• Published 19th Mar 2019
  • 1,203 Views, 6 Comments

Starlight's Saga - Inky Scrolls



Starlight Glimmer, former dictator turned guidance counsellor, is given an anonymous note, seeking help and advice.

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Spectrum: Six Months Later

As she sat contentedly in a comfortable chair, warmed by the evening sun on her back, her friends all around her, and with a happy, quiet smile on her face, Starlight realised something: Not only was today Summer Sun Eve, but it marked six months to the day since she had written the frightened, stumbling note which sparked her journey of recovery from depression.

Six months. . . In that time, Starlight had emotionally blossomed, turning from the sad, guilt-ridden unicorn she had been into a stable, joyful pony on whom her friends could rely, just as she had relied on them.

As she thought back to how she had felt last December, as though she were alone in the world and with nopony to lean on, Starlight felt almost amazed at how naïve she had been - and concerned at how easily she had fallen in that dark, cloying web of despair that was depression. How could I have been so blind? she wondered. How could I ever have believed that my friends didn't care enough to want to help?

But those thoughts and fears were the essence of the illness, a trap from which nopony could free themselves once ensnared. Delusional? Yes. Unreasonable? Yes. But just as no-one expects a broken limb to heal without help, so too had Starlight learnt that mental health required just as much support and care, and she had grown to trust and to accept that her friends really did care for her, and would be there should she ever need their help.

How lucky I am.

Her slightly wistful, warmhearted thoughts were interrupted by a gentle nudge to her shoulder. "You feeling alright, sugarcube?" Applejack murmured discreetly. "You've been awful quiet."

Starlight smiled gratefully - yet another reminder of how much her friends cared. "Thank you, AJ," she replied, "I'm fine. In fact, I was just thinking about how lucky I am to have all of you as friends - I know now that I won't ever be alone again."

Nodding in agreement, the farmpony grinned. "Nope! I'm afraid you're stuck with us for good, Starlight."

Together, the two ponies turned back to the meal laid out in front of them, tucking in with rapture to the wondrous repast which Spike had prepared - with Twilight and Starlight's help.

For with eight ponies and one dragon sitting down to dine - Starlight, Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Twilight, Spike himself and even Trixie, who had finished her Yes I'm Back Again: The Great and Powerful Trixie's Hello Equestria Tour of Wonder and Delight - there was simply too much to bake, boil and batter for the dragon to handle alone, in spite of his famous culinary prowess. (Or rather, Spike insisted it was famous - at least, maybe in Ponyville and the Crystal Empire.)

For some minutes the nine companions enjoyed their meal together in silence, a silence broken only by the sounds of chewing, spoons and dishes clanking, and Pinkie Pie slurping - something which she would never dream of doing at home on the Pie farm, but comfortable enough with her friends not to worry about doing so around them.

After about twenty minutes, Starlight broke her peace, and cleared her throat peremptory to speech. "Hmm! Everypony," she began, when certain she had the attention of all those present, "I'm so glad you could all be here tonight, because there's something I want to say to you all."

The others all looked at her in anticipation, and she couldn't help but feel a little jolt of joy at the thought that they - these ponies - were her friends, ponies who would stick by her through thick and through thin. "I just wanted to say," she continued, "How grateful I am for the love, and compassion, and understanding, and companionship you have all shown me over the last few months. Yes, even you Trixie," she reassured the abashed magician, who had been away for almost the entirety of the last few months, "Because you carried on sending me messages and letters even while you were on tour, and I know how busy you are. So thank you, too."

Trixie smiled demurely, apparently gratified at this public show of appreciation. "The Great and Powerful Trixie," she trilled, "Will always be there for her closest and most special friend."

So saying, she began fluttering her eyelashes at Starlight in a manner which was slightly confusing to the unicorn, being both unexpectedly forward and uncharacteristically suggestive; Starlight swallowed somewhat nervously. Over the past few years she had grown very fond of Trixie, perhaps more so than she had previously realised - but recently the cerulean magician had been acting in a highly. . . flirtatious manner, and Starlight wasn't sure if she was ready for what Trixie seemed to be suggesting.

Her awkwardness seemed to have been picked up on by everypony else in the room, and a strained silence fell, which only Trixie herself seemed not to notice, instead continuing to stare with half-lidded eyes at her mortified friend.

Seeing Starlight's discomfort, Rainbow took it upon herself to diffuse the tension. "Well!" she coughed loudly, her attempt at breaking the atmosphere so obvious that everypony couldn't help but chuckle at the pegasus' lack of tact (which, to be fair, did successfully draw attention away from Trixie and Starlight, so her actions were not completely devoid of merit). "Fluttershy and I," she continued as though nothing had happened, and with such a display of self-assured swagger that more than a few of those present raised a disbelieving eyebrow, "have something to tell you all."

Everypony turned to look at the timid yellow pegasus, her already naturally pale hue having blanched even further. Eyes wide in horror, she tilted her head to hide behind her mane, gave vent to a muted, anxious whimper, and shrank beneath the table.

"Oh, don't be shy, 'Shy," Rainbow encouraged, rooting around beneath the table, feeling for the top of Fluttershy's head. Having found her, she began stroking her mane soothingly, grinning apologetically at the others. Addressing Fluttershy directly again, she murmured, "It's alright, 'Shy. I know you're embarrassed, but it's okay. You can hide behind me, if you like."

Starlight was touched, and more than a little surprised, by this unusual show of consideration from the typically self-centred Fastest Pony in Equestria. Together with the rest of her friends, she watched silently as Fluttershy slowly reappeared from beneath the table; without saying a word, Rainbow shifted the pegasus' chair slightly so that she was seated in such a way as to be shielded from the direct view of the majority of those at the table.

After Fluttershy had sat down again, Rainbow sat down herself, smiling round at everypony in a half-superior, half-delighted fashion. "Yes," she tried again, "Fluttershy and I have something to tell you all. Or rather," - she glanced at the cowering yellow mare behind her - "I have something to tell you."

She paused for dramatic effect. All the other ponies (and dragon) leant forward in their chairs expectantly.

"You see," Rainbow carried on, "Fluttershy and I have known each other for a very long time. Our whole lives, in fact. And we've grown to be very. . . close."

She paused again, this time apparently not to heighten the tension - though this was an understandable side-effect - but rather to gather her thoughts, something which was rarely necessary for somepony so self-aware as Rainbow. Eventually she seemed to come to some decision, her growing excitement very much in evidence, and suddenly announced:

"Fluttershy and I are going out!"

Then she fell silent, and instead of gazing round at her spellbound audience, as she would normally do, she instead turned to check that the object of her affections was alright, and hadn't melted through the floor.

There was a moment's breathless silence - then all hell broke loose, as everypony began shouting all at once.

"Oh wow, that's amazing!"

"Ah always knew you two had something going on!"

"Why, that is quite the revelation, darling!"

"The Great and Powerful Trixie expected this all along - but she congratulates you all the same!"

"This calls for a celebration - a cupcake celebration!"

Starlight merely smirked knowingly, and winked at Fluttershy, who smiled coyly back. The only other pony to remain silent was Twilight, who was staring absentmindedly at Rainbow and frowning in a confused sort of way. As the barrage of congratulations died away, and Fluttershy managed to sum up the courage to join her fillyfriend at the table again, the Princess spoke: "But. . . but I didn't know you two were - that you were fillyfoolers!"

Fluttershy blushed again, but Rainbow and the others just stared at Twilight disbelievingly - for all of about four seconds, before they burst as one into laughter.

"Oh Twilight!" Rainbow sniggered, "You are funny!"

As the alicorn was still looking rather blank, Rarity took pity on her. "You see, darling," she explained gently, "While Fluttershy has always been rather. . . adept, shall we say, at hiding her feelings, Rainbow Dash has always been rather more - rather more obvious in displaying her - hmm! - her carnal desires."

"Oh! I see," said Twilight, in such a way that it was perfectly clear to everypony that actually no, she didn't see.

As the ponies calmed down, Spike summed up what they were all thinking (except perhaps Twilight, who still didn't seem to fully understand what was going on). "This is really lovely news, guys! I'm sure you two will be just great for each other."

Rainbow smiled in a smug sort of way, and even Fluttershy, having seen how supportive her friends were, felt sure enough of herself to blink gratefully.

A few moments of silence passed while everypony digested this new piece of information, and considered internally what it might mean for their friendships. After a short while, Trixie, after clearing her throat in an uncharacteristically nervous manner, stood up, and announced: "The Great and Powerful Trixie also has something very important to say!"

Everypony else turned to look at her, giving her their full attention, all feeling a pleasant sense of eager anticipation.

All of them, that is, except for Starlight, who had an idea of what her closest friend might be about to say, and was hurriedly running through all the options for suitable replies in her mind, just in case they should become necessary.

After a needlessly long pause that was evidently just for dramatic effect - something of which the magician was very fond, and which tended to become annoying after a while, though on this occasion Starlight found the extra thinking time very helpful, being able to come to a half-decision - Trixie continued with her announcement. "Trixie - I," she amended, with the change to a more normal, first-person mode of speech immediately heightening everypony else's interest, "I have known you now, Starlight, for almost five years, and we have become very, very close friends. In fact," - she paused to arrange her thoughts - "In fact, you are the closest friend the Great and Pow- I mean, that I have ever had. So I was sort of wondering, " - both Trixie and Starlight swallowed nervously - "If you would - maybe - sort of just - I mean, Trixie is saying. . . Wouldyouliketogoonadatewithme?"

She sat down hurriedly, looking almost as embarrassed as Fluttershy had not five minutes before, as she waited in tense anticipation for Starlight's response - as did everypony else.

I knew it! Starlight congratulated herself, before immediately feeling a sense of almost overwhelming confusion. Oh no! I don't know if I'm ready for this. . . I don't even know how I feel about her! I do like her a lot, but like that? I don't know. . . As the silence dragged on, Trixie was beginning to look more and more horrified at her public confession, and appeared to be on the cusp of bolting for the door.

The tension was, fortunately, broken by Pinkie Pie (of course!), who whisper-shouted to Rarity in tones that everypony else could easily hear, "I think she's going to say yes!"

As muffled laughter swept round the room in response to this statement, Starlight sat up straight, having apparently made up her mind. She took a deep breath, and looked Trixie straight in the eye. Just pretend there's nopony else in the room! "I think," she said aloud, pausing almost as long as Trixie had, though in this instance the hesitation was to make really, completely certain she was sure she wanted what she was going to say, "I think that sounds like a great idea - I'd love to!"

Without even sighing in relief, which is what everyone else in the room did, Trixie stood up on her hindlegs and hoof-pumped the air, exclaiming, "Yes! Trixie knew you would say that!"

Starlight merely rolled her eyes affectionately at her quite adorably conceited friend, and blushed at the knowing smiles and glances of their other friends. Making her way round to sit next to the magician, she implored, "But please, Trixie - next time you're going to make a public declaration like that, warm me first!"

Shrugging her shoulders apologetically, Trixie levitated Starlight's chair over from where she had been sitting next to Applejack, and plumped it down to her right. Still blushing bashfully, the two unicorns tried to act as though nothing had happened; Starlight managed successfully to draw attention away from themselves by nodding her head towards Twilight, who was once more looking thoroughly perplexed. "You 'kay, Twilight?"

"B-but, but!" the Princess stammered, "But surely you're not fillyfoolers as well?"

"The Great and Powerful Trixie has always been a lover of the - of the gentle sex," the pale blue unicorn trilled, seemingly once more quite at her ease, and delighting in being the centre of everypony’s attention.

Starlight seemed less certain. "Well," she began, "Even I wasn't quite sure, until just now. I'd often wondered if I could be a fillyfooler, because. . . Well, y'know, stuff like I'd always feel more attracted to fillies than colts when I was younger, and more to mares than stallions now I'm older. But I never really - really realised. . ."

She trailed off, in both uncertainty at her own feelings, and in amusement at Twilight's still befuddled expression.

"Quick!" chortled Spike, "Someone else make a confession, we've found her one weakness!"

This brought another round of laughter, even from Twilight, who immediately looked more comfortable again. "Well," she intoned, "This is going to make an interesting friendship lesson - 'always expect the unexpected'!"

As everypony around her joined in the merriment, Starlight smiled contentedly to herself. She was warm, and safe, and with ponies she loved. Over the past few months her friends had shown her the true meaning of friendship, and had helped her to see just how much she could rely on them when feeling blue.

After her guilty, self-conscious admission of illness and the first, tentative plea for help she had made in the form of an anonymous note all those months ago, each and every one of her friends had been there for her. First had been Rarity, who had shown her that she didn't have to struggle alone, and had managed to convince her to ask the others for their guidance and care.

Then there had been Applejack, who had provided her with sage words of wisdom, passed down from her own late parents, which gave a source of comfort to Starlight in her more wistful moments. When she thought back to her own, fraught childhood, Starlight couldn't help but feel sad that it had come to so soon an end - but then she would recall Applejack's wisdom, 'It's better to by happy that something happened at all, than that it has come to an end', and retain her peace of mind.

After staying with Applejack, Starlight had spent a few days with Rarity who, rather than trying to show her support directly had, perhaps subconsciously, done something even better: She had trusted Starlight with her most private secret, and in so doing had proven beyond a doubt that she considered Starlight to be her friend, and someone to whom the unicorn could turn should she ever need somepony just to talk to.

Shortly thereafter had been her stay with Fluttershy, whose quiet, calm companionship and easy, willing trust had been like a tonic to the troubled Starlight. The pegasus managed to sum up all the qualities which Starlight herself sometimes lacked, but valued in a friend - modesty and humility, placidity and gentleness, sympathy and a willing ear. She, too, had trusted Starlight with her innermost desires, and the unicorn was delighted the timid pegasus should feel able to do so.

Then had been her short stay with Pinkie Pie and the Cake family at Sugarcube Corner - and what a stay it had been! Busy, hectic, frantic, overwhelming - these adjectives could all be used to accurately describe the weekend they had shared together. But Starlight had come away feeling, not exhausted as she had feared she would, but with a sense of elation and joy, brought on by spending time with her most enthusiastic and ever-glowing friend.

Her walk with Rainbow Dash had been equally enjoyable, though in a different way. The fact that a pony so self-centred and immodest as the 'Fastest Pony in Equestria' should go out of her way to spend a whole afternoon with her on the ground, and be ready to ask about her emotional wellbeing despite feeling embarrassed in so doing, meant a lot to Starlight, and she was grateful for Rainbow's awkward, honest friendship.

Finally, there had been the days and nights she had had with Twilight Sparkle and Spike, two of the first creatures who had willingly accepted her as their friend following her redemption and forgiveness. The easy, bantering humour she shared with Spike, and intellectually stimulating conversations she was able to have with Twilight - who was, after all, one of the very few ponies who could match her own magical prowess - made for some of her most treasured memories.

And throughout it all, during her whole journey from the deepest depths of darkness and despair, to her now almost total recovery from the cloying, relentless illness that is depression, had been letters of sympathy and care from her closest friend, Trixie Lulamoon. Though the magician had been unable to be present herself for the majority of the past six months, her empathetic letters had brought invaluable relief to Starlight during her darker days and nights.

And now. . . Starlight was reminded again of this latest step in her relationship with her friends, and of their own friendships with each other. She had played an instrumental part in showing Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy that their restrained, bashful feelings for one another were not only welcomed but returned, and now she had a new journey of her own to begin: It was time to start planning for the future, and working out Trixie's place therein.

Glancing to the mare to her left, Starlight realised that beneath the pretentious, show-offy front she presented to the world there was a frightened, lonely pony, who needed Starlight's companionship more than perhaps either of them fully understood. And she discovered, quite naturally and as if it had always been the inevitable outcome, that she was ready for that voyage to begin.

With her friends all talking, laughing, and joking in joyful, wondrous friendship, Starlight smiled to herself. Never in her life had she felt so comfortable, so. . . together, with other ponies, as she felt in that moment.

And she knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that they would each be with her, right to the very end.

Author's Note:

Thank you for reading about and enjoying Starlight's journey through to recovery from depression! I am going to write several spin-offs in the near future, the links to which I shall post here.

:twilightsmile:

Comments ( 6 )

9516345
Why thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed reading it.

:twilightsmile:

Well done! As one who has suffered with depression for years, I found this treatment of the topic to be done with good taste. It was particulaly nice to see that recovery was a process for Starlight and that she still experienced bad days.

My single constructive criticism is of Pinkie's chapter. Her interaction with Starlight felt less developed than that of the other characters.

9530707
Thanks for the constructive criticism, I'll bear that in mind for the future. I've always found Pinkie quite a difficult character to write for!

I'm glad you felt my representation of depression to be realistic. I've suffered from dysthymia for many years, with the occasional bout of major depression just for banter, so I'm very familiar with how it can ebb and flow.

:twilightsmile:

Lovely Story about Good ol Glim Glam. This is one of the few Stories that covers Starlight away from the frame of a a simple one shot. GREAT WORK. ^^

10595925
Thank you - I'm really glad you enjoyed it! I like the Gleam Machine a lot as a character so it was a pleasure to write a story for her.

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