• 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 Weary Walk

The head librarian made her way over to the four ponies that had been pouring over books the whole afternoon on the lower level of the library. Amethyst Maresbury wasn't entirely sure what they had been looking for, but if Princess Twilight and Prince Shining were both involved, it was clearly important. To this point, she hadn't wanted to disturb them, and was more than willing to allow them to remain after hours. However, as the sun began to sink below the horizon outside, the light coming in through the windows of the library became less and less viable for reading.

"Prince Shining Armor," she said with a light bow. "Can I get you some candles to read by?"

The Prince shook his head. "Thank you for the offer, but I think we should get going soon."

The other three nodded in agreement.

"You're probably right," said Twilight. "We're not going to be able to make much more progress now, not with how tired we're getting."

"I think I read that last paragraph five times," said Starlight, putting her hooves over her eyes and rubbing them gently.

Sunburst looked over at the librarian. "Amethyst, would it be okay if we borrowed a library cart so we can come back to these books tomorrow?"

"Of course, Sunbust. I'll be right back with one." The librarian walked off to go find a cart.

"That's a good idea," said Shining, looking over at the other stallion. "I miss having you around to help out at the Palace." He gently tousled his little sister's mane. "I just keep reminding myself that you're making Twily happy, so I can't be too upset about you leaving."

Sunburst took a breath in, preparing to remind Shining that it was the other Sunburst who had left, and that he wasn't the one marrying Twilight, but he decided against it and just nodded. Out of the corner of his eye, Sunburst noted Starlight, who was again frowning and looking down at his suit attentively.

He recalled a few other occasions today—on the train, back at Twilight's castle, on the upper floor of the library—when she'd done that. In those moments, he'd assumed she just didn't want to look him in the eye. Now, he glanced over at her, and Starlight's gaze drifted up to his eyes immediately.

"How are you feeling about our progress so far?" she asked.

"Pretty good," said Sunburst. "I think we've got some leads. Hopefully, Starswirl can help us separate the wheat from the chaff."

"I'm sure he'll be here tomorrow," said Twilight. "Like Starlight said, he probably just missed the train."

"In the meantime, you're all invited to the Palace for the night," said Shining.

At that, a question arose in Sunburst's mind, and he voiced it to the room. "Do I still have my house in this universe since I've been living at Twilight's?"

Twilight answered with a nod. "You do. We've been talking on and off about selling it. Obviously, we can stay with Shining and Cadence when we come to the Empire, but it could be nice to have someplace quieter than the Palace. Plus, the housing market's not great right now, and your mortgage rate was pretty good, so it might be a decent investment if we hang onto it for a few more years."

Sunburst smiled and had to fight back a laugh. In his mind, he was picturing himself and Twilight holding each other by a roaring fire and whispering sweet financial tips into each other's ears. He imagined Twilight looking deep into his eyes as she listed the pros and cons of selling and reinvesting the money into a retirement account. It seemed the farthest thing from romantic.

After a moment, though, he frowned.

Having a joint investment portfolio was probably the last thing somepony would call "sexy," but it was something that Sunburst would only consider having with somepony very close to him. The fact that the other Sunburst had disclosed how much he spent on his house showed him how serious their relationship was in a way that everything else so far couldn't. He hadn't even told his own mother. Although she'd dug into public records to find out on her own, but that was besides the point...

With that extra piece of information—as mundane as it might seem to somepony else—Sunburst now couldn't have any doubt in his mind about Twilight being his fiancée in this version of reality.

"Are you thinking you'd rather go back to your place tonight?" asked Shining.

"No, no. The Palace is good."

It had been a long time since Sunburst had actually looked up and gazed at the Crystal Palace in all its glory; normally, he just walked to it like it was nothing. Often, his head was buried in a book, and on days when the roads were busy, he would be apologizing to random ponies he bumped into. Today, as he approached, he stared at the white spires as if he was seeing this all for the first time, and had to apologize when he bumped into Starlight.

"Sorry," he said, looking at his friend.

"Is everything okay?" she asked. Before Sunburst could respond, she added, "Like, 'right now' okay, not 'generally' okay. I know this whole situation isn't okay." Sunburst nodded and opened his mouth, but Starlight continued, "Not that you have to tell me if something's wrong, of course. But even if you are from another universe, I'd like to think that we're sort of friends. So, I'm more trying to say that if you feel comfortable telling me what's wrong, I'm happy to hear it."

This time, Sunburst waited a moment, and when Starlight didn't keep talking, he said, "I was just admiring the Palace and got a bit distracted."

"Okay, cool. Just distracted. That's alright." Starlight turned and continued towards the Palace.

Walking forward again himself, Sunburst looked down at the shimmering street beneath him. He could see the faint white-gray of his hooves reflecting in the deep purple. For a moment, he was surprised by how he had never noticed how the iridescent surface behaved. It looked like his hoof was connected to a ghost; at the point his leg became orange, there was no reflection above that. It made sense: orange and purple were almost contrasting colors, and the surface of the road wasn't exactly a perfect mirror to begin with.

This time, because he was looking down instead of up, Sunburst noticed Twilight before he collided with her. He broke from his reverie and moved, coming abreast with her instead of slamming into her.

The alicorn looked at him and smiled slightly. "Let me guess: you're thinking about the architecture," she said.

Sunburst looked back and raised an eyebrow. "Close enough. How can you tell?"

"Whenever you get really tired, you start making observations about anything around you," said Twilight. "It's like you can't focus anymore, but your brain is still galloping as fast as ever, so everything becomes interesting."

He nodded. "That sounds about right." To his left, Sunburst faintly heard Starlight let out a sigh. It was probably just that she was tired herself, but he couldn't help the feeling that it was in reference to what he'd just said.

"We're all really tired," said Shining. "If anypony wants something to eat, you're more than free to use the kitchens, but I think I'm just gonna go right to bed."

"Me too," said Twilight.

"Same," said Starlight.

Sunburst was about to answer like the others, but he felt his empty stomach give him a nice growl in protest. "Actually, a quick snack sounds good to me."

It was about that time that they reached the Palace. The four all turned to face each other and said their "good nights." Sunburst separated from the group there. The other three entered through the door that lead to the sleeping chambers, while he took the door directly across that would take him to the kitchens.

By then, the sun had totally sunk below the horizon. Still there were ponies milling about the streets a block or two away in the civil twilight of the early night. Those ponies were mostly heading home themselves. The day was over; it was time to rest.

After a few moments, however, one of the doors beneath the Palace opened up again. Out of the door came Starlight Glimmer. The mare looked back and forth as if expecting somepony to be walking by, or perhaps watching her. She took a deep breath and bit her lower lip. Then, quietly, she made her way across the small courtyard, and entered through the door that Sunburst had taken.

Author's Note:

I went back and forth on whether I should split this chapter in half. I decided that I should. So good news is that this chapter came out now, the bad news is that it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. I apparently have a habit of breaking up chapters and releasing them in two chapter bursts for my longer stories... On the bright side, I should be able to get that second half out fairly soon. My plan is next week.

My apologizes for the unintended hiatus. It's been a long few months for me, but I'm really glad to be writing again. :twilightsmile: