leaves me cold.”

“Oh, Sunset,” said Twilight, “it’s not the books making me happy. Well, it is; I mean, they are super-interesting – the one I’m reading now contains everything you could possibly want to know about the early development of academic citation systems! – but it’s mostly not the books. It’s mostly you.”

“Me?”

“And the others,” Twilight said hurriedly, grateful for the darkness that concealed her sudden blush. “I’ve never been so happy as I have been since I met you. Even with all the magical craziness. It was like waking up after a bad dream, and finding it’s morning, and the sun’s shining, and all my friends are outside waiting – friends I never thought I’d make. And that pretty much is what I do these days: I wake up each morning and feel this… this joy, I suppose. From knowing it’s another day when I’ll see you again. I’ve never been happy at all before, really. Not compared to this.”

“Wow, Twilight. Are you serious?”

“Yes. And it makes everything I already had – my books, my family, Spike – seem even better than before. Like they’re reflecting all the happiness back at me, twice as strong.”

“That’s so good to hear.” Sunset halted, and stopped Twilight with a hand on her shoulder, before wrapping her in a hug. She found herself a bit choked up.

“I had that too, you know,” Sunset smiled, blinking the tears away before they could fall. “They saved me, those girls. And now you too. Isn’t that something? Both of us happier than ever.”

“Because we’ve found where we belong…”

“Together,” murmured Sunset, completing the thought.

Neither of them felt like breaking away from the hug, so they stood there in each other’s arms for a while, bathed in a streetlamp’s warm light, which made Sunset’s hair glow golden and Twilight’s jet-black. There was a breathless hush. Far away, the owl called. Sunset laughed softly.

“This is going to sound weird, because how long have we known each other? About two months? But it’s true anyway. I love you, Twilight Sparkle. I just wanna put that out there.”

“I love you too, Sunset,” Twilight replied – calmly, as one at peace.

They shared a kiss, there under the streetlamp in the cool quiet of evening; and nothing more needed to be said. Then they walked onwards along the road that led home, holding hands; each girl loving the day that was ending, and looking forward to seeing what new happiness tomorrow would bring.

Comments ( 12 )

That was a cute story. Good job.

D'aww! That was very sweet. I like how when Sunset said how she feels, it wasn't a big nervous proclamation, it was just a natural utterance that fit with the moment.

Also, it's as if Dr Turner had seen the Reneighssance with his own eyes, eh? How about that. :trixieshiftright::pinkiehappy:

9212026
Yep! Dr Turner has always been a favourite of the girls, with his snazzy bow tie and silly taste in hats, as well as his encyclopaedic knowledge of history. They're all very supportive of his upcoming reassignment surgery, too.

Thanks for the kind words!

What's a hugbox story?

9213011
It's a term I borrowed from Derpibooru. It means nice and comforting; the opposite of sadbox. Apparently it can have a dismissive connotation, but I didn't mean it to for this.

Why Manerva as opposed to Minerva?

9223708
It's supposed to be pronounced Mane err vuh, in keeping with the horsey theme, but I couldn't figure out how to spell that. Maneerva looks like it should be pronounced Man ear vuh, and I didn't want to hyphenate it, so Manerva it had to be.

Sunny and Twi on a nice walk, and the story ends with a confession and a kiss. I love that. :)

GAAAAH! Fluffy SciSet cuteness! And an Owlowiscious cameo! X3

This story deserves morrrreeee

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