• Published 23rd Apr 2020
  • 1,255 Views, 58 Comments

Seeing the Light - SilverStar7

After a magical accident, Sunburst is in a parallel universe where he is betrothed to Twilight.

  • ...

A Surprising Situation

After collecting several books that seemed relevant, Starlight and Sunburst returned to the table they'd agreed to meet at. Unfortunately for them, Shining and Twilight still hadn't come back yet, which left the two sitting in silence, browsing through theory books on thaumaturgy, enchantments, and relics. Sunburst had gotten some parchment and a quill for taking notes from the librarian. Whenever he found something interesting, he jotted it down. Occasionally, Starlight would say something, but always curtly and without showing any enthusiasm or interest.

"In 'Enchanted Gemworks' on page 164 there's an anecdote about a pony who used a gemstone to suppress negative impulses," Starlight said, continuing to flip pages and without looking up at Sunburst. The stallion shook his head and noted the reference.

"That sounds like a possible lead," said Twilight. The two looked up as Twilight and Shining came into view from behind some shelves. Each was carrying dozens of books in their magic. The quantity easily dwarfed the small collection that Starlight and Sunburst had scrounged together. Twilight neatly stacked all of the books she'd brought onto the table. The tower swiftly reached above the height of the next floor.

"That's an awful lot of history books," said Sunburst, raising an eyebrow at the stack.

"Oh, it's not just history books. On the way there, Shining and I passed by a section on ethics. I figured some of the magical work done on reforming spells and the like might be related enough to include in our search. And we may have made a couple of other detours..."

Shining dropped his books in a rough pile next to the table. Even with his impressive magical strength, the stallion appeared winded by the shear mass of material he'd been carrying around. "She had us stop by the mathematics, psychology, natural sciences, and criminology sections."

"I just wanted to make sure we didn't miss anything," said Twilight, matter-of-factly.

"But it'll take us days to go through this many books," said Starlight. "Shouldn't we start with more related subjects and branch out from there?"

"Not necessarily," said Sunburst. "We do still have over an hour before the next train arrives. Starting big may be a good tactic. We can do a broad sweep of these books and narrow down the focus into the most important ones by the time Starswirl gets here."

"Fine! Take her side!" Starlight shook her head, turned away, and walked toward the stairs. "I'm gonna go get a drink from the drinking fountain. Let me know just how many dozens of books I need to dig through when I get back."

The exit left an uncomfortable silence. Sunburst thought about going after her, but decided it would be best to let her cool off a bit. She clearly didn't want to talk to him right now.

"Is something the matter?" asked Shining.

"I'm not sure," said Twilight. She looked to Sunburst. "Do you know what's bothering Starlight?"

Before he answered, Sunburst thought about what Starlight had said. It was clear that the reason was something Starlight had never told anypony else before. This was a secret. Sure, sharing it would help Twilight and Shining understand what was wrong, but it was obviously not the sort of thing he should spread around willy-nilly.

Think Sunburst, how do you spin this...

"Maybe the stress is really getting to her," said Sunburst. "After all, your Sunburst is her oldest friend. This can't be easy for her either."

Twilight's expression became a calculating one. Her head tilted down slightly and her eyes began to shift gently back and forth. After a moment, she nodded. "You're right. This is my fault."

"What do you mean it's your fault?" asked Shining.

The stack of books in front of Twilight lit up with her magic. One by one, the books descended down. Twilight looked at each one in turn, splitting them into two stacks.

"This whole time, I've been making this all about Sunburst and myself. I wasn't even thinking about how hard this would be on Starlight." As Twilight spoke, she continued to sort through books. After her stack was sorted, Twilight took the books that Shining had brought and began to sort them as well.

Sunburst bit his lip. Now he felt guilty for lying. The last thing he wanted to do was make Twilight feel responsible for Starlight's outburst. She doesn't have anything to do with this.

"Twilight, you shouldn't blame yourself."

"I'm the Princess of Friendship. It's my duty to be a good friend. And Starlight needs to see that we care about how she's feeling right now." Soon, Twilight was done with her work. In the end, there were just 10 books on the table and the rest stacked in neat towers off to the side.

Around the time Twilight got done sorting, Starlight came back. When she returned, Twilight immediately walked over and gave the other mare a hug.

The sudden embrace totally threw Starlight for a loop. She looked from Sunburst to Shining, hoping for some kind of an explanation. When none became immediately apparent, she awkwardly returned the hug, patting Twilight on the back.

"What's going on?" she asked.

Twilight continued to hug her "We're going with your idea," she said. "I picked out the most relevant books to start with. After that, if we don't find what we need, we can move on to the rest of the books."

Starlight blinked. "I don't understand."

Twilight let go and took a step back. She looked Starlight in the eyes and put a hoof on her shoulder. "I want you to know that I value you, both as a part of this team and, more importantly, as my friend."

Glancing over at Sunburst, Starlight's eyes narrowed. Sunburst discretely shook his head, letting her know that he didn't say anything to Twilight. Starlight let out a breath in relief, looked back at Twilight, and actually smiled.

"Thanks, Twilight. That means a lot to me."

The four worked diligently together. All of them skimmed through chapters. Sunburst and Twilight wrote out notes, Starlight and Shining called them out as they made discoveries. Before long, the group had amassed an impressive list of references and leads. Even Starlight was beginning to become optimistic.

As Sunburst rolled up another piece of parchment to grab a fresh one, Starlight said, "We're making great progress, guys."

"You're right," said Twilight, smiling. "Between these notes and the books we've found, I'm sure Starswirl will have some ideas for how to get Sunburst back home in no time."

"Now we just need him to get here to take a look at our work," said Sunburst. "It feels like we've been here for a while."

Shining Armor glanced up at the window overhead. "Actually, given the angle of the sunlight, he should be here any minute."

"Should one of us go meet him at the station?" asked Starlight.

Shining shook his head. "No need. I sent some of the Crystal Guard to the station. When he arrives, they'll escort him here."

As if on cue, the door to the library opened and a guardspony came galloping inside. The four all looked up and watched the stallion run forward. His head darted left and right, clearly looking around for somepony who could tell him where the Prince was.

"Bronze Buckler, down here!" Shining called and waved a hoof.

The guard looked and saw the ponies around the table on the lower floor. He swiftly charged down the stairs to meet them.

"Shining Armor," The guard gave a curt bow. His voice sounded somewhat winded. "I have come to inform you that the train has arrived. However, Starswirl the Bearded was not on board."

"What?!" Sunburst and Twilight both shouted.

"Are you sure?" asked Shining.

"Yes, sir," Bronze said. "We asked the train's staff and gave every car a thorough search. Nopony has seen him and he was not on any of the cars."

Both Sunburst and Twilight's jaws had dropped and the pair had horror in their eyes. Starlight, seeing this, quickly said, "Let's not panic yet. He probably just missed the train. After all, we almost missed ours."

Twilight took a deep breath while Sunburst gave a gulp. In unison, the pair nodded.

"Starlight's right," said Shining. "I'm sure Starswirl will be here on the next train." He looked to Bronze. "Do you know when that train is going to arrive?"

Bronze Buckler paused before giving his answer. Never a good sign from a servant of royalty. Sunburst recognized it immediately, and knew that what came next was going to be bad news.

"The next train is due to arrive tomorrow morning, sir."

Sunburst's glasses fell off of his muzzle and onto the table. Twilight began to repeatedly do the breathing exercise that Cadence had taught her. Starlight bit her lip.

"So, uh, Twilight," said Starlight. "You wanna bring over a few more of those books..."