• Published 15th Nov 2018
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The Girl Who Orbited the Sun - Dee Pad



When a newly-crowned Twilight Sparkle finds an old book hidden away in the royal archives, she discovers a piece of her mentor's past she had never been told about. And the more she read, the more questions arose. Just who was Sunset Shimmer?

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Chapter 21 - Sunset

The Girl Who Orbited the Sun
By Dee Pad
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Chapter 21: Sunset

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Princess Celestia stared up into the morning sky she had ushered in, watching as the violet of night transitioned to the orange of dawn. In short time, the orange would shift to the more signature blue that the sky was known for, then, after that, her people would wake from their beds and begin their daily routines under the warm embrace of Celestia's sun.

But she could take no enjoyment in it.

No matter how much pride she took in raising the sun for her subjects every morning, lately she just couldn't muster the energy to be positive. There was too much on her mind, her sleep had been restless, and so many memories that had long lay dormant were suddenly swirling around in her mind like a whirlwind.

Celestia found herself wondering when this torment would end. All of this was supposed to be behind her, but now it had been unearthed and the wounds reopened. To make matters worse, her "faithful" student had lost her faith in her. All of her past mistakes were coming back to bite her all at once, and the guilt weighed heavily on her conscience. Not only was her own mind in turmoil, but the revelation of her past had had a drastic effect on Twilight, as well. Celestia was afraid—but not entirely surprised—that all of this had scarred Twilight too deeply, perhaps beyond repair. She was worried that now she would have two students whose lives she'd ruined.

Celestia couldn't stare at her sun any longer. Just the sight of it brought back one of the most painful memories of her past now that she had been reminded of it. She returned to her chambers, shutting the balcony doors behind her and drawing the curtains. On any normal day, Celestia would now head down to the throne room to go over the day's schedule with her advisers and get some breakfast. But today, she had no appetite, and lacked the focus to discuss her itinerary; she didn't even bother to don her golden regalia. So instead, she opted to lay down on the plush rug in the middle of her study. This was where she would normally lay with a cup of tea and a good book, snuggled up against the long, curved pillow that hugged her sleek body and simply enjoy the peace and quiet. But now, she sat in quiet contemplation, letting her guilt and regret fester as she wallowed in her self-pity. Her elegant fireplace was unlit, and the sun was blocked out by the curtains, allowing no warmth into the room. Fitting, as it matched the level of warmth she felt in her chest.

The princess had entertained the idea of going to confront Twilight about this, but even if she did, would she listen? The last time she'd seen her, Twilight was furious. There was little chance that she'd be willing to hear her out when she'd clearly already made up her mind about what she believed to be the case. Of course, Celestia knew there was more to it than what Twilight had known at the time, but by now her former student must have figured that out. Still, she couldn't get Twilight's tone and expression out of her mind. The belligerence she'd exhibited was unlike anything she'd seen from her before, but she couldn't exactly blame her; Celestia had acted much the same when she found Twilight with the book. She was worried about exactly how this was going to affect Twilight. How was this information going to change Twilight's life? However it did, Celestia knew that it was all her fault. She only wished she had had a chance to apologize.

Celestia was suddenly shaken from her thoughts by a quiet knocking on her chamber door. She hesitated to respond. She was supposed to have gone to the throne room by now, so it was likely that one of her attendants had come to see if she was alright. But she was in no state of mind to attend her royal duties right now. As irresponsible as it was, she contemplated sending them away so that she could have her privacy.

"Princess?"

Celestia's eyes widened. She thought she was hearing things for a moment. She could have sworn that that was Twilight Sparkle's voice coming through the door. Celestia wanted to respond, but wasn't sure how. Should she be concerned? Should she be aloof? Upset? Welcoming? She couldn't figure out how she was supposed to feel.

The door slowly cracked open with a quiet creak, and the lavender face and dark purple mane of Equestria's newest princess poked inside. Celestia was surprised to see the look of great trepidation on Twilight's face, like she was afraid of her. Given their last encounter, she didn't expect to see Twilight again for quite some time, let alone without the anger and indignity she had worn.

"Can I come in?"

Again, the quiet pensiveness in her voice was unnerving to Celestia, but she had a feeling she knew why Twilight's demeanor had shifted so dramatically. It seemed they'd reached the crux of the issue finally.

Celestia inhaled a long breath through her nostrils to prepare herself for this, letting it out again slowly. She looked Twilight in the eyes apologetically and nodded.

Twilight stepped inside, gently shutting the door behind her. She pensively approached Celestia, but still kept a little distance between them. There was a rather thick moment of silence between the two, neither one entirely sure what to say to start. But Twilight figured she'd start at the most obvious place.

"I'm sorry..."

Celestia lifted her head. She wasn't expecting that.

Twilight gazed sheepishly and remorsefully at the princess. "I... I think I understand now." She unfurled one of her lavender wings, producing the book that she'd taken. "Why you didn't want me to read this."

A quiet sigh escaped Celestia's lips. "You've finished it, then?"

Twilight held the book in front of herself with her magic, staring at it for a moment. "I'm... not sure."

Celestia quirked an eyebrow at the strange response.

"But I've read enough to know why she was so important to you. Sunset Shimmer was the daughter you never had, and the closest thing you've ever had to a proper successor. This book was a way for you to remember her in case your memory ever slipped away from you, like with your parents."

Celestia remained quiet. It was starting to feel to her as though Twilight had learned more about her through that book than through anything she'd told her herself.

Twilight held the book out to Celestia apologetically. "I should have given it back sooner. I should have had respect for your privacy. I..." She lowered her head in shame. "I should have trusted you. I'm sorry."

"After the way I reacted, you had every right to be suspicious. I was so caught off guard when I saw you with that book, I just... lost my composure."

"And if I was really intent on reading this through to the end regardless, I probably should've done so before coming here and yelling at you," Twilight said with an embarrassed and ashamed blush. "I didn't have the whole story, so to speak. And speaking of which..."

Celestia noticed the hesitation—the worry—on Twilight's face.

"There's still more... right?" asked Twilight with a twinge of hope.

Celestia turned away, the pain visible in her expression.

Seeing as the princess had yet to take the book back, Twilight flipped to the final batch of pages. "The ending felt too abrupt, and there's all these blank pages. You know how I am with these things better than anypony, Princess. I need to know what happened to Sunset. I... have a hunch, but I'm hoping that I'm wrong. Was she... Was she okay?"

Celestia was quiet for a moment, shutting her eyes tightly in an attempt to fight back her emotions as the moment played in her mind again for what felt like the hundredth time in the last couple of days. "She died, Twilight."

Twilight's ears drooped. That was the answer she'd expected, but not the one she'd hoped for.

"I hadn't intended to end the story there, but when I got to that point, I couldn't muster the will to write anymore. You were right when you said I wrote it to remember her, but once I got to that part, I realized just how much I'd rather forget. I couldn't finish it, and I didn't want to destroy it either, but I couldn't stand to have it on my shelf as a constant reminder of my failures. So I had one of the guards hide it. All things considered, the archives were the perfect place; it was so obvious that I'd never think to find it there."

Twilight waited as the princess took a deep breath, clearly still coping with the resurgence of her memories. Still, she had that compulsion; one that wouldn't allow her to let this go until she had the whole story. "Can I ask what happened afterward?"

Celestia looked at Twilight. There was a distinct look of reluctance and displeasure in her eyes.

Twilight knew she may have been crossing the line, but persisted anyway. "I'm just not sure I'll be able to concentrate properly on anything until I know the whole story. You intended to write more, but stopped. Can you at least give me a synopsis?"

As painful as the memories were, there was a part of Celestia that wanted to smile. Even with the serious tension that pervaded the princess's study, Twilight was still Twilight. And she knew that she would have to elaborate eventually. She'd inadvertently tormented Twilight enough. "Alright," she agreed quietly.

Twilight lay down next to her former teacher, both to listen intently and provide comfort if Celestia needed it.

Celestia took a deep breath as she prepared to pick up where the book left off. "When I awoke after being rendered unconscious by her sun, the entrance hall of the castle was in ruins, and rubble was scattered everywhere. I don't know quite how long I was out, but I don't think it was long; the air was still warm. With what energy I could muster, I hurried with hope in my heart that Sunset was okay, even though I should have known otherwise."

Twilight stared sympathetically as Celestia went quiet, the ivory alicorn closing her eyes. It was evident she was holding back tears, and that was more than enough of a sign to tell Twilight what she found.

"I..." Celestia's voice caught in her throat, a tear managing to escape her eye. "I found her lying on the floor, not moving, amongst the debris. Her sun was gone, with no trace of it left to be seen. In retrospect, I'm even more amazed by her. Even with the smaller size of her sun, the resulting supernova could have devastated the surrounding area, perhaps even have hit Canterlot. Yet she managed to contain the explosion. And even with how accepting she seemed to be in her last moments, she still evidently had some desire to survive; the room was in ruins, yet her body was unmarred."

Celestia's breaths were shaky as she recalled the moment bit by bit, thinking about what must have been going through Sunset's head at the time. "But of course it was futile. She knew when she made it that her life was tied to it, yet she did so anyway... Because of me..."

Twilight remained quiet.

"Sunset had devoted herself to emulating me, and when I didn't have time, or was not in the right headspace to help her, she acted rashly, feeling as though she was being neglected. We had managed to remedy that to a degree following the Grand Galloping Gala..." Celestia sighed regretfully. "But by that point, her fate had already been sealed..."

Twilight was almost afraid to speak, worried that anything she could say might be the trigger that caused her mentor to emotionally break down. Still, though, considering that she herself was the reason the princess was having to endure this right now, she felt obligated to reassure her. "If it means anything to you, I'm sorry for jumping to conclusions." She lowered her gaze, her ears folding back apologetically. "I know now that, despite the similarities, you could never see me as a replacement for Sunset Shimmer."

"Actually..."

Twilight lifted her head again, looking at the princess with sudden surprise as she felt her chest tighten painfully.

"There may be more truth to that than even I realized," Celestia admitted ashamedly, unable to look Twilight in the eye. "When I first met you, you had a power surge similar to that of Sunset Shimmer. It was hard not to be reminded of her when I witnessed that, and it may have been a contributing factor as to why I chose to take you on as my student."

Twilight tried to maintain her composure. She didn't want to make the princess feel any worse than she already did by piling on more guilt. Surely there was a "but" coming to elaborate.

"I told myself that it was to help you hone your magic—to protect you from yourself, just as I tried to do for Sunset. You had a similar power to hers, so I thought you could do great things for Equestria. But the more similarities I saw, the more concerned I became. Just like her, you became engrossed in your studies, you started ignoring your peers, and everything you did was because you idolized me. I felt that if you kept going down the path you were on, you'd only meet the same fate she did."

Twilight lay still with her mouth agape as the pieces began to fit together. "That's... why you sent me to Ponyville?"

Celestia nodded weakly. "It was one of the reasons. The timing of Nightmare Moon's return was fortuitous. Knowing the power and intellect you possessed, I felt strongly that you could figure out how to save my sister. But just as importantly, I wanted to save you." She managed a small smile. "And I was deeply relieved and proud to see that you succeeded."

A long, remorseful sigh escaped from Celestia's lungs. "All of that is what I told myself. I tried to tell you yesterday that you were mistaken when you said I saw you as a replacement, but the more I thought about it since, the more I began to realize that you may be right." She fought back the tears welling in her eyes brought on by her guilt and regret. "I convinced myself that I was doing it for you, but in reality, all I wanted was to redeem myself for the mistakes I made with Sunset. I..." She looked Twilight in the eye, her tears now streaming down her cheeks. "I only used you as a means to make myself feel better. You have every right to hate me, Twilight. I've learned nothing from my failures. How can I even call myself a teacher and a mentor when I keep doing this to my students...?"

Twilight sat quietly as Celestia began to sob.

The princess chanced a glance at Twilight, wiping away her tears. Despite everything she'd said, Twilight wasn't looking at her disdainfully. "Well? Aren't you going to say anything? I used you to mend my own selfish ego. Surely you have some choice words for me."

"I don't believe that."

Celestia's eyes widened in surprise. She was expecting Twilight's face to be full of anger, sadness, and betrayal, akin to and even beyond what she'd demonstrated yesterday. But she was surprisingly calm—unnervingly even.

"The mare I read about in this book had her flaws, but at her core, she was kindhearted, compassionate, motherly, and trustworthy. What I read matches everything I've always known about you. But I did learn some new things."

Celestia gulped, worried about where she was going with this thought.

"I learned that the character of Princess Celestia had a tendency to beat herself up over her mistakes, feeling as though she deserved to be punished for hurting the people she loved most. I strongly believe that you told yourself you were being selfish, but I highly doubt the person I've idolized my whole life was just a persona she'd worn to mask her selfishness. You feel guilty, so you're fabricating drama to punish yourself. Regardless of what you convinced yourself to be the truth, I still owe everything I am to you. And I know that that's maybe not something you want to hear considering that Sunset told you the same thing, but the difference is..." Twilight nuzzled lovingly into Celestia's neck. "I'm still here, so you must have learned something from your mistakes."

As guilty as the princess felt, Celestia allowed herself to rest her head against Twilight's. "You didn't deserve this, Twilight. I'm so sorry."

Twilight pulled back, looking pensively at Celestia. "Not that I want to make you feel worse or anything, but if you didn't want me to make the same mistakes Sunset did, why didn't you tell me about her so I could actively avoid meeting the same fate?"

Celestia sighed. "Because I didn't want to lose you, too..."

Twilight raised a befuddled eyebrow. "But you just—"

The ivory alicorn stared into Twilight's eyes. "Be honest with me, Twilight: would you really want to continue being my student if I had told you what happened to my last student?"

Twilight hesitated, not sure exactly how to answer that.

"I was too afraid that you would leave if you found out that Sunset had died under my care. I couldn't stand the thought of seeing you hate me and leaving me. I cared too much about you to see that happen. I wanted to live up to the expectations you had of me, although I realize now that I was only risking repeating the past. So, again, I made the selfish choice by putting your life at risk for the sake of my own ego."

Despite Celestia's continued attempts to depreciate herself, Twilight managed to smile. "You just contradicted yourself."

Celestia blinked uncomprehendingly. "What?"

"You said before that you only used me as a tool for your own redemption, but now you've just said that you cared too much about me to lose me. I think you just unraveled your own web."

Celestia turned away. "But... I—"

"Princess, regardless of how you think you feel, I know the truth. I've always had faith in you, and my mistake was not having more faith. I can't believe I even considered doubting you. I should have had more respect for your privacy. Your entire life doesn't have to be an open book—uh, so to speak. Everypony has their secrets, but that doesn't make them bad people."

Celestia wiped away the tears that had gathered again in her eyes. "If I'm being honest, I wasn't expecting to still have you here by my side when this was all over. I should have at least told you once you found the book, but..."

Twilight stared sympathetically. "But you're still haunted by your past. And those memories scare you."

Celestia looked into Twilight's eyes. Alongside the sadness and remorse in the ivory alicorn's expression, there was gratefulness and appreciation for how understanding Twilight was being. Celestia leaned against her again, and Twilight reciprocated. For as much as she felt she didn't deserve Twilight's continued respect, she was relieved that this whole ordeal hadn't pushed her away as she'd feared it would. Perhaps Twilight was right: she was being too hard on herself. Instead of torturing herself with guilt as she had done for both Luna and Sunset, she decided it best to simply be happy that she had somepony who cared about her as much as she cared about them.

"I always seem to let the lessons I thought I had learned slip away from me in my guilt and regret. I'm not going to let that happen this time, Twilight," Celestia said softly as she gently nuzzled into Twilight's mane. "You're not Sunset, no, but that doesn't mean I don't care about you just as much as I did her."

The two of them lay there quietly upon the plush rug, snuggling comfortably against one another. Twilight had done this with the princess many a time over the years, which only reinforced her belief that Celestia hadn't simply been using her to fill a void in her heart; there was too much mutual love between them for that to have been the case, Twilight could feel it.

But as content as Celestia was to simply remain there in comfortable silence, Twilight still couldn't help but feel a touch awkward; she didn't want to put a damper on the resolution they had come to, but there were still answers that she sought.

"Princess?"

Celestia lifted her head from Twilight's, looking down at her softly. "Yes?"

"I still have a lot of questions about this," Twilight said, lifting the tattered book.

Celestia stared at the book, giving Twilight a nod. "I suppose it's only fair that I answer them. Go ahead."

"How did everypony else react when they found out what happened to Sunset?"

Celestia closed her eyes, taking another slow breath to steady herself as she went back to that moment once more. "Not well, as you can imagine. Honestly, I don't even remember bringing Sunset back to Canterlot Castle. I must have been in quite an emotional daze. I just wound up back here with Sunset's body draped over my back."

"Starswirl must have been devastated," Twilight presumed quietly.

"We all were, obviously, but Starswirl's reaction was..." Celestia's ears folded back, a forlorn sigh escaping her lips. "...unexpected. Of course, he was saddened to no end. Sunset was his entire world, just as she was mine. What I hadn't anticipated was his anger."

"He was mad? At whom?"

"Me..."

Twilight's eyes widened in surprise and confusion. "What? Why would he be mad?"

"Because I had promised long ago to do everything in my power to protect Sunset. I had made a solemn vow to help her master her power so that it couldn't hurt her. I... wasn't able to keep that promise. Starswirl had put his trust in me, but to find out his daughter was dead had shattered any faith he had. From that day onward, Starswirl grew distant and jaded. His faith was so thoroughly damaged that he even abandoned his research into the magic of friendship."

Twilight glanced down at her side, slightly extending one of her wings. It was a little strange to think that she was where she was now perhaps because of Sunset's death.

"He continued his other research, of course, and he still went on to revolutionize the field of magic throughout the years," Celestia sighed once more. "But he desired no help from me. Though he continued to work at the castle, our relationship had become purely professional from that point forward. He would eventually retire from his employment under me, but I have little knowledge of what happened to him after that. He seemingly just disappeared."

For as worried as Twilight had been about how this entire experience would affect her view of Celestia, she hadn't considered how it would affect her opinion of one of her other idols. She had always revered Starswirl the Bearded as one of the greatest minds in Equestrian history—and that was still true—but knowing now the heartbreak he'd endured and how much he changed following the death of his daughter, she pitied him, but also felt some disdain; while Twilight believed that most of Celestia's guilt was self-inflicted, it sounded as though Starswirl may have had a hoof in it, as well. He had blamed Celestia, and in her state of emotional distress, she took it to heart.

"What about Halberd?" Twilight asked, not wanting to focus on Starswirl much longer for fear of her opinion of him being lowered.

Celestia took a moment to think in silence. These past couple of days had been spent reminiscing about Sunset. Hearing Halberd's name all of a sudden brought back with it even more memories. "Halberd was inconsolable, understandably so. He was deeply depressed for a long time following her passing, much like me. But, actually..." Celestia raised the book, slowly flipping through its pages. "When I told him I had planned to write a book in Sunset's memory, his mood seemed to lift. He was eager to help in any way he could, and I know his brother was relieved to see him in higher spirits after being in such an emotional funk. Halberd would go on to be one of our most reliable soldiers. I certainly wasn't expecting my book to have such a profound effect on him. Halberd was actually my primary source of information for this book. So much of what's written here came from him and the things that Sunset had shared with him over the years. He could practically be considered my co-author."

"I was going to ask about that, too," Twilight interjected. "I'd been wondering where you got some of this stuff considering you weren't present for all of it. Your sister figured you must have made some assumptions to fill the gaps."

Celestia stared at Twilight, surprised and even a little hurt. "Luna? You spoke to Luna about this?"

Twilight blushed, feeling a touch of shame and remorse. "Yes, I'm sorry. I know it wasn't my place to bring this up with her, but I wanted information and I was still afraid to confront you about it."

Celestia sighed, brushing a hoof through her mane. "I suppose I owe her an explanation. I'm honestly surprised she never inquired about Sunset upon her return, though I suspect a thousand years imprisoned in the moon as essentially a different person and the grudge she had against me may have had a hoof in that."

"She said as much," Twilight confirmed. "And I imagine you've been reluctant to bring her up because of how painful the memories are."

Celestia simply nodded weakly. "Anyway, to answer your question, Luna is certainly correct: there was some guesswork involved in some portions, particularly those featuring just Sunset, Luna, or Starswirl. As I mentioned, Starswirl didn't think highly of me after Sunset's passing, so he wasn't very cooperative when I asked for information."

"Did he not want people to remember her?" Twilight inquired. "Or was it too painful for him, as well?"

"The latter, more than likely. I knew exactly how he felt, so I couldn't say I blamed him."

"But that also brings up another question I had: why does nopony know about her? I've idolized both you and Starswirl the Bearded my whole life, but I've never come across any references to her. Luna speculated that she simply faded into obscurity, just as how Nightmare Moon became a myth over the years."

Celestia frowned remorsefully. "That... was a deliberate decision on our part."

Twilight stared incredulously. "What?"

"Following her death, we at the castle collectively agreed to keep her death under wraps."

"But... why?"

The ivory alicorn sighed. "Mostly for the sake of my reputation. If Starswirl's reaction was any indication, there was a very real possibility that many of my subjects would blame me for her death—again, not that I wouldn't understand. I was against the idea at first, but Halberd shared with us that he and Sunset had planned to travel Equestria in order to help people, so that's what we told everypony who asked where she'd gone. Halberd thought it may be best if everypony thought she was out there doing good for the world like she intended to do rather than mourn for her. I... liked the idea, but as the years have gone by, and the people who knew her grew fewer and fewer, I started to wonder if we made the right choice."

"Have you ever thought about publishing your book?" Twilight suggested. "Her memory could live on and now that Luna's back you could even consider rewriting it to be a little more accurate; your sister mentioned that some things didn't line up with how she remembered."

Celestia shook her head solemnly. "No, I wouldn't consider that, nor would I wish to rewrite it." She flipped through a few more pages. "I wrote this purely for my own purposes—to ensure that I would never forget her. And even if some things aren't entirely accurate, they represent the way I felt about it and how I interpreted the events of our lives. I'll probably still ask Luna for clarification on some things, but the book will remain as is." As she turned another page, a few loose papers fell out and onto the floor. "Though I may want to do something about its condition at some point."

Twilight watched quietly as Celestia idly flipped through the tome's pages. There was a wistful expression on the taller alicorn's face as she mentally relived the events of her past. She observed thoughtfully as her mentor's face exhibited traces of a small smile as she skimmed through some happier moments, or fell to a somber frown when she crossed the more emotional moments.

Celestia eventually closed the book, letting out a forlorn sigh as she placed it on the floor in front of her. She lifted a hoof to her eyes, wiping away the moisture before it had a chance to stain her coat any more than it already was.

"You really miss her, don't you?" Twilight inferred quietly.

"I would often go long periods of time—years even—without thinking about her. But then something comes along that reminds me of her and I can't help but just become completely despondent."

"I can tell how special she was to you."

Celestia glanced over to a tall cupboard in the corner of the study. With her magic, she whisked it open. Twilight wasn't sure she'd ever seen what was in that cupboard, but looking now she could only see a bunch of seemingly random knickknacks with little correlation to one another. But what Celestia brought out of the cupboard and hovered over to her caused Twilight's jaw to hang slightly agape: it was a paper-mâché sun, though several of the construction paper triangles representing its rays were missing, much of the orange and yellow paint had since flaked off, exposing the faded newspaper underneath, and there were a few small holes in its surface. Still, the fact that Celestia had taken care of such a fragile and sloppily-made craft well enough for it to have survived for a thousand years was astonishing and a testament to its sentimentality.

Celestia held the makeshift sun aloft, her magical aura making it appear as though it was glowing itself while she allowed it to slowly rotate in the air. "She was—is."

"Did you..." Twilight hesitated as she started her question, unsure if she actually wanted the answer. "Did you ever see me the way you see Sunset?"

Celestia gazed at her former student apologetically, but also with a great deal of compassion and care. "You have to understand, Twilight: you have a loving mother, so you didn't need me to fill that role. Sunset didn't have that luxury. She needed me. It was my duty to guide her and to love her as a mother would—as a mother should."

"That doesn't mean I didn't see you as a mother figure," Twilight told her, leaning gently against the princess. "You still raised me and taught me just as much as my parents did. But I understand that your circumstances were different with Sunset. The void that she left can't just be filled by somepony similar, because as much as I may remind you of Sunset, I'm still not Sunset. Right?"

Celestia leaned into her tenderly. "I would like to clarify that, while perhaps I may not see you as a child of my own as I did with Sunset, I still love you very dearly, Twilight, and I would give my life to protect you if the need arose." She let out a somber sigh. "Though I thought the same of Sunset, yet I couldn't save her..."

Twilight pulled away, observing Celestia as she continued to silently replay the events of her past over and over in her mind. And that suddenly made her think about something. "Princess, have you ever thought about using Starswirl's time travel spell to go back and try and save her?"

Celestia barely reacted to the question, having expected it to come up at some point. "Of course I have, countless times."

"But you've never done it," Twilight inferred.

Celestia shook her head. "What would be the point? We know based on Starswirl's experience, as well as Sunset's and even your own, that the spell isn't capable of altering the past."

"But that's merely conjecture based on a very limited sample size, all three of which hadn't had prior knowledge of the limitations of the spell's mechanics."

There was a small hint of amusement on Celestia's face as she looked down at Twilight. It was clear that, while she had her mentor in mind, her scientific curiosity was at least partially guiding her train of thought; that was a trait that was uniquely Twilight. Still, there were other reasons for her decision. "Even if it were capable of changing things, there are other factors to consider: we don't know exactly how time travel would actually work in such a case, and Luna and I both agreed that, as the princesses of this kingdom, it would be irresponsible for us to mess around with stuff like that, especially for selfish purposes such as this."

Twilight was quiet for a moment as she contemplated her words. She looked at her mentor with steadfast resolution in her eyes. "I think you should try."

Celestia frowned at the suggestion. "I can't do that, Twilight. Honestly, the ramifications are not the reason I haven't tried. In truth..." Her voice cracked, and her hooves were shaking slightly. "I'm afraid that I wouldn't be able to change anything. I may wind up only having to watch her die again, and... I-I don't know if I could handle that." She felt a hoof lay gently over her own, steadying her shaking. Twilight was still gazing into her eyes encouragingly.

"If anypony deserves a second chance, it's you and Sunset. You said yourself that Sunset could do great things for Equestria. And even if you can't change the future, maybe you'll create a new timeline where she still gets to continue living. At least this way you can say you tried. Maybe it'll help you cope with the loss better."

"And you're willing to potentially put our own present at risk to allow me that chance?" Celestia said somewhat sternly. "I think Luna and I have a lot left to teach you about being a princess."

"To be blunt, I don't actually think you'll be able to change anything. I looked into that spell more after I used it and came to the same conclusion Starswirl did." Twilight held Celestia's hoof pleadingly and lovingly. "I'm just trying to convince you to give it a shot. I know you want to see her again, and you have the power to do that, even if it's only once."

"Even if I have to lose her again?"

"After all the time you spent mourning her, you owe it to yourself to at least say goodbye."

Celestia bit her lip. As she'd said, the consequences were not the deciding factor in her aversion to this idea, so she felt selfish that she was even considering this right now. But she knew Twilight was right; she couldn't go the rest of her long life beating herself up over this when she had a chance available to get proper closure. In reality, that notion was the entire reason she was even mulling this over. She didn't want anything to change necessarily; she just wanted to see Sunset again. And perhaps now would be as good a time as any to fulfill the promise she made to herself when she wrote the book...

"Alright..."

Twilight's ears perked up, actually surprised to hear the princess agree to her suggestion. "Really?"

Celestia nodded. "Maybe I won't be able to save her, but you were right when you said I want to see her again."

"Okay," Twilight said as she rose to her hooves. "I'll pop over to the Canterlot Archives to get the spell book and—"

"There's no need. I know the spell already."

"Oh. Uh, you do?"

Celestia stood up as well, replacing the paper-mâché sun back into the cabinet. "As I said, I've thought about this too many times to count. I've come so close to trying on numerous occasions, but could never work up the courage to go through with it. I honestly can't even promise I'll be able to go through with it this time either."

Twilight gave her a reassuring look. "But I'm here for you, Princess. You have my undying support." She briefly wished she hadn't worded it that way, but continued to stand by her mentor's side confidently.

Celestia smiled down at her before bending her neck down to give Twilight a loving nuzzle. "I know."

Twilight watched with bated breath as Celestia mentally prepared herself. The white alicorn closed her eyes, taking a deep breath.

Her trepidation was obvious. Celestia was scared. She knew one of two things was going to happen: either she would be overjoyed to see Sunset again, or she would be devastated knowing that it would be the last time she ever saw her. Celestia briefly glanced at Twilight, who was staring at her expectantly. She felt a little guilty. Celestia had agreed to go through with this under the pretense that she would try and save Sunset, but that's not what she intended to do. She still believed that it wasn't right for a princess to meddle with time, but she still wanted to use this opportunity to go back and do something she should have done all those years ago.

Celestia's horn began to glow, and the air started to swirl about in her study. Her horn crackled with a white light, and after a few suspenseful moments of wondering if she even had the willpower to finally do this, a bright flash filled the room and Celestia disappeared.

***** ***** *****

When Princess Celestia opened her eyes again, she found herself within the halls of Canterlot Castle, just outside the entrance to her own tower. While she hadn't traveled far in terms of physical location, Celestia could tell by the outdated designs of the hall's decor, as well as the absence of glass in the windows, that she had arrived at the specific point in time she intended.

Twilight had been expecting her to travel to the point where Sunset's sun had begun to go supernova, or perhaps even back far enough to outright prevent her from creating it in the first place. However, she sent herself somewhere in between: the night of the Grand Galloping Gala. If she was right, she should have arrived just after her past self and Sunset had had their heartfelt talk in her tower, and Sunset should have been on her way back to the ballroom.

But Celestia knew she didn't have much time. She needed to say what she should have said so long ago, and little time to do it. She quickly rounded the corner from the entrance to her tower, calling out instinctively, as she knew who was around that corner.

"Sunset!"

Upon calling out the name, Celestia immediately stopped cold. Turning around to face her from further down the hall was the mare she hadn't seen in a thousand years, looking beautiful in her white gala dress and spiraling ponytail. Celestia almost couldn't believe this was real. She knew she'd cast the spell, but a part of her still thought this might have been a dream.

At least, until she heard her voice.

"What's up?" asked Sunset. "Something wrong?"

She sounded so casual. Of course, to Sunset, the two of them had last spoken only moments ago. But for Celestia, it's been a millennium. Sunset's voice echoed through Celestia's mind as though it were another memory that had been locked away and finally coming to the fore once again. But her voice also reminded the princess of just how important this was, and she stared back at Sunset with more determination and resolution. She hurried over to Sunset's side, kneeling down to see eye to eye with her.

Celestia hesitated for only a moment. Gazing into her teal eyes after all this time made it hard to fight back the tears. Sunset stared back at her, but with more confusion and concern. Celestia knew she had to just do it; she didn't want this chance to be wasted, knowing she had the opportunity and squandered it.

"There's just... I-I need to say this while I still have the chance," Celestia began, her voice shaky and catching in her throat.

She took another moment to gaze into Sunset's eyes. Real or not, and despite being the last time she'd ever get to see her, Celestia still managed a smile. She surprised even herself that she was so happy to see her again, even if Sunset seemed to be a little concerned about the pain her teacher was trying to hide.

"I've always been proud of you, Sunset, and I always will be. And I want you to know that I... I love you."

Sunset smiled right back, wrapping her forelegs around Celestia's neck and hugging her tightly.

Celestia longed for this moment, to feel her embrace again, to feel the warmth that Sunset brought to her life one last time.

"I love you, too... Mom."

Celestia's chest suddenly tightened, her heart pounding against her ribs. The princess did her best to hold back the tears, clenching her teeth behind her lips to suppress the sudden rush of emotion that had hit her. She lay her head against Sunset's back, mustering up all of her willpower just to prevent herself from openly crying. She never wanted this moment to end. A part of her wished she could stay here and be with Sunset again, even if just a little longer. This was what she'd been afraid of: seeing her again and being overwhelmed by the pain of having to leave her behind. But at the same time, the pain in her heart was countered by the warmth she felt, the tears welling in her eyes ones of both sadness and joy. At the very least, she could accept a fifty-fifty.

But she didn't have much time left. As much as it pained her to do so, Celestia had to wrap this up quickly. The alicorn stood up again, doing her best to conceal her emotions, but failing to hide the smile and tears on her face.

"Alright, hurry along. I'll catch up," Celestia told her.

Sunset gave the princess a nod as she hurried off back down the hall.

The moment had been brief, and in the last few seconds she had left before the spell's time limit ran out, Celestia found herself wondering if this was the right choice. Should she have tried to save her as Twilight suggested, or would that have only lead to even deeper heartbreak? Celestia felt that this decision, while perhaps it didn't change anything, was at least a happier one that may help her cope.

But the moment Sunset turned the corner at the end of the hall, disappearing from view, Celestia's legs gave out. The princess collapsed to the floor, her tears flowing freely as the reality that this was the last time she'd ever see her again set in, and she began to sob. Then, she was surrounded by a white light and the crackling of magic as the time travel spell hit its limit and whisked her back.

Back to a future without Sunset.

***** ***** *****

To Twilight Sparkle, Celestia had only been gone for a second. After vanishing in a flash of white magic, a second flash appeared a moment later, and Celestia had returned as quickly as she had disappeared. What Twilight hadn't been entirely prepared for, however, was to see her mentor return laying on the floor in tears, weeping and shaking. She knew this was a possibility, but it was still painful to see. Twilight also felt a bit guilty; she was the one who had urged her to go through with this, so she felt responsible for Celestia being in this pitiable state. But, in the long run, Twilight felt this would be good for her. Celestia needed the closure, regardless of how hard it might be. With that in mind, Twilight allowed the princess a few moments to cry herself out and compose herself.

Celestia barely even registered that she'd returned to the present day. Every beat of her heart was painful, but she oddly felt little regret. She wished she had had more time, but she didn't have any control over that. Still, she had said what she needed to say, and she got to see Sunset one last time. At least now her final memory of Sunset could be something happy as opposed to heartbreaking, even if she knew what ultimately happens to her.

"I'm sorry," Twilight said quietly. "I guess you couldn't save her, huh?"

Celestia's sobbing died down and she wiped away her tears, looking up at Twilight. She could tell that Twilight felt guilty about encouraging this, but Celestia, as well, felt bad about lying to her. She didn't think it was necessary to be forthright with Twilight about what she actually went back to do, as it may only prompt her to try and reprimand her. But this was something that she needed to do—something she told herself she'd do a long time ago.

As far as Twilight knew, everything written in that book was a retelling of true events, albeit with some embellishment or guesswork here and there. However, the scene that Celestia had just reenacted—her conversation with Sunset Shimmer in the hall during the Grand Galloping Gala—was the only thing in the book that was a complete fabrication. It never actually happened. And that meant, despite what she'd written, Celestia had never actually had the chance to tell Sunset that she loved her. She wrote that scene with the intention of using Starswirl's spell to go back and retroactively make it true so that she could finally put that regret to bed. But, as she'd told Twilight, whenever she prepared to go through with it, she'd lose her nerve, too scared about how seeing Sunset again would affect her emotional state, or that she'd screw something up and waste her one opportunity to fix what she should have done while Sunset was still alive.

But now, she'd finally done it. She felt she should thank Twilight for encouraging her to go through with it after all this time. What was more, given how they believed Starswirl's time travel spell to work, this essentially meant that the conversation did indeed happen in the past. While Celestia had been readying herself to return to the Gala, her future self had shown up to see Sunset. That meant, regardless of how long it took for her to work up the courage to enact her plan, Sunset was still able to hear her teacher say she loved her before she died. That realization gave Celestia a great deal of solace. She was actually quite surprised that the scene had played out pretty much exactly as she'd written it, as well, with almost nothing out of place.

Almost...

One word. There was only one word that was different from what she'd written, and it made all the difference. Celestia was happy that they could go out on a happy note, but she hadn't expected to have to so forcefully reign in her emotions. She had had doubts back then as to whether or not Sunset actually viewed her as her mother, despite Starswirl's repeated insistence. Celestia had always felt she handled tension between herself and Sunset too poorly to consider herself her mother, and that notion was reinforced when she failed to save Sunset from her demise and how Starswirl began to treat her afterward.

But despite it all, despite the arguments, the tension, and the secret-keeping, Sunset still called her "Mom." And as much as she wished she could have heard that back then, even hearing it now, a millennium later, filled her heart with so much joy, even if there was still a great deal of pain in her chest. That alone made her decision to go back to that specific moment more than worth it.

Celestia shook her head in response to Twilight's question. "No, I couldn't..."

"Try not to let it bother you. You tried, at least you can say that much," Twilight told her reassuringly. "I'm just sorry you had to go through that again."

Again, Celestia shook her head as she stood up. Much to Twilight's surprise, the princess actually smiled at her. "It's fine. You were right: I needed to do this. I put it off for too long. Maybe if I had done this sooner, I would have been more comfortable telling you about all this. I'd like to apologize again for worrying you. All of this could have been avoided if I hadn't been so selfish."

"We don't have to tread that ground again," Twilight assured her with a smile as she nuzzled up into Celestia's neck. She pulled away, looking up into her pink eyes with sympathy. "Are you sure you're alright? You're not just putting up a tough front for my sake, are you?"

Celestia made one last quiet sniffle, but her smile managed to persist. "I'm not going to lie and say I'm one hundred percent okay, but I think I'm in a much better place than I thought I would be when all this started."

Twilight smiled back happily, just glad that this entire experience hadn't damaged their relationship. "I guess I'll give you some space. You seem like you could use some peace and quiet, and I've been up all night reading, so I need some sleep," she said with a tired yawn.

"Are you sure you wouldn't like to stay for breakfast?" Celestia offered with an affable grin. "I think the least I can do to apologize is treat you to a meal, courtesy of our master chefs."

Twilight took a moment to think about it, but was interrupted before she could give a response by a light rapping on the balcony door. Twilight and Celestia shared confused looks with one another, the former giving a puzzled shrug. Celestia whisked open the curtains that had been blocking out the sunlight.

Standing on the balcony was Princess Luna. The moon princess briefly glanced between the two alicorns in the room, understanding the implications of the two of them being together, and an awkward blush filled her cheeks. "Oh... I didn't realize you had company. I'll... be on my way," she said from behind the glass doors.

"Luna, wait," Celestia beckoned as her sister was preparing to take off again. She opened the doors for Luna. "Come in, please."

Luna hesitated, passing a glance to Twilight. She understood what the lavender mare's presence indicated. "Are you sure? I didn't see you around after the sunrise, so I came to check on you. I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"

Celestia shook her head, an apologetic frown appearing on her face. "No. In fact, I think we have much to discuss."

Luna slowly stepped inside, casting a sympathetic look up at her sister. "I'm honestly surprised you never told me what became of Sunset Shimmer."

"I'm surprised you never asked. She was one of the few people who ever gave you the time of day." Celestia looked away, shame covering her face. "Perhaps even more than your own sister..."

"We do not need to reopen those wounds, Sister. I feel we have both apologized enough in regard to that incident."

"Had you actually forgotten about Sunset, Luna?" Celestia inquired.

Luna nodded with a regretful sigh. "Unfortunately, yes. She hadn't crossed my mind until Twilight had mentioned her last night."

"Considering how prominent a figure Starswirl the Bearded has been in Equestrian history and magical study, I find it hard to believe that Sunset wouldn't come to mind whenever he was brought up," Twilight chimed in.

"Bare in mind, Twilight, that Celestia and I have been around for a number of millennia," Luna reminded her. "While my thousand years as Nightmare Moon certainly played a part, you must know that we have met and befriended hundreds—perhaps thousands—of people. It is with unfortunate frequency that we have had to see the people we have come to know and care about pass away. In essence, Sunset's case was no different." She glanced back at her sister, frowning with sympathy. "Or at least, I thought it was. Clearly there was more involved there than what I had originally perceived. And judging by how thick the tension has been around here lately, I feel I can safely infer that she met with an... unfortunate end."

Celestia simply nodded somberly.

"It's always sad to have to watch those we are close to grow old and pass on, but it is especially tragic when fate so cruelly takes them before their time."

Twilight picked up Celestia's book from the floor. "Sunset was one of the most important people Celestia had ever known, despite the comparatively little time she'd known her. But you weren't around long enough to truly understand why."

Luna received the book from Twilight, looking over its worn, leather cover. "She had bountiful potential, I recognized that much. She even partially raised the sun once."

"She did much more than that," Twilight assured her without giving too much away.

Luna gave her sister a somewhat surprised look. "Really? Then I look forward to learning what happened in my absence. If that's okay with you, Sister," she said, holding up the book.

Celestia nodded with a small smile. "Yes, it's fine. I was going to ask that you read it anyway. I want your take on my views of certain situations to see whether or not I was off the mark."

"I'd be happy to oblige," Luna said with a smile back. "I do wish I could have seen in person how she turned out, though."

"Oh! Actually, perhaps you can," Twilight said with an eager grin. "Princess Celestia just used Starswirl's time travel spell to go back and see her again."

Luna gave her sister a reprimanding scowl, eliciting a somewhat shameful blush from the taller alicorn. "Really, Celestia? I thought we agreed we should not fiddle with history."

"I wasn't actually able to change anything," Celestia assured her.

"She just needed closure, that's all," Twilight defended compassionately. "But if you want, you could do the same. Why not use the spell to see her again? Maybe even let her know that you'll be okay in the future."

Luna was quiet for a moment as she contemplated the idea, but eventually shook her head. "I think I'll pass. I'm not as haphazard as my sister. Besides, I'm a firm believer that the past should remain behind us as a reminder of our mistakes so that we may learn from them. I know that better than most."

"I understand," Celestia said with a small grin. "And I feel you will understand, as well, why I needed to do it after you read my book."

"It isn't as though I don't want to see her again," Luna clarified. "I feel I still owe her some thanks for treating me like I mattered during a time in my life where I felt I was alone. At the very least, I would like to visit her grave. Where is it, by the way?"

"Good question," Twilight said, looking curiously at Celestia. "You said that you never publicized her death, so she must not be buried in the Canterlot graveyard."

"Well, no," answered Celestia. "We buried her in a small pasture further up the mountain. It was our understanding that it was a favorite spot for her and Halberd during their dates."

Luna's eyes widened suddenly, unsure if she had heard that correctly. "Beg your pardon? Those two... actually wound up together?"

"Er, yes, they did."

Luna furrowed her brow with a huff. "Celestia! Honestly, have you no tact, revealing spoilers so willy-nilly?"

Celestia chuckled with an awkward blush. "Oh, my apologies, Luna. It won't happen again."

Luna stared at the book for another moment. "Though I already have a feeling I know what ultimately happened to her. It must have been rather traumatic for you to decide to risk time travel, even if you couldn't save her in the end."

Celestia sighed, but her small smile persisted. "Perhaps it's for the best. As you said, I shouldn't be tampering with time. All things considered, I shouldn't be looking at this from the mindset of what could have happened." A glisten of moisture appeared in the corner of Celestia's eyes as she smiled at Twilight and Luna. "Rather, I should think about where it brought us. Sunset may be gone, but today, I have my beloved sister back, and a faithful student who still stands by my side, even though I don't deserve her. Oh, sorry—former student," she chuckled weakly.

Twilight smiled back, grateful not only for her words, but for everything that Celestia has done for her. However, her smile faded as she looked at the pair of purple wings her mentor had gifted her for her accomplishments, thinking about the title that came with them. "Do you think, had she lived long enough, that Sunset would have been worthy of becoming a princess eventually like I did?"

Celestia continued to smile fondly, though the feelings the question elicited were bittersweet. "There's little doubt in my mind. Given all that she managed to achieve, were she able to do everything else she intended, she'd certainly have been more than worthy."

Twilight wasn't surprised by that answer, but at the same time, she felt her heart sink a little.

"I believe I mentioned last night that you must not compare yourself to Sunset Shimmer," Luna said upon noticing the depressed look on Twilight's face. "You were crowned as a new princess of Equestria based on your own merits and accomplishments. Even if Sunset would have likely become a princess herself, it wouldn't be for the same reasons." She glanced at her sister. "At least, I presume so, right?"

Celestia nodded with a quiet giggle. "Without spoiling anything for you, yes. Though she did share the same aspiration to help people as you did, Twilight, I wouldn't consider that selfless desire something worth using to compare yourself to her. Luna and I were the same way when we set out into the world on our own. You shouldn't think about whether or not somepony could do the things you do better than you, but do everything in your own power to achieve the goals you set for yourself."

"A lesson I should have learned a long time ago," Luna admitted with an awkward grin and a blush.

Twilight smiled fondly up at Celestia, reaching up to give her an appreciative hug, with the taller alicorn happily leaning her neck down to return it. Twilight found herself unable to completely suppress her grateful tears. Through all of this, she'd been worried about drifting further away from Celestia, but after reading her book and learning about Sunset Shimmer, she had a better understanding of why her relationship with the princess was so special.

"I may have graduated as your student, Princess, but that doesn't mean there isn't so much more that you can teach me," Twilight said softly as she nuzzled into the fine, alabaster fur of Celestia's neck.

"No matter where life takes you, Twilight, whenever there is doubt in your mind, I want you to know that you can always trust me to support and help you," Celestia assured her, her voice catching for a moment.

Twilight pulled away, wiping away the moisture in her eyes. "So, uh..." she started, clearing her throat as she tried to regain her composure. "You wanted to get breakfast?"

Celestia nodded. "Yes, of course." She turned to her sister with an inviting smile. "Care to join us, Luna?"

The blue alicorn grinned back pleasantly. "Very well. I could use a snack before bed. What are we having?"

Celestia curled her lip. "I'm not sure. We haven't decided yet."

Luna looked at Twilight expectantly. "Any suggestions?"

Twilight tapped her chin, humming in thought. She then cast a sly, playful smirk up at the ivory alicorn. "Well, I hear your sister keeps a book of her own recipes."

Luna stifled a snicker in surprise and amusement. "Is that so? Does your dietitian know of this?" she chuckled.

Celestia rolled her eyes with a groan and a blush. "It seems I can't keep any secrets anymore..."

"Should we peruse it for something that sounds tasty?" asked Luna with a teasing smirk.

"Actually, I already have something in mind," Twilight stated, her playful expression softening. "How about pancakes?"

Luna giggled to herself knowingly. "Ah. That does sound tantalizing."

Celestia and Twilight exchanged fond smiles. Neither of them had to say anything to know what the other was thinking, but Celestia broke the comfortable silence with her melodic voice as she started toward the door. "Very well. Then perhaps I can teach you both how to make my signature cumulo-cakes."

Luna forced back a loud chortle. "That's quite a ridiculous name for pancakes."

Again, Celestia and Twilight simply looked at one another, stifling knowing smiles of their own, but said nothing as the three alicorns descended the tower together, anticipating the preparation of their delicious meal and the bonding moments that would come with it.

The End

Comments ( 26 )

The End

... And then Sunset and Starlight come tumbling through a time portal!

Sorry about that, but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It has been such an unique and interesting take on Sunset Shimmer's origin. I was so deeply moved.

This was a trip. Well worth it.

This was a wonderful story. It has been one of my favorites to read since it was strated.

Thank you for writing it!

Bitter sweet ending. I don't know what to feel right now and it might take days to figure it out.

Thanks for writing this story. It didn't end in the way I was hoping for, but I was still a great read.

I hope you write another story.

Absolutely amazing. One of the top portrayals of sunsets ambition. You didn’t just right her as “angry stuffy brat”. I would love your take on an alternate ending where she somehow survived and became the sunset we know. Either way thank you for this story. I loved every damn minute!

Even one word can change the world, Twilight mentioned that there may be alternative realities, Sunset had never heard those words from her mother figure, they may have been enough to make her gain confidence faster to telling Celestia

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I want to thank all of you for the these comments. I'll admit, I wasn't sure if people would be satisfied by this ending, so hearing things like this is relieving and humbling.

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You know, it's funny you say that, as I've been thinking about what that would be like myself. Granted, I'm not saying I'm planning on actually doing that, but I have thought about a possible alternate ending where she survives and she and Halberd go on their journey across Equestria to help people like they planned. Again, I have no actual plans to do that as of right now, but it's something I might put on the back burner for the future. No promises, though.

Well...That was depressing. =(

Was expecting like some epic plot twist after Celestia went back in time. Like her saying 'I love you' to Sunset would have changed everything. All in all, good story.

Great story. That last message to Sunset made me break down in tears.
Just amazing.

Wow :pinkiegasp: great story. Thanks for this great piece. Was really good.

Rip. This actually reminds me; I know EQG wasn't mentioned here, but since technically everypony has a counterpart there, I could see Celestia looking at the mirror longingly.

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The only way Sunset would have survived would be for her to have been sent to a whole nother world, where her and her sun could have room to grow properly.

Otherwise, the ending is good as it is.

OW!!!!!!!!! The Feels hurt so bad.

Yes, this was amazing. I have read this completely for only three days and it was amazing. BUT
There are always is BUT. You haven't revealed why Sunset dead. In current state, it feels like "death only for drama" stuff. Yes, game with sun must be dangerous, BUT.
And I glad that Celestia have redeemed herself. For begin I was in irritation, but later I've remembered that thousand of years passed.
Very good. BUT

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I'm pretty sure the reason for her death was explained in the story, but I guess I can summarize:

The idea was that it was Sunset's obsession with Princess Celestia that lead her to her death. The notion that she might upset or disappoint her mentor and mother-figure lead her to make poor decisions, and Sunset's death was a cautionary tale to remind Celestia never to let that happen again, resulting in her sending Twilight to Ponyville when she noticed that Twilight was starting to become like Sunset with how much her student worshipped her. Basically, it was meant to be a lesson for Twilight not to treat Celestia like she was infallible and worship her unconditionally.

I hope that clears it up for you. If not, I don't know how to make it any clearer.

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Why was this happening? Why had her magic suddenly gone out of control? She had had little issue keeping it in check all day. And there was a solar flare just yesterday. There couldn't possibly be another one, and even if there was, this was leagues more painful than a solar flare.

Sunset's mind was suddenly filled with dread. A notion occurred to her, one that instilled untold fear in her heart. She wanted to say something to Halberd, but, once again, found herself unable to form words. But she had to do something. She just had to hope that he could get the hint.

Nothing more than this. Her sun just exploded and that's all. Maybe it's a part of sun's growth, I don't know.
E-k-h-m, you killed her, so canon's timeline wouldn't be broken? It have logic.

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Ah, that. Well, that's an even simpler answer. Because she never told Celestia about her sun, she didn't know how to properly care for it, meaning her sun ended up being unstable and volatile. Had she asked Celestia for help earlier, she may have been able to stabilize it, which goes back to what I said about Sunset being afraid to upset or disappoint her.

I'm not going to claim my stories are perfect. I'll be the first to acknowledge their flaws. If you're not satisfied by that explanation, then that's on me. I do honestly feel like it was spelled out pretty clearly in the story why these things happened, but maybe not clearly enough, I don't know.

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Not that I could honestly blame you because you hadn't do something as I wish. It's stupid. Аnd it would be really tough task to remain Sunset unharmed but make Twilight go to the Ponyville. So, I can't blame you for this either. But this was unique story with unseen before looks on the familiar characters and sea of new events. Most of all was good and even better. Аnd the main character abruptly dies at the last thousand of words. I considered Sunset as the hero who can do anything. She could rise the sun at the childhood. Could ignite her own sun. Could be comparate with Celestia. I really was disappointed when she dies without any serious premises.
Still, this story was wonderful, thanks for explanations.
(your avatar in better quality) lh5.googleusercontent.com/--CWdRe4IXKA/UFzJGiqWr_I/AAAAAAAAHow/iTU1CqP0-LA/s1600/ChangelingTwilightSparkleElementofCurses.png

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No problem. I enjoy discussions like this because I feel like it helps me better recognize my shortcomings. I can't promise every one of my stories is gonna be better than the last, but as long as people enjoy them, that's enough for me. Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you liked it in spite of its problems.

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Agreed with the arguement ApTyp introduced, this story was god damn amazing, but I feel like the ending where She abruptly dies was kind of a letdown and anticlimactic. It could've been done better and fleshed out differently to where it was much more digestible. Otherwise, great job, hope you inprove in the future :)

"Well, no," answered Celestia. "We buried her in a small pasture further up the mountain. It was our understanding that it was a favorite spot for her and Halberd during their dates."

AAAAHHHH! My Heart
now i want to visit her dang it

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